DEFINITION of 'Series 39'

A two-hour exam offered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) that tests a person's knowledge of how direct participation programs (DPPs) are structured, how to manage registered representatives within a broker/dealer, and the regulatory and fiduciary requirements of the FINRA and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Series 39 exam consists of 95 questions, and a score of 70% or better is required for a passing grade. Qualified individuals can become principals at broker/dealers that deal in or market DPPs, which are typically set up as limited partnerships (LPs). The Series 39 exam is also known as the direct participation program limited registered principal qualification exam.

BREAKING DOWN 'Series 39'

Common examples of DPPs are oil and gas LPs, real estate partnerships and S corporations. They can have immense tax advantages such as flow-through income, meaning that structures are set up as corporations but income flows through to shareholders directly without being taxed.

Note that investors in these securities should be in constant consultation with their tax advisors to ensure that they comply with IRS restrictions and filing requirements.

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