How to Get Your Series 6 License

By: Kaplan Financial Education
July 31, 2020
Series 6 license holder looking at investment performance

The Series 6 license, known as the Investment Company/Variable Contracts Products Limited Representative License, allows you to register as a limited representative with FINRA. With a Series 6 license, you are able to sell mutual funds, variable annuities, variable life insurance, unit investment trusts (UITs), and municipal fund securities.

The Series 6 is often seen as the ideal companion license for those in the insurance industry. Holders are able to expand the financial products and services they offer, as well as increase their level of expertise.

You can get your Series 6 license by following these steps.

Step 1: Take and Pass the SIE Exam

The SIE exam tests common topics such as fundamentals, regulatory agencies and their functions, product knowledge, and acceptable and unacceptable practices. You can take the SIE exam before being sponsored by a firm and even while you are still in school. You have a four-year window in which to take and pass any of the representative level top-off exams, like Series 6, after passing the SIE exam. Note that FINRA calls the SIE and Series 6 exams "corequisites," but they do not mean you have to take both at the same time. Instead, they mean you have to take both to earn your license, and you can take them in any order.  

Download "A Candidate's Guide to the SIE Exam" to take your first step toward SIE Exam success.

Step 2: Secure a Sponsorship

To take the Series 6 exam, you must be sponsored by a FINRA member firm or a self-regulatory organization (SRO). Firms apply for candidates to take the exam by filing a Uniform Application for Security Industry Registration or Transfer (Form U4). There is also an exam fee that is commonly covered by the sponsoring firm.

Step 3: Take and Pass the Series 6 Exam

Once you secure your sponsorship, you can then take the top-off exam for the Series 6 license. Most candidates will choose to take the SIE before the Series 6, but it is also possible to take it after. The exam has 50 questions broken down into four functions:

  • Function 1: Seeks Business for the Broker-Dealer from Customers and Potential Customers, 12 questions, 24% of exam items
  • Function 2: Opens Accounts after Obtaining and Evaluating Customers’ Financial Profile and Investment Objectives, 8 questions, 16% of exam items
  • Function 3: Provides Customers with Information About Investments, Makes Suitable Recommendations, Transfers Assets and Maintains Appropriate Records, 25 questions, 50% of exam items
  • Function 4: Obtains and Verifies Customers’ Purchase and Sales Instructions; Processes, Completes and Confirms Transactions, 5 questions, 10% of exam items

The test time is 1 hour and 30 minutes and the passing score is 70 percent and above.

Step 4: Register Your License

After you pass your licensing exam, you’ll have to register your Series 6 license with FINRA and an approved broker-dealer, who will hold your license and oversee your business for a portion of the commission income.


Series 6 licensing exam prep can really give you the edge you need to pass. Learn more about our live and online study options to purchase a Series 6 exam prep package in the Securities product section of our website.


Free Download:A Candidate's Complete Guide to the SIE Exam

After identifying nine series exams with common content (6, 7, 22, 57, 79, 82, 86/87, 99), FINRA decided to restructure their licensing process. The common content is now tested in the new Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. Download this free guide to learn more about how the new securities licensing process works, the rationale for the change, SIE tested exam content, and how it could change hiring and recruiting practices.