The Series 6 is a securities license entitling the holder to register as a company's representative and sell mutual funds, variable annuities and insurance. Holders of the Series 6 license are not permitted to sell corporate or municipal securities, direct participation programs and options. With Series 6, an individual can purchase or sell mutual funds, variable life insurance, municipal fund securities, variable annuities and unit investment trusts.
The Series 6 is a license sought by professionals in the financial services industry. Common jobs utilizing the Series 6 license include financial advisors, retirement plan specialists, investment advisors and private bankers. In order to obtain the Series 6 license, candidates must pass the Investment Company/Variable Contracts Products Limited Representative (Series 6) exam. The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam is a corequisite for the Series 6 exam.
The Series 6 exam is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), covering 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 35 of 50 questions correctly within 90 minutes. There are five additional questions that are unscored for a total of 55 questions. The test costs $40. It’s administered via computer with no reference material allowed.
Series 6 Requirements
Candidates must be sponsored by a member of FINRA or a self-regulatory organization (SRO) in order to take the exam. There is no prerequisite for the exam, but the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam is a Series 6 is a corequisite. Prior to Oct. 2018, the exam was 100 questions and didn’t have the SIE corequisite.
Upon receiving a passing grade, candidates must then register with FINRA through their sponsoring firm in order to transact authorized securities. Holders of the Series 6 are considered limited representatives of their sponsoring firm. As a limited representative, they can sell mutual funds, variable annuities and insurance premiums.
Series 6 Exam Outline
As outlined by FINRA, the Series 6 exam covers four specific sections:
- Seeks Business for the Broker-dealer from Customers and Potential Customers, which is 12 questions—covering 24% of the exam.
- Opens Accounts After Obtaining and Evaluating Customers’ Financial Profile and Investment Objectives is eight questions—covering 16% of the exam.
- Provides Customers with Information About Investments, Makes Suitable Recommendations, Transfers Assets and Maintains Appropriate Records is half the exam at 25 questions—covering 50% of the exam.
- Obtains and Verifies Customers’ Purchase and Sales Instructions; Processes, Completes and Confirms Transactions is five questions—covering 10% of the exam.
Maintaining the Series 6 License
To keep the Series 6 license, licensees must fulfill continuing education requirements and be sponsored by a FINRA registered company. Details about continuing education can be found here: FINRA continuing education.
FINRA’s continuing education program includes two elements: a regulatory element and a firm element. FINRA requires licensees to complete a computer-based training session within 120 days after their second anniversary of registration. FINRA also requires the computer-based training session every three years thereafter. The firm element requires broker-dealers to establish and maintain a continuing education program.