All brokerage firms and their branch offices located within the United States, as well as individuals that are registered to sell securities, are overseen by FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The main goal of FINRA is to ensure that fair practices are provided to public investors in the capital markets of the U.S. Although various licenses exist which cover a variety of security sales criteria, a Series 6 license allows holders to sell a limited number of financial products such as face amount certificates, UITs (unit investment trusts), mutual funds and new closed-end fund issues.
Series 6 Exam Steps
Step #1 - Sponsorship
The first step in acquiring a Series 6 license is for the candidate to find a broker-dealer that will agree to provide sponsorship. Some sponsors will pay the $100 fee for the Series 6 test as well as provide a negotiated salary and training during the Series 6 study portion of the process. Other broker-dealer sponsors may not provide any or very little assistance, which leaves the responsibility for Series 6 testing preparation up to the candidate. Also, obtaining sponsorship is considered a term for employment which means that once a license for Series 6 is obtained it must be used for the sponsoring broker-dealer.
Step #2 - Acquire Series 6 Testing Materials
Series 6 testing materials should be ordered as soon as possible. The Series 6 test is both lengthy at 100 questions and difficult covering the four ”main job functions”. Candidates will want to have a good basic knowledge of such topics as mutual funds, insurance products, securities and tax regulations, retirement plans, and variable annuities. Series 6 study guides and other training tools such as flash cards can be obtained from the internet, certain governmental offices, or through those who have already taken and passed the Series 6 exam.
Step #3 - Use Plenty of Study Time
As mentioned, the Series 6 test can be extremely difficult to pass, requiring 70 correct answers out of 100. (There are also 5 experimental questions worked into the test which do not count towards or against passing but which are not identified to the test taker. These five extra questions are used to create future exams.) Ideally, candidates will want to take a month or more to study and review materials for the exam.
Step #4 - Schedule a Test Date
Once the candidate feels adequately prepared to take the Series 6 exam, they should call their nearest testing facility to schedule an exam date. This information can be obtained from study materials or through the candidate’s sponsor.
Step #5 - Take Exam and Review Missed Questions
The next step is to take the Series 6 test. If the candidate fails, a thorough review of the study material should be made before retaking the exam.
Step #6 - Register
Upon passing the exam, the candidate should receive a U-4 form from their sponsor to fill out and submit to FINRA for license registration. Candidates cannot sell securities products until they are registered.
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