On October 1, 2018, FINRA will begin administering the new Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. The exam will cover only the fundamentals of the securities industry, including the structure of the industry, how the industry functions, and the agencies that regulate the industry. This general knowledge material will no longer be tested in the exams listed above and will now be tested only once in the SIE exam. To be fully licensed, a candidate will complete the SIE exam and one of the specialized exams listed above. Yes, that’s two exams now, instead of one!
Students who want to take the SIE exam will open an “exam window” at the time they register. After opening the window, they will have 120 days to take the exam at a Prometric Center. The exam will consist of 75 questions, and students will be given 105 minutes to complete the exam. A student will receive a pass/fail grade and may receive additional information about areas of their strengths and weaknesses. If a student fails, he or she will have to wait 30 days to take the exam again.
A critical change initiated with the SIE exam is that students do not need to be sponsored to register for this exam. The purpose of the change is to make it easier for individuals to enter the securities industry; however, they will still need to be sponsored for specialized exams, also referred to as “top off” exams. Those taking the SIE exam must be 18 years of age, and the results are valid for four years.
With this rearrangement of material and changing of exams, FINRA will be retiring several exams. The following exams will be retired: Series 11, Series 62, Series 42, and Series 72.
University programs offering investment courses may want to help students prepare for the SIE exam because passing the exam will make students more desirable candidates for positions in the securities industry. We encourage schools to begin incorporating this exam preparation into courses starting in the fall of 2018. We will have student materials in the summer.