How to Get Your Series 65 License

By: Kaplan Financial Education
July 31, 2020
Investment performance trendline of a Series 65 licensee's computer screen

The Series 65 license, known as the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, qualifies individuals to provide investing and general financial advice to clients. Passing the Series 65 exam qualifies individuals as Investment Advisor Representatives (IARs).

Obtaining the Series 65 license is important for representatives who provide advice on ERISA-regulated retirement accounts.  

How to Get the Series 65 License

Unlike many other FINRA Series exams, the Series 65 exam does not require an individual to be sponsored by a member firm. If you are not Form U4 registered or affiliated with a firm through FINRA’s Web CRD system, you should use the Form U10 to request and pay for the Series 65 exam. There is an exam fee that is commonly covered by the sponsoring firm if you are Form U4 registered, or by the individual if you are not sponsored.

The exam consists of 130 multiple-choice questions, and you have 3 hours to complete it. To pass the exam, you must get at least 94 out of 130 scored questions correct. In other words, you need just over 72% to pass.

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The exam covers four topic areas:

  • Economic factors and business information
  • Investment vehicle characteristics
  • Client investment recommendations and strategies
  • Laws, regulations, and guidelines on unethical business practices

In July 2016, NASAA added new content to the exam to better reflect the skills and knowledge needed to be an IAR today. Some new specifications emphasize the characteristics of different types of investments. Alternative investments were also updated to better reflect the changing marketplace. In addition, new areas were added to highlight the importance of advertising and correspondence with clients, including social media, cybersecurity, data protection, and anti-money laundering.

While the length of the exam and the passing score were not changed, the weighting of the topics and number of questions in each topic area were updated to better reflect the importance of certain knowledge and skills. Visit NASAA to view the most up-to-date content outline.


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