FINRA receives SEC approval to streamline competency exams

FINRA's 2018 volume tops 2017 activity by 87%

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that has approved the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s rule proposal to streamline competency exams and expand opportunities for prospective securities professionals seeking to enter or re-enter the securities industry.

FINRA today issued Regulatory Notice 17-30 announcing an Oct. 1, 2018, effective date for the rule change.

Under the streamlined structure, all new representative-level applicants will be required to pass a general knowledge examination, the Securities Industry EssentialsTM (SIETM), and a revised representative-level qualification examination, such as the revised General Securities Representative (Series 7) examination, appropriate to their job functions at the firm with which they are associating before their registration can become effective.

These changes align with FINRA360, the comprehensive self-evaluation and organizational improvement initiative FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook launched earlier this year to ensure that FINRA is operating as the most effective self-regulatory organization it can be.

This is an important change built upon the need to streamline the examination process and eliminate redundancies in qualification and registration requirements,” Cook said. “The new structure brings greater consistency and uniformity to the process for entering and returning to the brokerage industry.

The new SIE will test fundamental securities-related knowledge, including knowledge of basic products, the structure and function of the securities industry, the regulatory agencies and their functions, and regulated and prohibited practices. The SIE will be available to everyone, including those individuals not associated with member firms. The revised representative-level qualification examinations will test knowledge relevant to day-to-day activities, responsibilities and job functions of representatives.

The restructured program eliminates duplicative testing of general securities knowledge on representative-level examinations and eliminates several representative-level registration categories that have become outdated or have limited utility.

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FINRA receives SEC approval to streamline competency exams

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