Stockbroker Educational Requirements July 30th, 2014
Posted on July 30th, 2014 as General information
A securities agent, better known as a stockbroker, is someone that assists individuals, companies and governmental agencies with decisions related to making investments and investment management. A stockbroker holding a NASD Series 7 license can give advice and make transactions on all financial products with the exception of life insurance, commodity futures and real estate.
The career of a securities agent can be both exciting and lucrative. Ever-changing financial markets have to be closely watched and advice given based on what they will do and how they will best improve the portfolios of various clients. If you find becoming a stockbroker of interest, you may want to know what the educational needs are to meet Series 7 requirements.
Many brokerage firms require their candidates to possess a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, accounting, or business at the very least. This type of background coupled with NASD Series 7 knowledge required to take the Series 7 exam should not only make the candidate more efficient at securities product sales, but it should also help them to pass the Series 7 which can be extremely grueling.
If you are seeking an advanced position in securities management or analyzation with a broker-dealer, you may be required to have a master’s degree. Having an MBA (Master in Business Administration) plus Series 7 licensing will usually qualify you for a higher starting salary and faster advancement as well as an initial hiring bonus.
No Higher Education
If you do not have any higher education, your dreams of becoming a securities agent are not dashed, although it might make the process much more difficult. The main obstacle to not having a university degree is that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires that stockbroker candidates first be sponsored before registering for and taking the Series 7 tests. It can be difficult acquiring a sponsor without any experience or credentials.
Also, the exam for the Series 7 NASD can be extremely difficult without any background knowledge of financial products and related subjects. The Series 7 exam takes six hours to complete its 250 countable questions and additional 10 non-countable ‘experimental’ questions. The national average score on Series 7 tests is 67 percent, yet a passing score is 72 percent.
Training and Study
A Series 7 Securities License can still be obtained without a having a university degree, it simply takes more commitment, drive and adequate Series 7 exam preparation. If you find a broker-dealer to sponsor you, they may also provide an in-house Series 7 prep course and Series 7 study guides to assist you.
If you do not receive Series 7 exam prep help from your sponsor then you will need to apply additional effort in order to pass. You should sign up for a Series 7 online course or offline class and obtain a new or used copy of a Series 7 study guide.
With a good deal of effort and focus, you can fulfill your desire of becoming a stockbroker without having to spend the money or time for a university degree.
Steps for Series 7 Securities License Registration July 27th, 2014
Posted on July 27th, 2014 as General information
In order to provide more consistency and higher quality in the performance of those working in the financial securities industry, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority requires that those involved in the selling of all types of corporate securities, except for futures and commodities, first receive an NASD Series 7 license.
To qualify for the Series 7 exam, candidates are required to first obtain sponsorship via a broker-dealer. Once a sponsor has been obtained, the testing and registration process begins. Following are the required steps that candidates will need to initiate in order to obtain testing and registration for Series 7 licensing.
Step 1 – Fill Out and Submit U4 Form
Request a U4 Current Uniform Registration Form from your sponsor and complete it. The U4 consists of filling out information on employment, education and residency covering a 10 year period. Documents and explanations of any criminal convictions and financial issues are also requested. Once completed and submitted, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) will enter the U4 Form data into their system of registration and provide you with a user name and password. This information must be provided in full or the application for the Series 7 NASD license will be rejected.
Step 2 – Fingerprinting and Background Check
Some states also require that the applicant’s fingerprints are submitted to FINRA and a background check performed before Series 7 tests can be scheduled and taken. The fingerprinting process usually applies of fee of between $10 and $30.
Step 3 – Series 7 Exam Registration
Once all required information has been submitted to FINRA, register for the Series 7 exam and receive a testing date. The cost of the exam is $295, consists of 250 questions plus 10 non-applicable ‘pre-test’ questions, and must be completed within six hours.
Step 4 – Study
Series 7 tests can be quite difficult and, therefore, it is advisable to engage in Series 7 exam prep techniques. You can sign up for a Series 7 prep course, Series 7 online course, or purchase a Series 7 study guide as well as utilize other means of exam preparation. A passing grade of 72 percent or more is required to acquire a license and the national average for the exam is 67 percent. If you fail the exam, there is a 30-day waiting period before the next test can be taken as well as an additional $200 registration fee per attempt.
Step 5 – Series 63 Registration
Those acquiring licenses for the NASD Series 7 are also required to register for the 63 exam, which is also known as the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination. This exam contains 60 questions (plus 5 ‘pre-test’ questions) and also requires a passing mark of 72 percent or higher.
Step 6 – Complete FINRA Registration
Once all the above steps have been completed and you have passed the exam for the NASD series 7 license, access your FINRA account and complete the registration process. This process includes selecting the state or states in which you desire to practice securities sales. Each state selected may require its own application fee ranging from $25 to $285.
Series 7 Requirements for Becoming a Stockbroker July 25th, 2014
Posted on July 25th, 2014 as General information
Those wanting to process individual, corporate or government securities transactions covering stock options, corporate and municipal bonds, mutual funds, annuities and more will need to obtain a Series 7 Securities License by taking and passing a Series 7 exam. Both the exam and registration for a NASD Series 7 license are administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA.
The following information outlines the Series 7 requirements for taking the Series 7 tests as well as obtaining General Securities Representative Series 7 NASD licenses.
FINRA Member Sponsorship
Before a candidate can register for or take the Series 7 exam, they must first obtain sponsorship from a financial firm or company that is an active member of FINRA. This presents candidates with a Catch-22 situation due to the fact that most companies will not hire those without broker experience, yet that experience cannot be gained until candidates take the Series 7 tests and acquire Series 7 licensing. Therefore, it can take quite a bit of persistence before candidates find willing sponsors.
One method for hastening this process is to first obtain a license via passing a Series 6 test which is less demanding. This can provide the opportunity of getting your ‘foot in the door’ where you can prove yourself. Once you show your commitment and skill at selling annuities and mutual funds, you can request support with Series 7 prep and taking of the exam.
Series 7 Preparation and Study
When a candidate acquires a sponsor, the next step is to begin studying for the exam which can be quite difficult. In order to successfully complete and pass the exam, a good deal of Series 7 prep is required. The test largely contains questioning on investment risk, retirement plans and options, taxation, prepackaged securities and equity and debt instruments. It can help significantly to sign up for a Series 7 prep course, as well as obtain a Series 7 study guide.
Exam Registration and Completion
When you have a few weeks of study under your belt, obtain a U-4 Form from your employer, fill it out and submit it to FINRA. The U-4 requires information on residence and employment for the past 10 years as well as detailed information on any criminal activity and financial troubles. The U-4 is submitted electronically to FINRA along with a copy of the candidate’s fingerprints in order to conduct a background check. FINRA will then provide the candidate’s employer with a testing date and user name and password so the candidate can access their account. If the applicant passes their Series 7 exam, they will access their FINRA account and complete the registration process.
Taking the Exam
The NASD Series 7 exam contains a total of 260 questions, 10 of which are considered ‘experimental’ and do not count towards a passing grade. At least 72 percent of the questions are required to be answered correctly to pass the Series 7. The average candidate score is 67 percent, therefore the importance of Series 7 exam preparation. Candidates receive six hours in which to complete the test.
How Much a Stockbroker Can Expect to Make July 24th, 2014
Posted on July 24th, 2014 as General information
Many people are considering entering the financial industry as stockbrokers due to the ever-present atmosphere of excitement and the draw of making a nice income. However, those seeking to enter the financial securities industry want to know how much money they can expect to make before they commit to taking the required Series 7 exam and obtaining a subsequent NASD Series 7 license.
Bureau of Labor Statistics Data
First of all, hard data can be found under the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS. The BLS is the organization that is authorized to gather information and issue reports on all wage and salary data accrued by all professionals within the United States.
According the BLS, the average median annual wage of those classified as stockbrokers who had taken and passed Series 7 tests was $70,190 in 2010. By analyzing 2010 stockbroker wage data, you will find that $31,330 was the figure of the lower 10 percent of stockbrokers while $166,400 or more was earned in the same year by upper 10 percent.
Variables of Stockbroker Earnings
What you might actually earn as a stockbroker with Series 7 licensing is dependent on several variables. Factors such as experience, qualifications, performance and geography will all influence how much money you actually make in the financial securities industry.
Your overall experience in the financial markets is one aspect that will influence your income as a stockbroker. Series 7 courses will provide a great deal of information that is necessary to pass the Series 7. Therefore, it is extremely important to obtain Series 7 study guides and take classes in order to make up for a lack of experience through acquired securities knowledge.
Although holding a Series 7 Securities License is sufficient enough to obtain a position with a broker-dealer, you will want to acquire other qualifications to achieve better pay. Besides gaining Series 7 licensing and the required Series 66 license, you can also pursue greater industry knowledge by taking other exams offered through NASAA and FINRA. The more qualifications you obtain, the greater are your chances for receiving higher pay. Many of those receiving only Series 7 training are required to start at lower positions until they gain more experience.
Even if you only apply Series 7 prep techniques to acquire a license, if your performance upon arrival at your broker-dealer sponsor is extraordinary, you could receive greater pay more rapidly. Although salaries are sometimes paid to stockbrokers starting out with only a Series 7 Securities License, much of the income garnered comes from commissions based on quantities sold.
Another factor that can significantly influence the amount a stockbroker makes with their NASD Series 7 license is where they are located. Those operating in Kentucky, for example, made only $59,060 on average in 2010 while stockbrokers utilizing their Series 7 NASD in New York captured an average of $135,700 annually.
As you can see, if you utilize good Series 7 preparation techniques and acquire as much knowledge as possible, take other securities courses, apply your abilities and seek out profitable areas, you can make a good income as a stockbroker without much education.
How Bad Credit Can Affect an NASD Series 7 License July 21st, 2014
Posted on July 21st, 2014 as General information
Bad credit has a broad reach in today’s society due to easy credit, low job availability and various other factors. Anyone wishing to obtain a Series 7 Securities License and become a broker could be affected if they have bad credit.
In order to take the Series 7 exam and obtain a General Securities License, FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) requires that a candidate first obtain a member sponsor and then fill out a U-4 Uniform Application for Broker-Dealer Registration form. Both of these steps could present obstacles to potential stockbrokers. The first hurdle is finding a financial firm that will sponsor someone with a bad credit history, and the second hurdle lies in the financial information submitted to and subsequent credit check by FINRA.
Why Bad Credit Hurts
There are several reasons that bad credit can hurt your chances of taking Series 7 tests and receiving your NASD Series 7 license. Because you are applying to work in the financial industry, a poor credit history is seen as a hindrance.
From the perspective of a brokerage firm, bad credit is seen as a result of poor judgment and even a flawed character. Since you will be providing advice and information on financial products on behalf of the employer, the thought is that the same poor decisions or unethical actions might be applied to valued customers. If you have experienced a bankruptcy, employers often see that as a poor reflection on them because bankruptcies are on public record and can be viewed by clients or potential clients. Financial companies may, therefore, refuse to sponsor a candidate for their NASD Series 7.
From FINRA’s perspective, a bankruptcy or poor credit history might also raise red flags about the ethical behavior of clients at a time when the public is demanding more accountability from their stockbrokers and financial advisors. It is often assumed that if a person cannot handle their own finances, then they will mismanage client money as well.
FINRA is the authorizing organization that oversees all Series 7 licensing procedures, including registering for and taking the NASD Series 7 exam to issuing the Series 7 Securities License once candidates pass the Series 7. According to Section 4 under Article III of the FINRA By-Law, bankruptcy doesn’t necessarily disqualify someone from obtaining their Series 7 NASD. However, their goal is to protect investors by providing qualified, honest and fair brokers, so decisions against issuing Series 7 exam approvals do occur.
States also have their own bankruptcy laws which can vary widely. Certain states have harsher restrictions while others are more lenient when dealing with poor credit. For example, Illinois may deny the renewal of NASD Series 7 license renewals if a financial professional has incurred a bankruptcy.
The Bottom Line
When it comes down to it, the ultimate decision is up to the authorities of whether or not to grant NASD Series 7 approval. The best approach is to first clean up your credit record before seeking Series 7 exam sponsorship and registering with FINRA for a Series 7 Securities License.
Four Ways to Profit from NASD Series 7 License July 19th, 2014
Posted on July 19th, 2014 as General information
Quite of bit of effort, time and expense are invested in receiving a Series 7 Securities License. The effort must be made to find a sponsor before the process can begin, a great deal of time needs to be spent on Series 7 training due to the difficulty of the exam, and the expense of purchasing materials for Series 7 preparation as well as the $295 fee for taking the exam all have to be produced before experiencing any return on investment.
Due to the lengthy and costly process of Series 7 licensing, those that pass the exam and receive their license will be eager to put it to use to start their financial securities career and make money. Your newly acquired Series 7 Securities License (together with an acquired Series 66) presents opportunities and affords you the authority to buy and sell various securities on the behalf of public and private investors.
Once you have passed and obtained your NASD Series 7 and 66, you can work as a fund manager at a company that specializes in mutual funds. As a mutual fund manager, you would have the responsibility of overseeing various funds and using your specialized knowledge to offer advice to clients on the buying and selling of funds according to their individual investment strategies and objectives. Those with little experience in the financial industry after passing Series 7 tests may be required to start as a stock analyst or researcher and work their way up through the ranks to a fund manager position.
Another way to make money after completing preparation for the Series 7 exam and registration is to apply to a financial services company as a financial advisor. Unlike mutual funds that pool together investment monies of assorted clients, a financial advisor works with individual clients directly to provide investment advice in a business or consumer capacity. As a financial advisor utilizing the knowledge gained through Series 7 study, you have the ability to be paid in two ways. You can either receive a flat fee based on the total of assets managed or receive a commission from the sales of various financial products.
Another lucrative way to make money using your NASD Series 7 license is to open your own company that specializes in mutual fund sales and management, or create your own firm that focuses on providing financial advice. Either avenue can rapidly elevate your financial securities career after passing a Series 7 exam. However, because a great deal of knowledge and experience are required for such an endeavor, you may want to first gain Series 7 practice at an established firm before embarking on your own. After gaining a comfortable amount of knowledge and experience, you can then branch out on your own.
Finally, you can utilize the wealth of knowledge gained via Series 7 exam prep by applying it to your own investment account. The knowledge you receive through taking a Series 7 prep course or other mode of study can provide lucrative securities trading options. As an independent trader, you can work full time while making money in your spare time.
Associated Costs of a Series 7 Securities License July 16th, 2014
Posted on July 16th, 2014 as General information
A NASD Series 7 license is required before anyone can become a full-fledged stock broker that can trade in most corporate securities. A Series 7 securities license includes a background from the Series 22, 42, 52, 6 and 62 exams. A 63 or 66 exam license is also required by some states so candidates should find out the requirements of their particular state beforehand. Many account managers and analysts employed by broker-dealers also take the Series 7 courses and exam in order to broaden their knowledge of securities products as well as their ability to sell and provide advice on those products.
The Series 7 exam is the most comprehensive of all the exams in the series and includes authorization for dealing in all financial securities transactions and activities except for dealings in real estate, commodities futures and life insurance. Series 7 NASD is administered and overseen by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Those seeking to take Series 7 tests may want to know the overall costs for doing so which are provided here.
Series 7 Study Expenses
Due to the extensive nature of the NASD Series 7, it is highly recommended to spend sufficient time and effort studying for the exam. Signing up for Series 7 courses can cost between $900 and $3,000 or more. Some broker-dealers cover some or all of the expenses of acquiring Series 7 licensing while many others do not.
There are various ways to trim costs and still study for the Series 7 effectively for those who must foot the expense on their own. A Series 7 study guide, flash cards, software, or complete text of the course usually ranges from between $50 and $300. Exam candidates can also obtain used materials from others who have taken the test or find resources at their local library for much cheaper. A little research can help save quite a bit of expense while still effectively completing Series 7 preparation.
Series 7 Exam Expenses
The actual exam requires a fee of $290 to be paid upon scheduling. Some locations may also require additional fees of $30 or more to conduct required fingerprinting and background checks. Series 7 requirements for passing the test are 72 percent correct answers out of 250 questions. The average national score is only 67 percent, which reflects the need for in-depth Series 7 exam preparation. Those candidates that do not pass the exam must pay a registration fee of $200 each time they desire to retake it.
Other Possible Fees
A Series 7 Securities License will be provided upon passing the exam. At this time, some states will also require additional fees of $50 to $450 to cover license registration and then fees within the same range for license renewal. If licenses are allowed to expire, candidates will need to pay the complete fees again for re-testing and re-registration.
Since taking an NASD Series 7 exam and gaining the subsequent license requires a broker-dealer sponsorship, some companies charge anywhere from $300 to more than $2,000 for the privilege.
Series 63: The Uniform Securities Agent Law Examination July 15th, 2014
Posted on July 15th, 2014 as General information
Anyone seeking a career or part-time work as a securities agent will need to register for a license in their particular state. However, a condition of the registration process in most states involves first qualifying as a candidate by passing the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination which is more often called the Series 63 exam. Several states and U.S. territories do not require completion of the Series 63 test in order to become a licensed securities professional. Those states and territories are Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio and Vermont as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Series 63 is a securities license exam that has been developed to help protect public investors by the NASAA, or North American Securities Administrators Association. The NASAA was originally founded in 1916 in the state of Kansas, where the organization began standardizing the efforts of securities laws in other states. The NASAA predates the Securities Act of 1933 as well as the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. The purpose of the organization is to both prevent securities fraud and to provide a source of registration for those agents operating within the securities industry.
The Series 63 exam is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and allows a completion time of one hour and fifteen minutes, consists of a total of 65 questions (5 pre-test and 60 main questions) which are all multiple choice, and requires a passing score of 72 percent. The test is administered Mondays through Saturdays, costs $115 and has no registration prerequisites other than the completion of Form U-10 for individual Series 63 test recipients that are not associated with or employed by a member firm of the FINRA. Upon registration, the candidate has a window of 120 days in which to schedule and take the Series 63 test.
The purpose of Series 63 is to gauge the knowledge and understanding that each applicant has of their applied state’s laws governing security sales and to provide administrators of state securities with an accurate view of the applicant’s knowledge and subsequent Series 63 license approval for passing. Those passing the Series 63 exam have been found to meet the minimum level of competency for their particular state’s securities laws and regulations while those failing the Series 63 test do not meet those basic requirements.
Candidates planning on taking the exam should first apply the Series 63 study efforts on such important subjects as the Statements of Policy and Model Rules, which are referred to by the NASAA as well as the Uniform Securities Act. A Series 63 study guide is available to assist candidates with test preparation and is a useful checklist for making a final overall review.
Those wishing to apply for a securities license in states requiring Series 63 should register with FINRA and begin their Series 63 test prep procedures.
Answers to questions regarding the Series 63 exam can be obtained by contacting the NASAA via the following:
North American Securities Administration Association, Inc.
750 First Street N.E., Suite 1140
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 737-0900
Who Requires a Series 6 License? July 13th, 2014
Posted on July 13th, 2014 as General information
Anyone planning on entering the financial securities industry as a sales agent will need to go through Series 6 testing in order to acquire a license. Series 6 is the shortened term for the Investment Company/Variable Contracts Products Limited Representative exam, which is administered by the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).
Who Needs a Series 6?
A Series 6 license allows its holder to conduct business in variable insurance policies, variable annuities and open end mutual funds. Most states also require a brokerage agent to obtain an insurance license in addition to a Series 6 if they want to conduct variable contract transactions on behalf of businesses.
Scheduling a Series 6 Exam
Those wishing to become financial securities brokers with the ability to sell mutual funds, initial offerings of closed-end funds, unit investment trusts and variable annuities must first obtain a sponsor that is either a member of a self-regulatory organization (SRO) or of FINRA. Once a sponsor is found, the candidate will need to schedule an appointment to take the Series 6 test which is administered any weekday at an approved exam center. The registration fee for taking the Series 6 exam is currently $95.
The Series 6 exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions, plus an additional 5 pre-test questions that do not count towards a passing grade, and candidates are allowed a time limit of 2 hours and 15 minutes in which to complete it. A candidate must correctly answer 70 percent of the questions in order to pass the exam and receive their Series 6 license.
Studying for the Series 6 Test
Candidates undergoing Series 6 testing are required to know an in-depth amount of information. The exam covers 8 questions on Securities Markets, Investment Securities and Economic Factors, 23 questions on Securities and Tax Preparation, 18 questions on Marketing, Prospecting and Sales Presentation, 13 questions on the Evaluation of Customers, 26 questions on Product Information; Investment Company Securities and Variable Contracts, and 12 questions on Opening and Servicing Customer Accounts.
It is recommended that candidates begin their Series 6 study regimen as soon as possible. The Series 6 study process can be quite grueling and most brokerage firms of a retail nature provide in-house training as well as a salary while preparing for the exam. Candidates sponsored by independent firms are generally only provided with sources for obtaining discounted Series 6 study materials. In such cases, it is prudent to participate in classes and take review courses in order to achieve an optimal level of preparation for the exam.
Candidates are immediately notified if they have passed the Series 6 exam or not. If so, their broker sponsor will provide them with the U-4 form for registration. This paperwork gleans 10 years of candidate employment history and residential status as well as authorizing a background check for criminal charges. If it is found that the candidate has serious credit problems, or a criminal history (other than minor traffic charges), they will be disqualified from receiving a license.
Understanding the Limitations of a Series 6 License July 10th, 2014
Posted on July 10th, 2014 as General information
Anyone that has the intention of selling any type of financial securities to the public is required under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to be both licensed and registered. This includes broker-dealer firms as well as independently motivated individuals. The purpose of such legislation is to better ensure that public investors who deal with such agents obtain at least minimal competency throughout the receiving of advice and conducting of transactions. Series 6 is one such exam and license that governs a certain set of such criteria.
Those who obtain licensing through the passing of the Series 6 exam are limited in selling financial securities products. Those products which can be discussed and sold via a Series 6 license consist of mutual funds, variable contract annuities, unit investment trusts (UITs), and open-end and closed-end mutual funds which are offered only during the initial period. In order for individuals to sell other types of securities, i.e. stocks, bonds, private placements and other forms of mutual funds, a much broader Series 7 license will be required over a Series 6.
It is important to understand that the passing of a Series 6 test will only authorize the candidate to make the above transactions or they could be penalized by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. Guidelines ensuring that agents adhere to Series 6 policies are the responsibility of the individuals as well as the brokerage firms for which they work.
The requirements of a client’s financial situation and their other investment needs can sometimes be confusing for those only holding a Series 6 license. For example, although undergoing and passing Series 6 testing allows the broker to discuss and offer closed-end security fund options at the initial phase, other discussion and advice concerning the sell or holding of such securities is forbidden.
It can be difficult for FINRA to hold accountable Series 6 license holders for transgressions. This is mainly due to the fact that there are no clear regulations for brokers to reveal their license credentials to customers. However, this critical point is being more rigorously debated and considered because of the sheer numbers of traders entering the markets and well-publicized cases of fraud. A recent report has also revealed that those who fail license examinations more than once are more apt to commit errors or trading crimes.
Disciplinary actions are occasionally doled out by FINRA, however. One example lies in the case of Majied Alzid who conducted securities transactions outside the bounds of his Series 6 guidelines. Mr. Alzid was subsequently barred from associating in any capacity with any FINRA member firm.
The best approach for those seeking to take the Series 6 exam is to prepare adequately. Series 6 testing can be a struggle to pass for many and requires a great deal of Series 6 study time in order to increase chances of passing on the first attempt. Once the Series 6 test has been passed and a license received, the candidate should then consider taking other exams in the Series such as the 63 and 7.