Series 6 is an exam taken by employees of securities firms who are members of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the United States. This exam is required for individuals to become registered representatives, which gives them the ability to do transactions with investment company securities, known as mutual funds, and variable insurance contracts. In order to take the Series 6 exam, individuals must be sponsored by a FINRA member firm that will file an application for them. There is also a fee for taking the exam, which must be paid by either the sponsoring firms or by the individuals taking the test.
There are six main subjects covered on the Series 6 exam. The topics include product information for investment company securities and variable contracts; securities markets, investment securities, and economic factors; marketing, prospecting, and sales presentations; opening and servicing customer accounts; and evaluating customers. The questions are in random order, and there are a different number of questions for each topic.
This exam contains 100 multiple choice questions that must be answered within the 135-minute time limit. A score of 70% is needed to pass the exam, although if failed, it can be retaken after waiting a certain period of time and paying another fee. After the test is completed, the score is given immediately. The following day, the individual’s score is mailed to the securities firm and self-regulatory agency that is specified on the application.
Testing centers that administer the Series 6 exam can be found across the world, including in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. It is a closed book exam, and no resources can be brought into the testing room. The testing center will typically provide a calculator, pencil, and scratch paper to each test taker.
There are no prerequisites necessary to take the Series 6, as it covers the basics for an employee in the securities industry. Educational materials for the topics on the exam are available on the Internet, and there are several books that also contain study guides and practice questions. In addition, the sponsoring securities firms may provide education and training resources to employees required to take the exam.
After passing the Series 6 exam, an individual becomes a registered representative in the securities industry. As a registered representative, one is licensed to buy, sell, and trade mutual funds and variable annuities. This includes selling open-end company shares, primary offerings of closed-end company shares, and unit investment trusts. The Series 6 also can serve as a prerequisite for the Series 26 principal exam if a registered representative will be in a supervisory role.