The Series 63 exam, also known as the Uniform Securities State Law Examination, is the state test for broker-dealer representatives. The exam is by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) exam and administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Understanding the Series 63 Exam

Typically, any individual interested in taking the Series 63 exam does so through their employer. The employer must be a FINRA member firm and show intent for the individual to take the exam.

This same process also applies to the Series 65 and Series 66 examinations administered by FINRA. However, individuals that are currently unemployed, in transition, do not work at a FINRA member firm, or are not associated with a firm that uses FINRA’s Web CRD system can also request registration on FINRA's website and open an enrollment window to sign up.

How Long Is a Series 63 Exam Score Valid?

Most states accept a passing Series 63 result that is under two years old. After two years, accepting the score is up to each specific state's policy and is not guaranteed. As long as a registered individual remains employed with the firm that sponsored the initial exam registration, the Series 63 result remains valid. If that individual is terminated or leaves the firm, the Series 63 state registration also ends.

The individual then has two years to become licensed or registered again through finding another employer using that same exam score, before the exam score expires. Note that if an applicant moves to another state, the requirements around the Series 63 prerequisite could also change. While most states require the Series 63 (alongside either a Series 6 or 7 license) to sell securities, passing the exam is not mandatory in Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, Ohio, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

When registered individuals leave sponsor firms, the sponsor firm typically files a U5 form to end that employee's registration. The new employer must then file a U4 form to renew the registration for the applicant. Some employees are not required by the state to obtain registration but do so because of an employer's request.

Special Considerations

State regulators may also decide to offer a waiver under some circumstances when the registration expires. Usually, waivers are offered to employees that continue working in the financial services industry, but in a different role not typically requiring a state registration. More information about waivers may be obtained by contacting state regulators. NASAA maintains a list of state regulators and provides their contact information.

It is also important to note that some employers require registration over and above minimum state requirements. Individual states also differ on what finance careers are required to obtain registrations and licenses. Taking securities orders, for example, is sufficient for registration to be required in some states. Exam candidates should check with their employers and state regulators to find state-specific policies that apply to the financial professional careers that interest them.