The Securities Industry Essentials Exam

About The Securities Industry Essentials Exam

The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam is a requirement to obtaining a Series 6, 7, 79, or 99 license.

The SIE is basically an introductory-level exam that assesses a candidate's knowledge of basic securities industry information and concepts fundamental to working in the industry, such as types of products and their risks, the structure of the securities industry markets, regulatory agencies and their functions, and prohibited practices.

Essentially, to obtain a Series 6, 7, 79, or 99 license, you must pass the Securities Industry Essentials exam PLUS pass the applicable Series exam (now referred to as "Top Off" exams). More information about the Securities Industry Essentials Exam is provided at the bottom of this page.

SIE And Top-Off Training Options

While you must take both the SIE and a Top Off exams to earn your license, you can purchase your training materials for both of these exams either individually or at the same time to save you some money (we label these as 'Combo Packages').

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About The Securities Industry Essentials: Pre-Requisites And Other Info

The Essentials exam is open to anyone aged 18 or older, including students and prospective candidates interested in demonstrating basic industry knowledge to potential employers. Association with a firm is not required, and individuals are permitted to take the exam before or after associating with a firm.

There are no prerequisites to taking the Securities Industry Essentials Exam, and once you pass your SIE exam, you have one full year to study for and pass your Top Off exam.

The Origin of the SIE Exam

On October 1, 2018, FINRA changed the requirements for earning a Series 6, 7, 79, or 99 license. Where you used to take one exam for a Series 6 or 7 license, you now have to take a base course titled Securities Industry Essentials, plus a shortened version of the original Series 6 or 7 course.

Why The Change?

The new SIE exam and the changes to the licensing requirements stemmed from a review conducted by FINRA, with the following objectives:

  • Reducing redundancy of subject matter content across the current exams
  • Identifying opportunities to simplify the qualification exam requirement
  • Limiting the impact of any alternative structure on the registration rules
  • Identifying and eliminating outdated registrations
This new format also is arguably designed to draw more people into the financial industry, as prior to the SIE you were required to have a sponsor to take, for example, the Series 7 exam. While you still need a sponsor to take the Series 7 Top Off, passing your SIE exam should make finding a sponsor much easier.

How The SIE Affects Current License Holders

Most individuals who are currently registered would be considered to have passed the SIE exam, and it would remain valid for four years upon leaving the industry.

Additionally, if a currently-licensed representative leaves the industry and:
  • Returns within two years, his or her registration would be regained without the need to take the SIE or top-off exam
  • If between two and four years later, the SIE exam need not be taken again; only the Top Off exam for the registration
  • More than 4 years later, both the SIE and top-off exam would need to be re-taken
Go to for more information from FINRA on the Securities Industry Essentials Exam.

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