What is the 'Series 31'

The Series 31 is an exam and securities license entitling the holder to sell managed futures funds or supervise those activities. It also certifies individuals who want to receive trailing commissions on commodity limited partnerships, managed accounts or commodity pools as advised by Commodity Trading Advisors (CTA).

Breaking Down 'Series 31'

The Series 31 Exam is a National Futures Association (NFA) exam administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Also known as the Futures Managed Funds Examination, it covers topics such as rules, regulations and responsibilities with respect to the futures industry.

Series 31 Structure

The Series 31 Exam consists of 45 multiple-choice questions, which candidates have 60 minutes to complete. A passing score is 70%. Candidates must be registered with FINRA to take the test. The exam's cost is $85.

Series 31 Requirements

An individual may utilize a Series 31 if they meet the following criteria:

  • They are registered with FINRA as a General Securities Representative with a FINRA member firm;
  • The FINRA member firm is also an NFA FCM (futures commission merchant) or IB (introducing broker) Member firm or an applicant for NFA FCM or IB membership and is sponsoring the individual for AP registration; and
  • The individual is going to limit futures activities on behalf of that NFA/FINRA sponsoring firm to soliciting funds, securities or property for participation in a commodity pool, soliciting discretionary accounts to be managed by CTAs or supervising persons who perform these same limited activities.

Series 31 Outline

The Series 31 covers these major subject areas:

  • General Market Knowledge: This includes definitions and significance of margins, futures and forward contracts, prince limits, open interest, offsetting contracts, 'marking-to-market,' settlement, spread trades, basis, hedging, yield curve, cost of carry, leverage and price volatility.
  • General Regulation: Arbitration claims and awards, NFA disciplinary process, NFA Compliance Rule 2-9 (supervision of employees), 'Qualified Eligible Participant,' registration requirements, trading on foreign markets, books and records to be maintained.
  • CPO/CTA Regulations: Reports to customers, exemptions from registration, records to be maintained, limited partnerships, accepting funds from customers.
  • CPO/CTA Disclosure Documents: Management and incentive fees, performance records, conflicts of interest, how long a CPO (commodity pool operastor) or CTA can use a disclosure document, pool units purchased by principals, disclosure statements, business backgrounds of principals, NFA review of document before use and disclosure of disciplinary action.
  • Know Your Customer Rule: Client information required and risk disclosures.
  • Disclosure by CPOs and CTAs Required for Upfront Fees: Disclosure of upfront fees and expenses and the effect of upfront fees and organizational expenses on net performance.
  • Promotional Material (Compliance Rule 2-29): Definition of promotional material, standardized sales presentations, use of a third-party consulting or advertising firm, reprints of articles from industry publications, recordkeeping of promotional material, past performance, hypothetical trading results, written procedures for promotional material and supervisory review of promotional material.

For more detail, see the NFA's Series 31 Study Outline.


  1. Series 3

    The Series 3 is a securities license entitling the holder to ...
  2. Series 23

    The Series 23 is an exam offered by the Financial Industry Regulatory ...
  3. Series 34

    The Series 34 is an exam and license required for individuals ...
  4. Series 39

    The Series 39 exam tests a person's knowledge of how to perform ...
  5. Series 51

    The Series 51 is an exam required for individuals who want to ...
  6. Series 42

    The Series 42 is an exam and license for financial professionals ...
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    CFA Vs. Series 7: Which is Easier

    Find out which is exam is easier: The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam, or the Series 7 securities exam for registered representatives.
  2. Trading

    Broker or trader: Which career is right for you?

    A day in the life of a broker or Wall Street trader is an exciting and varied one. Learn more about these two financial professions.
  3. Financial Advisor

    Series 24 Exam Prep: Stock Exchanges

    Before you take the series 24, you need to understand exchanges, listing requirements and much more.
  4. Financial Advisor

    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.
  5. Personal Finance

    The Securities Industry Essentials Exam (SIE)

    The Securities Industry Essentials Exam (SIE) is a new exam being introduced by FINRA to replace parts of the Series 6, Series 7, Series 22, Series 55 (57), Series 79, Series 82, Series 86/87, ...
  6. Personal Finance

    Prepare For Your CFA Exams

    Find out how to get yourself ready for these lengthy and often daunting exams.
  7. Financial Advisor

    How Hard are the CFA Exams?

    Learn about the difficulty of the CFA exams with a description of the tests, some statistics on pass rates and suggestions that can help you pass the exams.
  8. Financial Advisor

    Pass Your CFA Exams on the First Try

    Less than 20% of those who begin the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation reach the end. Become one of the elite who pass on the first try by using these simple study methods.
  9. Personal Finance

    What To Do If You Failed Your CFA Exam

    Follow these steps to increase your odds of passing your next CFA exam.
  10. Personal Finance

    Becoming A Chartered Market Technician

    The CMT certification involves three tough exams. Find out what you need to do in order to pass.
  1. What Major is Required to take the Series 7 Examination?

    Find out what educational requirements are needed for the Series 7 exam. Learn about the new Securities Industry Essentials ... Read Answer >>
  2. How long is the validity period for a Series 63 exam if I have not been registered?

    Find out how registration begins using Series 63 results and how long scores are valid without registration. Learn more about ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center