The job market is very competitive and the financial brokerage industry is not any different. Not too many years ago, brokerage firms had lower hiring standards because of lower compliance issues and lesser net capital requirements. Simply, there were more smaller – medium sized firms then. Also, many of them would sponsor new broker trainees fairly liberally. Brokerage firms are largely more particular nowadays. People looking to work in the securities and investment side of this business can get licenses before they are hired and will most likely take others, such as the Series 7.
Series 7 License
* Requires Sponsorship
The Series 7 is the General Securities Representative License. Some still call it the “Stockbroker License”, though very few brokers only work in individual stock trading. Most engage in other product such as mutual funds. The Series 7 is NOT one of the licenses you can obtain before you are hired. Meaning, taking it as an independent. You can study and prepare for this securities license, and many people looking to enter the financial job market will add to their resume or cover letter that they are preparing for the Series 7. It certainly doesn’t hurt and the faster you pass the Series 7 test, the quicker you can get “on your feet” at your new job.
The Series 6 is similar to the Series 7 except it covers specific areas mostly targeted to Mutual Funds and Variable insurance product. It is also roughly half the size of the Series 7. This is a securities exam that also cannot be taken before you are hired. It requires a firm that will sponsor you. It can also be studied before you are hired. The General Securities Representative (Series 7) overrides the 6 so you do not need both. We recommend taking the Series 7 as it allows for greater coverage and leverage, should you look to move to another firm.
Series 65 – Registered Investment Adviser License
This is a terrific license you can take on your own before you join a firm. This certification is to become a registered investment adviser and it allows you to charge fees for money under management. It is a separate license with separate uses than the Series 7. It is for that reason that many brokers take both examinations and use both licenses in their business. It is not a large exam – much lesser than the 7. The Series 65 can be taken as an independent and looks great on a resume. For established traders and brokers, adding the “investment adviser” certification adds to their title and credentials. Lastly, the brokerage business has been moving more and more towards fees or money management for several years – due to decreasing trading commissions.
This is mainly a state rules exam. It is not product based as it carries mostly definitions and procedure related to brokers and new issues. The Series 63 should be obtained as soon as you can. It is the shortest securities exam and it can be taken without sponsorship. A good software or online course will get you ready within a few days up to a week.
This license combines the 63 and 65 and is available to Series 7 licensed brokers. The Series 66 can be taken without company sponsorship, but you will ultimately need the Series 7 to use it. An online course works very well for this examination. It has a lot of memorization and using computer – web based practice exams will prepare you well.