People who are already working in the finance industry or people who are looking to get in, will consider the Series 66 exam very closely. The benefit is that it is a combined license. Passing the Series 66 is the equivalent of passing the Series 65 and 63. The Series 63 is a state law exam. The 65 is the RIA exam.
The 66 exam is more of a rules test than the Series 65. It is comprised of 100 multiple choice questions. A grade of 71% is considered passing. If the examination is failed, you must wait 30 days before you can sit for the Series 66 again.
The topics covered include:
Registration and Licensing for Agents
Rules and Regulations
The NASD authorized this exam some years ago so that Series 7 representatives could become investment advisors without having to sit for the Series 65. The 65 is a larger exam and it covers a wider array of securities concepts. Since someone who already has the Series 7 license does not need to re-learn much of the basic covered in the 65, the NASD allows those people to take the combined test.
Do I need to have a Series 7 before I take the Series 66?
No. You can take the Series 66 first. However, the license can not be registered and effective without a Series 7. Most will take the Series 7 first, because of that fact, but it is not a requirement to sit for one before the other.
Do I need to be sponsored by a broker dealer to take the Series 66?
No. The exam can be self registered by filling out the U-10 form. The U-10 is a simple 3-4 page form that allows a person to register for the exam as an independent to the NASD. Once passed, the license must be placed at a brokerage firm or other regulatory authority within 2 years, or the license will expire.
I am looking to break into the investment and finance industry, does this license help?
Absolutely. It is a major plus to your resume to add any SEC / NASD license certifications. Putting on your resume "Registered Investment Advisor" adds a lot to an inexperienced persons written credentials. Passing the Series 65 exam will license you as an RIA as well.
Do I have to take the Series 65 if I pass the Series 66?
No. You can take either test to become an RIA (Registered Investment Advisor).
All in all, the Series 66 test is not a hard exam. It is usually passed by using a home study course that includes text books and a CD Rom test program. Since the exam is mostly rules based questions, most students find that reading the books once and then practicing the sample test questions is the best way to prepare. You want to be at a point where the practice final exams are in the 80% scoring range. This allows you some margin for error when you sit for the real exam.
Adding certifications and licenses like the Series 66 can give a boost to your resume above other candidates looking to fill the same job as you. It's also great education for CPA's, financial website publishers or any other professional dealing with customers in a finance related area.
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