Series 6


DEFINITION of 'Series 6'

Series 6 is a securities license entitling the holder to register as a limited representative and sell mutual funds, variable annuities and insurance premiums. Holders of the Series 6 license are not permitted to sell corporate or municipal securities, direct participation programs and options.

Series 6 may also refer to the exam granting the Series 6 license.


Loading the player...


In order to obtain the Series 6 license, candidates must pass the Investment Company/Variable Contracts Products Limited Representative (Series 6) exam. The Series 6 exam is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) (formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)), and covers topics on mutual funds, variable annuities, securities and tax regulations, retirement plans and insurance products. A passing grade is achieved by correctly answering at least 70 of 100 questions correctly within two hours and 15 minutes.

Candidates must be sponsored by a member of FINRA or a self-regulatory organization (SRO) in order to write the exam. Upon receiving a passing grade, candidates must then register with FINRA through their sponsoring firms in order to transact authorized securities.

Test Outline

As outlined by FINRA in 2015, the Series 6 exam covers four specific sections:

  • Regulatory fundamentals and business development 
  • Ability to evaluate customers’ financial information and identify investment objectives and recommendations
  • Ability to open, maintain, transfer and close accounts and retains appropriate account records
  • Ability to obtain, verify, and confirm customer purchase and sale instructions

The test costs $100, and if not passed, must wait 30 days before starting again. 

The test follows a ‘bell curve’ shape in difficulty, starting out relatively simple, becoming difficult in the middle, and then progressively getting easier again.

Series 6 Functions Explained

Section 1 requires the examinee to have knowledge of the following:

  • General industry regulations, including SEC, SRO, and state requirements
  • Registration, qualification, continuing education, and termination of employment of associated persons
  • Permitted activities for registered and non-registered associated persons
  • Product definitions and classifications
  • Required approvals and content standards of public communications: retail communications, institutional communications, correspondence, research reports, telephone solicitations
  • Appropriate use of professional designations
  • Content and delivery of prospectuses, Statement of Additional Information (SAI), and other offering documents
  • Networking arrangements
  • Regulations related to marketing and prospecting
  • Initial privacy disclosures to customers
  • Definitions of retail communications, institutional communications and correspondence, including categorization of public appearances, seminars and related sales literature and advertising
  • Regulations regarding communications with the public
  • Standards and approval of communications 

Section 2 requires the examinee to have knowledge of the following:

  • Essential facts regarding customers and customer relationships
  • The financial and personal profiles of customers inlcuding age, other investments, financial situation and needs, tax status, investment objectives, investment experience, investment time horizon, liquidity needs and risk tolerance
  • Reasonable-basis suitability, customer-specific suitability and quantitative suitability
  • Investment profile and strategies
  • Types of investment returns, for example, dividends, capital gains, return of capital
  • Securities markets, including exchange markets, over-the-counter (OTC)/negotiated markets and new issue markets
  • Fair dealings with customers and appropriate business conduct
  • FINRA’s cash and non-cash compensation regulations
  • Insider trading and prohibited activities
  • Capitalization, pricing, secondary market trading, and redeemability​
  • Other investment types, including but not limited to: Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and hedge funds
  • Variable annuities, deferred variable annuities and variable life insurance policies
  • Tax considerations
  • Definitions, characteristics, and concepts of products, types of accounts, and plans
  • Price and yield terms, for example, bid, ask, NAV, premium and par
  • Investment risk factors for credit, currency, inflation, interest rates, liquidity, market risk, social and political risk, reinvestment and market timing
  • Concept of risk/reward and the effects of diversification
  • Types of investment strategies

Section 3 requires the examinee to have knowledge of the following:

  • Account registration types, for example JTWROS​ and UGMA
  • Distribution elections
  • Customer screening like the Customer Identification Program (CIP) and determining whether a customer is an associated person of another broker-dealer
  • Account authorizations and legal documents including power of attorney, authorized account user, discretionary accounts, Transfer on Death (TOD), beneficiary forms
  • Recordkeeping
  • Customer account record maintenance
  • Transferring customer accounts between broker-dealers
  • Account registration changes and internal transfers
  • Delivery of annual reports and notices of corporate actions, for example, proxy statements
  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance procedures, program, and reporting
  • Circumstances for notifying FinCEN or refusing or restricting activity in an account and/or closing accounts

Section 4 requires the examinee to have knowledge of the following:

  • Customer complaint procedures
  • Arbitration procedures
  • Investigations and sanctions
  1. Series 11 License - Assistant Representative ...

    A securities license, administered by the Financial Industry ...
  2. Series 26

    A securities license entitling the holder to register as a limited ...
  3. Series 3

    A securities license entitling the holder to sell commodities ...
  4. Series 27

    A securities license entitling the holder to become a chief financial ...
  5. Series 24

    A securities license entitling the holder to supervise and manage ...
  6. Broker

    1. An individual or firm that charges a fee or commission for ...
Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Understanding Series 6

    Upon successful completion of the Series 6, an individual will have the qualifications needed to sell open end mutual funds and variable annuities
  2. Retirement

    6 Proven Tips For Series 6 Success

    These techniques can help you pass this test without the added stress.
  3. Insurance

    Tips For Passing The Series 6 Exam

    Find out what you can do during the test to make sure you get a passing score.
  4. Professionals

    Breaking Down Financial Securities Licenses

    Find out which exam you need to begin your career as an investment professional.
  5. Professionals

    Should You Add A Securities License To Your Qualifications?

    Clients love planners who sell securities, but a securities license takes a lot of work. Learn if the stress and study are worth it.
  6. Professionals

    Why Bad Credit Is Bad For Financial Careers

    In order to obtain and maintain a career in the financial industry, it is also important to have a clean credit report.
  7. Professionals

    Keeping Up With Your Continuing Education

    Professional maintenance can be a chore. Learn how to streamline the process.
  8. Investing

    How ETFs May Save You Thousands

    Being vigilant about the amount you pay and what you get for is important, but adding ETFs into the investment mix fits well with a value-seeking nature.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Mutual Funds Millennials Should Avoid

    Find out what kinds of mutual funds are unsuitable for millennial investors, especially when included in millennial retirement accounts.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    Top 3 Commodities Mutual Funds

    Get information about some of the most popular and best-performing mutual funds that are focused on commodity-related investments.
  1. What are the differences between the Series 6 exam and the Series 7 exam?

    The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) offers a variety of licenses that must be obtained before conducting ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why have mutual funds become so popular?

    Mutual funds have become an incredibly popular option for a wide variety of investors. This is primarily due to the automatic ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Do mutual funds pay dividends?

    Depending on the specific assets in its portfolio, a mutual fund may generate income for shareholders in the form of capital ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can mutual funds invest in hedge funds?

    Mutual funds are legally allowed to invest in hedge funds. However, hedge funds and mutual funds have striking differences ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are the risks of annuities in a recession?

    Annuities come in several forms, the two most common being fixed annuities and variable annuities. During a recession, variable ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Do financial advisors get paid by mutual funds?

    Financial advisors are reimbursed by mutual funds in exchange for the investment and financial advice they provide. A financial ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Zero-Sum Game

    A situation in which one person’s gain is equivalent to another’s loss, so that the net change in wealth or benefit is zero. ...
  2. Capitalization Rate

    The rate of return on a real estate investment property based on the income that the property is expected to generate.
  3. Gross Profit

    A company's total revenue (equivalent to total sales) minus the cost of goods sold. Gross profit is the profit a company ...
  4. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  5. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  6. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!