License Requirements

How to Get a Series 65 License

How to Get a Series 65 License

Securities industry professionals seeking to charge a fee to provide investment advice as an investment adviser representative (IAR) are required by most state securities administrators to obtain a Series 65 license. The Series 65 exam, formally the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Exam, is developed and maintained by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and is administered by  the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). 

There are no other securities license requirements if you are acting solely in an investment adviser capacity. You are not required to have a sponsoring firm to take the Series 65 exam. 

Series 65 Waiver

Passing the Series 65 exam is usually a prerequisite to getting a license as an investment adviser representative. However, states will allow an individual to substitute one of the following certifications for passing the exam:

  • CFP – Certified Financial Planner 
  • CIC – Chartered Investment Counselor
  • ChFC – Chartered Financial Consultant
  • PFS – Personal Financial Specialist
  • CFA – Chartered Financial Analyst

Other state licensing requirements, such as filing an application, passing a background check, bonding, and paying a fee, may be imposed before a license is granted.  Contact your state regulator for more information.

1. Complete an Exam Prep Course

To prepare for the Series 65 exam, we recommend you take a prelicensing exam preparation course. A.D. Banker offers prelicensing courses that will prepare you to successfully pass your licensing exam on your first attempt. Online courses include videos, practice exams, audio, activities, and key facts. They can be supplemented with flashcards, study manuals, and web classes.

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Series 65 Testable Topics

The knowledge required to pass the Series 65 exam includes the general knowledge of federal and state securities regulations, state registration of broker-dealers, agents, investment advisers and investment representatives, ethical guidelines and business practices, prohibited practices, administration of the Uniform Securities Act (U.S.A.), evaluating of customers and risks, customer accounts, securities markets, types of security products, economics and fundamental analysis, methods for evaluating securities and securities trading strategies. The A.D. Banker  Series 65 Training Course covers all the information you need to study to pass the exam.

The NASAA Series 65 content outline provides a comprehensive list of testable topics.

2. Schedule Your Licensing Exam

In order to enroll for the Series 63 exam through a sponsoring FINRA member firm, your firm must file a Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer, also known as the U4, via FINRA’s Central Registration Depository (CRD) system. You will also be required to provide your Social Security number and submit fingerprints.

Once you are enrolled and eligible to take the exam, FINRA will issue a CRD number and open a 120-day window in which to schedule an appointment with Prometric to take and pass your exam.

If you are not sponsored by a FINRA firm, you must follow the self-enrollment procedures as an individual. This will require you to create an account with FINRA, enroll, and pay for the Series 65 exam.The cost of the Series 65 exam is $187. You will schedule an appointment with Prometric to take and pass your exam at a test center. 

You can schedule an appointment to take the exam at a local test center through Prometric or by calling (800) 578-6273. Online exams will only be available for candidates requiring testing accommodations

Upon scheduling your exam, you will need to provide:

  • Your name and FINRA ID # or assigned unique ID number
  • The exam name or identifying series ID (Series 65)
  • A telephone number for you or your employer
  • An email address where they can send the appointment confirmation

Once you have scheduled your exam, you will receive an email from the testing provider with the schedule date and time, the test center location, and the test-day procedures.

3. Pass a Licensing Exam

The Series 65 exam consists of 140 multiple-choice questions, of which 130 questions are scorable. These 10 additional questions are “pretest” questions that are randomly distributed throughout the exam and do not count for or against your score. Once these questions have sufficient statistics to be considered valid questions, they will be added to the testing provider’s pool of scored questions. As a test taker, you will never know which questions are pretest and must answer all questions to complete the exam, so you should treat every question as if it counts. Candidates will be given 180 minutes to complete the exam and must correctly answer at least 92 of the 130 scorable questions to achieve a passing score of 70%.

Testing Procedures 

On the day of the exam, you will be required to provide an unexpired government-issued photo ID to be admitted to the exam.

Information about taking your exam at a test center:

  • Arrive 30 minutes before your appointment
  • You will be required to sign in and agree to the NASAA Qualification Examinations Rules of Conduct  
  • The center takes a photo of you and/or collects your biometric info (thumb/palm print)
  • At the beginning of your appointment, you will have 30-minutes to take a tutorial to familiarize yourself with the exam format
  • No personal items will be allowed in the testing area. All personal items must be placed in the center-provided storage prior to entrance.
  • Personal calculators are not allowed; the testing center will provide a calculator for you to use

Exam Results

Upon completing your exam at a test center, you will receive your results on the computer screen after you complete your exam, and you will also receive a printed copy of your pass/fail results report.

Candidates must wait 30 days after a first failed exam attempt and 30 days after a second failed attempt before retaking the exam. After a third failed attempt, as well as any attempts after that, the waiting period is 180 days. These waiting periods mirror the FINRA-sponsored exams.

What If I Want to Sell Securities Products?

If you are also interested in soliciting, purchasing, and/or selling securities products, you must pass the the FINRA Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, the appropriate representative level exam, such as the Series 6 or Series 7, and the NASAA Series 63 Exam (in most states). You are required to have a sponsoring firm to be eligible to take the Series 6 or Series 7 exam. 

If you already have a sponsoring firm, talk to your firm for help in determining which representative level exam you should take. For additional help to determine the registration that you need, you can consult the Permitted Activities of Registered Representative’s page.

We’re Here to Help

Our goal is to prepare you for your licensing exam, and then guide you through your career as a financial services professional. After you become a registered representative in the securities industry, you may decide to further your career by obtaining one or more insurance or securities licenses.

Once you begin the process of becoming a licensed financial services professional, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Get started today by reviewing our prelicensing course catalog.

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