The Series 24 license, also known as the General Securities Principal Qualification Exam, is a regulatory credential that’s considered pivotal for those who aim to take on managerial or supervisory roles within investment banking or securities businesses.
In this article, you’ll learn how to obtain and maintain your license along with tips to help you pass the exam on your first attempt.
What is the Series 24 License?
The Series 24 license is a certification given by FINRA, which qualifies a candidate to supervise and manage certain aspects of a brokerage firm’s business.
There are five major job functions licensees may perform, depending on their post-qualification functional areas. These include the supervision of:
- Registration of broker-dealers and personnel management activities;
- General broker-dealer activities;
- Retail and institutional customer-related activities;
- Trading and market-making activities; and
- Investment banking and research
Overall, getting a Series 24 license can prove worthwhile if:
- You seek career advancement within the financial industry — particularly if you’d like to have a managerial or principal role within a brokerage firm
- You want to broaden your understanding of the securities industry. (The Series 24 license exam covers a wide array of topics related to investment banking, trading, and market-making activities, which can give you a solid understanding of the industry.)
- You want to increase your professional credibility and gain the trust of your clients. (Working as a licensed professional demonstrates your competency and compliance with industry standards.)
- You wish to increase your marketability as a financial professional. (As a highly valued credential in the financial industry, this license can distinguish you from your peers and make you more attractive to potential employers.)
Obtaining a Series 24 license requires a lot of dedication and studying as well as passing a tough test. As such, make sure it fits with your career goals and represents a worthwhile step for your job advancement before you decide to pursue this credential.
Over 81% of our readers use Kaplan’s online courses — which come with a 93% pass rate — when preparing for their Series 24 exam. For comprehensive study packages, StateRequirement recommends:
How to Get Your Series 24 License
Before you begin preparing for the Series 24 exam (General Securities Principal Qualification Exam), it’s important to ensure you meet these criteria:
- You’re associated with and sponsored by a FINRA member firm or another applicable self-regulatory organization (SRO)
- You’ve passed the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam and a representative-level qualification exam — or the Supervisory Analysts Exam (Series 16) exam — required to hold an appropriate principal registration
- You’ve obtained an approved accommodation for online applications
You must pass one of the following representative-level qualifying exams in order to qualify for principal registration:
- Series 7 Exam or General Securities Representative Exam
- Series 17 Exam or the United Kingdom Module of the Series 7 Exam
- Series 37 or 38 Exam or the Canada Module of the Series 7 Exam
- Series 57 Exam or the Securities Trader Representative Exam
- Series 62 Exam or the Corporate Securities Limited Representative Exam
- Series 79 Exam or the Investment Banking Representative Exam
- Series 82 Exam or the Private Securities Offerings Representative Exam
- Series 86 or 87 Exam or the Research Analyst Exam
- Series 16 Exam or the Supervisory Analysts Exam
Those who successfully pass the Series 24 exam are authorized to manage or supervise a broker-dealer’s activities in a broad array of areas, such as corporate securities, investment banking, options, funds, and more.
Note: For more information on passing your SIE exam and getting started with Securities, we recommend having a look at our Securities Licensing page.
Exam Preparation and Procedure
Passing the Series 24 exam on your first attempt requires more than just understanding the concepts. It requires a strategic and focused approach.
Here’s how you can achieve this:
- Know your exam. The Series 24 exam gives you 3 hours and 45 minutes to answer 150 multiple-choice questions. Knowing what to expect can help you tailor your study strategy effectively.
- Develop a study plan. Design a well-structured study plan that allows you to cover all topics, keeping in mind your individual strengths and weaknesses. Your plan should involve regular study sessions and ample time to take practice exams.
- Understand, don’t memorize. The exam aims to test your understanding of concepts, not your ability to memorize. Make sure you understand each topic thoroughly and can apply that knowledge in different scenarios. This approach will prove far more beneficial than rote learning.
- Use study resources. You’ll find a wealth of online and offline study resources for Series 24 exam preparation. Review guides, textbooks, flashcards, and online practice exams can provide valuable tools. You also may want to consider enrolling in a prep course for more structured guidance.
We recommend using an online provider to help you prepare for the Series 24 exam. Usually, these service providers offer question-and-answer sessions, video lessons, and lots of online study materials to help you get ready.
Recommended: Interested in getting started? We recommend using Kaplan’s online study packages, which come with a 93% pass rate.
Maintaining Your License
Once you earn your Series 24 License, the journey doesn’t stop there. Maintaining your certification involves a commitment to continuous learning and compliance with industry regulations.
Here are some tips to help you maintain this credential:
- Complete your continuing education requirements. FINRA oversees the continuing education (CE) program for the securities industry as outlined in FINRA Rule 1240. This CE program includes two required parts: a regulatory element and a firm element
- Stay informed. Keep abreast of regulation changes by consistently checking updates from FINRA and other regulatory bodies, attending industry events, and subscribing to relevant financial publications
- Participate in professional networking. Attend industry events and participate in online forums to connect with other financial professionals and industry leaders
By maintaining your Series 24 license, you can ensure it’ll continue to serve you well in your financial career.
Series 24 FAQ
What does a series 24 license enable you to do?
The Series 24 license, issued by the FINRA, is intended for individuals seeking principal or managerial roles within brokerage firms. It authorizes you to supervise and manage certain aspects of a firm’s business, including regulatory compliance, sales, and investment banking activities.
Which is harder — the Series 7 or Series 24 exam?
While both the Series 7 and Series 24 exams can prove challenging, many professionals find the Series 24 exam the harder of the two. The Series 24 license enables licensees to hold supervisory roles, covering more complex topics related to regulatory requirements and supervisory management. However, both exams require diligent study and a deep understanding of financial regulations and operations.
What is the series 24 license exam pass rate?
FINRA doesn’t disclose the official pass rate for the Series 24 license exam, but it’s believed to be between 70% and 75%. To pass the exam, you must answer at least 105 of the 150 questions correctly to achieve a passing score of 70%. For an overview of this exam, check out our Series 24 exam guide.
What jobs can I get with a Series 24 license?
With a Series 24 license, you can take on various supervisory and managerial roles within brokerage firms. These roles include office manager, department supervisor, and general securities principal. You also can perform supervisory activities that involve regulatory compliance over advertising, market making, trading, and underwriting. Learn how much you can earn in these roles in our Series 24 Salary guide.
What benefits does a Series 24 license offer?
The Series 24 license qualifies you to hold supervisory roles within brokerage firms, opening up new career advancement opportunities. It not only demonstrates your competency and enhances your professional credibility, but also provides you with a broader understanding of the securities industry. Discover more about these benefits as you take on the different Securities Licensing roles.