What is the Series 30

The Series 30 is an exam and license for professionals seeking to become a futures branch office manager. The exam, created by the National Futures Association (NFA), is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and covers topics such as rules, regulations, and responsibilities with respect to the futures industry. The Series 30 is also known as the NFA Branch Managers Examination and was formerly known as the Branch Managers Examination - Futures.

Breaking Down Series 30

The Series 30 license qualifies an individual to act as branch manager for an NFA-registered commodity futures trading firm. The exam covers a variety of major topic areas including customer accounts, exchange rules and regulations, commodity pool operator (CPO) and commodity trading advisor (CTA) rules and regulations, discretionary rules, advertising, and management responsibility.

Series 30 Exam Qualifications

According to the NFA, an individual who is a branch office manager and an associated person must pass the Series 30 within the two years preceding their application unless:

  • They have passed the Series 30 examination within two years of the date the application is filed;
  • They are currently approved as a Branch Office Manager;
  • They were¬†approved as a Branch Office Manager and since the last date the applicant was withdrawn as a Branch Office Manager, there has not been a period of two consecutive years during which they were not either temporary licensed as an AP or registered as an AP; or
  • Their sponsor is a registered broker-dealer who provides proof that they are qualified to act as a branch office manager or designated supervisor under the rules of FINRA.

Series 30 Exam Structure and Content Outline

The Series 30 exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions. Test takers are allocated one hour to complete the exam, which costs $85. A score of 70% must be achieved to pass. Third-party training services suggest that candidates spend between one and two weeks studying before sitting for their exam. For more, see FINRA's Series 30 - NFA Branch Manager Examination informational page. Below is a sampling of exam content areas:

  • General futures trading, recordkeeping, compliance, disciplinary process, arbitration rules, hedging and trading on foreign exchanges.
  • CPA/CTA general knowledge and disclosure documents
  • The NFA's know your customer rule
  • Disclosure by CPOs and CTAs required for costs associated with futures transactions
  • Disclosure by futures commission merchants (FCMs) and introducing brokers (IBs) required for costs associated with futures transactions
  • General introducing broker knowledge, including accepting funds from customers, guarantee agreements, minimum net capital requirements, maintaining records and books
  • General account handling and exchange regulations
  • Discretionary account regulation
  • Promotional material
  • Anti-money laundering requirements

For more, see the NFA Branch Manager Examination Study Outline.