What is the Series 63 License Exam?

Series 63 License Exam: Overview

The Series 63 exam is the short name for the Uniform Securities State Law Examination. The Series 63 is a North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) exam, administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and is required to be registered in multiple states to sell securities.

Generally, prior to taking the Series 63, candidates will take and pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, an introductory level exam that assesses a candidate's knowledge of basic securities industry concepts, and another licensing exam, such as the Series 7, the General Securities Representative Qualification Exam (GS).

Taking the Series 63 requires an individual to be associated with and sponsored by a FINRA member firm (or a firm that is a member of another SRO). Generally, the member firm sponsors and pays for the individual to take the Series 63 in conjunction with the SIE and other licensing exam.

The Series 63 is offered by NASAA and administered by FINRA. The exam is computer-based and generally available at Prometric testing centers. The Series 63 is a 60-question exam. The candidate is allotted 75 minutes to complete the exam. As FINRA administers the exam, candidates may visit FINRA's website to register for the exam.

Who Is This Exam for?

Candidates for the Series 63 licensing exam are financial professionals that provide investment advice, retirement planning, insurance sales, including life insurance and annuities, and other investment banking functions, and plan to conduct sales and earn income in multiple states. The Series 63 license allows financial professionals to become sales agents in individual states.

What Does the Exam Cover?

The Series 63 Exam covers the principles of state securities regulation reflected in the Uniform Securities Act. This includes NASAA amendments and other rules that prohibit unethical business practices. Sales agents will be required to register to sell securities in individual states. The Series 63 exam provides a basis for state securities administrators to determine a candidate's knowledge and understanding of state laws and regulations.

TopicNumber of Questions
Regulation of Investment Advisers3
Regulation of Investment Adviser Reps3
Regulation of Broker-Dealers9
Regulation of Broker-Dealer Agents9
Regulation of Securities and Issuers3
Remedies and Administrative Provisions6
Communications with Customers12
Ethical Practices and Obligations15

Passing the Exam

The minimum passing score for the Series 63 exam is 70%. Upon passing the Series 63 exam the individual may register to sell securities in individual states. Licenses are active for as long as the individual maintains association with a member firm in good standing, including the requirement to take continuing education courses as prescribed by FINRA and generally available online.

Continuing education generally includes a regulatory element based on industry rules and regulations, and a firm element prepared by the member firm and focused on the specific business of the firm. Should the individual separate from a member firm, there is a two-year grace period before the license expires. Successful completion of the Series 63 exam does not relieve a candidate of the responsibility to know and to abide by the specific requirements of state securities laws and regulations for any states in which the candidate does business.

If the individual does not pass the exam with a 70%, they are permitted to retake the exam in 30 days. If a candidate fails a second time, they must wait another 30 days before retaking a third time. A third failure requires the individual to wait 180 days before attempting the exam again. FINRA will charge a retesting fee and it is up to the discretion of the member firm as to whether they will pay the fee.

Preparing for the Exam

The complete content outline for the Series 63 exam is available on the NASAA website (www.NASAA.org) in the 'Study Guides' section of the 'Exams' heading. The outline is a brief, 2-page document that provides the basic information to study. It is recommended that candidates use a preparation tool to study for the Series 63 exam.

Study.com has a fantastic resource to help study for the Series 63 exam, Series 63 Exam: Study Guide & Practice. The resource has a tremendous amount of information to help learn the material, including a complete series of practice tests by chapter.

In this lesson, we will discuss various types of finance certifications and associated exams. Included are important terms, examples of each exam and certifications, and the career path within the industry.

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