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Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam Update from the 2018 ARM Educational Conference

SIE Updates from the ARM Conference

Posted by: Doug Vincens, Securities Product Director
Published: March 27, 2018

The annual Association of Registration Management (ARM) Educational Conference is a highly anticipated opportunity to connect with both industry and regulatory partners to collaborate on the prominent issues involving licensing, registration, compliance, and education.

In addition to attending the informational sessions, Kaplan was also invited to participate in a panel titled “From the Vendor’s Point of View,” where education providers discussed both the challenges and opportunities associated with the implementation of the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam and the overall exam restructuring.

The most noteworthy updates and discussion points were as follows:

1. Although not yet finalized, FINRA expects that exam fees will not change. For example, Series 7 is currently $305. As of October 1, with a proposed SIE exam fee of $60, the Series 7 top off exam fee would be the balance of the current fee amount or $245.

2. From a content coverage perspective, the SIE should be considered "Series 7 light," as the scope includes all general securities products, but tested at a more basic or conceptual level.

3. As such, the SIE could be viewed as more challenging than the current Series 6 exam.

4. Regarding content redundancy between the SIE and top off exams, FINRA stated to expect the top off exams to ask more application-based questions on similar topics, in effect, building upon the knowledge gained from the SIE.

5. Passing scores for the new exams will likely be communicated in Q3 2018.

6. FINRA will be phasing out the LEP (Limited English Proficiency) request functionality within the Central Registration Depository (CRD) for additional exam time in Q2 2018 due to lack of demand.

7. Firms will have the ability to open an exam window up to September 30, 2018, and therefore can test with the single legacy exam within 120 days. However, if the individual fails, they will then have to take both the SIE and top off exams. The candidate can sit immediately without a waiting period as the SIE is considered a different exam.

8. Please note: FINRA stated that if an individual fails a single legacy exam during the month of September 2018, they will need to wait to take the SIE and top off exams once available.

9. Scoring: Individuals passing the exam will receive a pass result only; failing results will also include exam scores. FINRA will be eliminating actual test scores from the CRD system as of October 1, 2018. Once an individual passes an exam, any prior history of failing results will no longer be displayed. 

10. Firms will be able to enroll candidates and pay for the SIE exam via the current U4 registration process or a TBD interface within CRD on an individual basis; bulk enroll a cohort via file upload; or provide the candidate a voucher code. FINRA will be "offering" voucher codes for $60 each (proposed) that firms can purchase via their flex funding accounts. These codes can then be distributed to candidates to aid recruiting efforts and provide firms access to SIE exam results. FINRA stated that these voucher codes will be non-refundable and will expire in 6 months if not redeemed.

11. Firms will be able to access SIE results for individuals who enroll and pay the SIE exam fee using the current FINRA pre-registration search or U4 registration process.

For additional FINRA updates, please refer to FINRA’s 2018 ARM Conference presentation.

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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