The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), is the self-regulatory organization (SRO) that oversees the registered representatives and firms that sell securities to customers for profit. As such, FINRA is the sponsoring organization for licensing exams such as the SIE, Series 6, Series 7, and principal-level exams, as well as special exams for research analysts, investment bankers, and other roles.
In addition to federal securities laws, there are also state laws. These are referred to as “blue sky” laws and are enacted by each state’s State Administrator. The SRO for each state is the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). NASAA has their own exams that register individuals to sell securities in a state and to act as investment advisor representatives. These exams are the Series 63, Series 65, and Series 66. Here, we will be focusing on the 66.
The Series 7 and Series 66 licenses are usually completed together. This is because the 7 registers you as a representative of a broker-dealer and the Series 66 registers you as an investment advisor representative with a firm.
The Series 66 is officially known as the Uniform Combined State Law Exam. It is a NASAA exam that is administered by FINRA. You will need to take the 66 to register as an investment advisor representative within a state. Below is a breakdown of the key information regarding the Series 66 compared to the Series 7:
The Series 66 is a co-requisite to the Series 7, so you theoretically could take the 66 without having the 7 complete — but almost everyone will complete the Series 7 license before the Series 66 license.
An important distinction between the Series 7 and the Series 66 is that the Series 66 does have Roman numeral multiple choice or K-type questions (though there will only be a couple). Since the 66 is a law exam, a lot of the language can be difficult to understand on the first read-through. This is why taking your time to really go through the questions and understand what is actually being asked of you is essential for success on the Series 66.
A lot of times, test-takers will encounter a situation where two answers seem correct. The 66 is an exam where they may give you two correct answers, but you have to pick the most correct out of the possible answer choices. Remember to read the full question!
To help you conceptualize the exam, here is a breakdown of the content outline:
Once you complete the Series 66, you are eligible to be registered as an investment advisor representative within your state. The 66 will likely be the last licensing exam you take for a while. If you decide to become a manager, you may find yourself taking a principal level exam like the Series 9/10 or the Series 24.
Our Ultimate Guide to Series 7 Licensing is a great resource if you are looking for more details about the Series 7 exam.