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FINRA Announces Update to the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam Roll-Out

FINRA Announces Updates to the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam Roll-Out

Posted By: Kaplan Financial Education
Updated: October 12, 2017


UPDATE 10/2/18: The SIE Exam is now live and the information in this article is no longer current. For the latest news and information check out our FAQ pages for candidates, businesses, and universities.

The roll-out of the Securities Industry Essentials Exam (SIE) just got a little clearer. Kaplan’s proactive approach includes providing you with the most up-to-date information you need to know, as well as a comprehensive plan for passing both the SIE and additional top-off exams as efficiently as possible.

Download A Candidate's Complete Guide to the New SIE Exam now to learn more about the new proposed licensing process and SIE exam content.

FINRA released a preliminary outline for the SIE in 2015, and they are currently working hard to ensure everything is in place for a smooth transition to the new format.

  • FINRA has not announced a specific timeframe for the implementation of the new exam structure and did not provide final details on the structure of each test (e.g., number of questions, time limits, passing scores, fee structure, etc).
  • FINRA indicated the exams restructure will be combined and submitted to the SEC with Proposed Rule 970. The rule filing with the SEC will be broken down in to three filings (Exam Restructure, Fee Schedule, and Content Outlines). Although FINRA did not provide a timeline for these filings, they did specify that the proposed implementation phase is 9 to 12 months after the filing.
  • Initially, FINRA planned to coordinate the SIE with the Series 6 and 7 top-off exams.  The implementation is now coordinated with all of the top-off exams listed below.
    • Series 6, 7, 22, 57,  79,  82, 86/87, and 99
  • An Exam Committee, with member firm representation, has been formed to assist in defining the final exam content topics and questions. The final outlines for all exams will be similar to current S6 and S7 outlines and will provide more details regarding the exam contents. FINRA has indicated the revision won’t involve major changes. Because Kaplan has already developed its first draft based on the preliminary outline, we are well positioned for the next iteration.
  • Although FINRA didn’t provide any specific time tables, they did indicate they would likely not implement during the summer months. Therefore, a reasonable implementation time frame could be in the fall of 2017.
  • FINRA indicated they would be reaching out to member firms and Securities Licensing Preparation providers to obtain information regarding the most favorable timeframes for launching the new exams.
  • Through the Central Registration Depository (CRD), firms will be able to confirm whether and when an individual passed the SIE.
  • The names of each registration will stay the same. In other words, when passing the Series 6, the registration remains an Investment Company Products/Variable Contracts Limited Representative. When passing the Series 7, the registration remains General Securities Representative.
  • The age limit for testing is currently anticipated to be 18.
  • FINRA is finalizing the exam lengths and is aware of member concerns over the length of the Series 6 exam process. With that said:
    • The SIE is expected to have 75–100 questions.
    • The new Series 7 exam may have 125–150 questions.
    • The new Series 6 exam may have 50–75 questions.
  • FINRA will define a registration date in the future. If an individual has registered to take any of the eight impacted exams by that date, they will take the series exam as it exists today. They can take the current exam as long as their testing window is open. If they register to take the exam after the specified date, the SIE and top-off exams will be required.
  • Current registrants will maintain registration(s) without the need for additional testing.
  • Most current registrants will be considered to have passed the SIE. That passing status will be valid for four years upon leaving the industry.
    • If the registrant returns within two years, the registration is held without the need to take the SIE or top-off exams.
    • If the registrant returns between two and four years later, there is no need to take the SIE, only the top-off exam for the registration(s) sought.
    • If the registrant returns more than four years later, both the SIE and the top-off exams will be needed for any registration position sought.
  • Of special note: FINRA is retiring the following series exams:
    • Series 17/37/38. FINRA will retire these exams and use the UK and Canadian certifications to exempt certificate holders from the SIE.
    • FINRA will retire the Series 11 (Order Processing Assistant), Series 42 (Options Representative), Series 62 (Corporate Securities Representative), and Series 72 (Government Securities Representative) exams.
    • Persons holding registrations that are being retired will be able to continue to hold them until they leave the industry for two or more years.


A Candidate's Complete Guide to the New SIE Exam Free eBook - Kaplan Financial EducationA Candidate's Complete Guide to the New SIE Exam

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

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