Series 55

What is the 'Series 55'

The Series 55 is an exam and license that entitles the holder to actively participate in equity trading. Also known as the Equity Trader Qualification Examination (Series 55), it is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and covers topics such as over-the-counter and New York Stock Exchange trading practices, rules and regulations, as well as electronic trading systems.

Breaking Down 'Series 55'

The Series 55 Examination is meant to assess the competency of entry-level equity traders. Its intent is to protect the investing public by helping to ensure that equity traders possess the competency to perform their jobs. According to FINRA, "the Series 55 exam seeks to measure the degree to which each candidate possesses the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to perform the critical functions of an equity trader." For more on the exam, visit FINRA's Equity Trade Qualification Examination (Series 55) Content Outline.

The Series 55 Exam's contents were developed based on an equity trader job analysis study, which included required knowledge, specific tasks and job functions. They study entailed data collection as well as surveys of a wide variety of firms.

Series 55 Eligibility Requirements

Candidate must be associated with and sponsored by a FINRA member firm to be eligible to take the Series 55 Examination. In order to be registered in this registration category, candidates must first be qualified as either Limited Representative Corporate Securities (Series 62) or General Securities representative (Series 7).

The member firm that sponsors the exam candidate applicant first has to file a Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (Form U4) in the Central Registration Depository (CRD) and then request the Equity Trader position (ET) on the Form U4.

Series 55 Exam Structure

The Series 55 exam consists of 110 multiple-choice questions (10 are unscored). Candidates are allocated three hours complete it and must score at least a 67% to pass.

Exam questions vary in degree of complexity and difficulty; each question will have only one best answer. They are frequently changed as regulations are amended and new products are introduces, so candidates should keep abreast of changes in applicable rules and regulations.

The 10 unscored questions are randomly distributed throughout the scored exam questions. Each scored question is worth a single point. Since there is no penalty for guessing, Series 55 candidates should answer every question.

The questions cover the following content subjects:

  • Function 1: Trading (45 questions)
  • Function 2: Order handling (36 questions)
  • Function 3: Record Keeping and Regulatory Reporting (19 questions)

Series 55 Test Day

The Series 55 Exam is administered by computer. Candidates aren't allowed any reference material, but are given scratch paper and basic electronic calculators (some of the exam's questions involve calculations). For more information, see FINRA's resouces On the Day of Your Qualification Examination.