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FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam Update from ARM Conference

FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam Update from ARM Conference

Posted By: Kaplan Financial Education
Updated: October 2, 2018

UPDATE 10/2/18: The SIE Exam is now live and the information in this article is no longer current.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.

Kaplan Financial Education team members attended the Association of Registration Management’s (ARM) 2016 conference in Florida to learn more about upcoming changes to the exam process for Securities industry professionals.


As a recap, in March of 2015, FINRA announced they would be restructuring the current Series licensing structure to include a Securities Industry Essentials Exam (SIE). You can learn more about the SIE here. Since that initial announcement in 2015, Kaplan has proceeded to ensure that both students and corporate customers are ready for this important change. During the 2016 ARM conference, Kaplan introduced its first draft of an SIE License Exam Manual (LEM), a Class Notes book, and presentation slides for use during live and online classes.

Using the initial SIE content outline provided by FINRA, and by reviewing common content across each of the applicable Series’ LEMs, Kaplan’s Subject Matter Experts were able to determine which content is most applicable to the SIE. This is an important step in ensuring that examinees will be ready for this new licensing exam upon release. Initial drafts of Kaplan’s top-off products for the Series 6 and 7 are also nearing completion. All of this will be finalized upon the release of additional FINRA outlines and will be released in advance of FINRA implementation to coincide with shifts in recruiting and training.

Kaplan also participated in a SIE panel discussion during the ARM conference that focused on the effects it will have on the industry, from both a firm hiring and training vendor perspective. James Ray Prine, Director of Securities Education for Kaplan Financial Education, reviewed how firms will need to reconsider recruiting and training methods with the implementation of the SIE.

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.

Kaplan also introduced its SIE Exam voucher program at the conference. Kaplan will provide companies with single-use custom vouchers promoting the company as an ideal employer and highlighting the Kaplan corporate discount. The companies will then provide the vouchers to prospective candidates to study for the exam using Kaplan’s exam program.

Kaplan has designed training programs for various types of eligible candidates, including interns, potential new hires, administrative and non-registered staff, and anyone else who would benefit from a solid foundation of industry knowledge by studying for and passing the SIE.

Firms also have an opportunity to develop new models for onboarding staff. In anticipation of this, Kaplan has already started on several training programs designed for each type of hiring model:

  1. SIE pre-hire requirement: Pre-hires could be required to pass the SIE before applying for a position with the firm. They would then study for and pass the appropriate top-off exam after being hired.
  2. Sequential new hire model: New staff members would prepare for and pass the SIE upon being hired by the firm. They would then study for and pass a top-off exam.
  3. Accelerated new hire model: New staff members would prepare for both the SIE and top-off exams concurrently. They would then complete both exams on the same day at the testing center.

As firms consider new hiring and onboarding programs in regard to SIE, an important recruiting channel will be university students who are nearing graduation and considering careers in the financial services industry. Since the SIE will not have the sponsorship constraint that the top-off exams require, it opens the door for students to pass the SIE as a resume builder as they begin to seek jobs for after graduation.

Kaplan is partnering with colleges and universities to create courses that ultimately prepare students to pass the SIE. This is a natural fit for Kaplan, as we already have relationships with thousands of schools by offering ACT, SAT, GMAT®, LSAT, MCAT®, and more than a dozen other prep courses for academic testing. And when you consider Kaplan’s other professional education offerings (CFA®, CFP®, etc.), we can offer a full suite of financial development programs directly to students, or in partnerships with higher education institutions as a career services or adult learning model.

As you have come to expect, Kaplan continues to be the industry leader in the financial education field, and our SIE recruiting and training strategies will have you positioned perfectly to adapt to this change.


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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