The financial industry is a vital pillar supporting the US as well as world economy. Trades worth trillions of dollars are transacted every day. There is need for supervisory regulation to ensure corporate clients and individuals do not lose investments in dubious schemes. This is why the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) was set up to address these challenges. A securities license is the key that will open the investments door. It is not a straightforward affair as there are factors which determine the type of license required. The following guide will take you through the importance of securing a securities license and how to get one.
Importance of Licensure
To begin with, you will be able to handle financial instruments as a broker or dealer. Without licensure it would be impossible to get an opening in the financial industry. The securities license shows that you have extensive knowledge of security markets operations, securities laws, as well as financial products. An individual with such knowledge is capable of handling investments properly. This means being able to analyze financial market fundamentals and investment risk factors. Some of the investment tools you will be handling include stocks, open-end funds, options, and bonds. There are many brokerages and security firms ready to employ individuals with the right skills in addition to licensing. Salaries for new entrants hover around $50,000 every year. The annual pay package if you stick around for several years can be as high as $175,000.
How to Get a Securities License
You can only get a securities license by way of sponsorship from a broker-dealer. In addition to the sponsorship, you will have to undergo rigorous preparation before sitting for the licensing exam. Even after acquiring the license, it is advisable to keep up to date with continuous education. The majority of employers fall into two broad categories, retail and independent. Licensing requirements differ with independent broker-dealers taking a more liberal approach. FINRA oversees the administration of exams and licensing procedures. There are three main licenses that every person working with financial instruments must obtain. These are the limited-investment securities license (series 6), the general securities representative license (series 7), and series 3 license. You should also take note that FINRA does not administer all licenses. The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) also offers some key licenses. These are the uniform securities agent license (series 63), series 65, and series 66 licenses. You must achieve a score of 70 percent in both FINRA and NASAA examinations to be licensed. However, the pass rate for series 63, 65 and 66 is a little bit higher. You will have to score 72 percent, 72 percent and 75 percent respectively to have any chance of receiving licensure. After passing the requisite exams, you have to register the securities license with an approved a broker-dealer.