The Series 63 exam — also known as the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination — is a North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) examination administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It serves as a qualification for individuals looking to become securities agents.
Acquiring a Series 63 license allows you to operate as an authorized securities representative within the financial industry, but what does it mean for your earning potential?
This article delves into the various factors that can impact the Series 63 license salary range, including the types of employment opportunities available, as well as how to get this license.
Series 63 Salary Overview
The salary for Series 63 license holders can vary widely based on a host of factors. The average salary range of a Series 63 license holder depends on their experience, location, job type, and any other licenses they hold.
The average base salary is around $69,000 annually. Entry-level positions may offer a lower salary while licensees with more years of experience or additional licenses or who work for larger, more prestigious firms can command higher wages. For example, stock brokers who hold this license earn an average salary of $149,000 or more per year.
Note that these figures may not include additional compensation, such as bonuses, commissions, or other incentives — all of which can significantly impact your earning potential.
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For a more in-depth overview of the Series 63 license, check out our Series 63 article.
Factors Influencing Salary
A range of factors can influence the salary of a Series 63 license holder, including these common examples:
- Experience Level: An entry-level professional with a Series 63 license may start at a lower salary range while more experienced individuals can command higher compensation
- Location: Major financial hubs like New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago usually offer higher salaries to compensate for the elevated cost of living. However, these areas also have increased competition that could make it challenging to secure a job
- Role and Responsibilities: Those in more specialized or high-responsibility roles, such as portfolio management or financial advising, often have higher salaries than entry-level or general positions
- Market Conditions: Economic factors and market trends also can influence salaries in the financial industry. During boom periods, firms are more likely to offer higher compensation and bonuses while economic downturns can have the opposite effect
Understanding the multiple factors that can influence the salary of a Series 63 license holder is essential for career planning. Awareness of these aspects can help you make informed decisions as you navigate your career path in the financial industry.
Series 63 Jobs
Aimed at professionals aspiring to work in the financial services industry, the Series 63 license allows you to act as a securities agent and conduct business at the state level. It provides a gateway into a range of job roles and responsibilities.
Here’s an overview of some of the primary jobs that might require or benefit from a Series 63 license:
- Registered Representative (Broker-Dealer or Stock Broker): As a registered representative, you’d be responsible for buying and selling securities like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds on behalf of corporate clients. This role often requires both a Series 7 and a Series 63 license because it involves working with different kinds of investment products and across various states
- Investment Adviser Representative (IAR): These professionals manage financial portfolios and offer investment advice. They typically need both the Series 65 and Series 63 licenses. In this role, you’d be responsible for helping clients plan their financial future, advising on investment strategies and potentially managing investment portfolios
- Financial Advisor: These professionals often wear multiple hats, offering advice on retirement planning, estate planning, tax strategies, and more. Many financial advisors hold a Series 63 license along with other certifications to offer a broad range of services to their clients
- Wealth Manager: These professionals offer comprehensive financial planning and advisory services, typically for high-net-worth clients. They also might be responsible for portfolio management and investment strategy implementation, which often requires both a Series 7 and a Series 63 license
- Compliance Officer: Some compliance roles within an investment company — particularly those dealing with state securities regulations — may require a Series 63 license. As a compliance officer, you’d be responsible for ensuring the financial institution’s operations comply with all applicable laws and regulations
- Operations or Back-Office Roles: Though less common, some operational or back-office roles in financial services also may require a Series 63 license — especially if they involve processing securities transactions or dealing with compliance issues
A Series 63 license will enable you to offer services that require a deep understanding of state securities laws, broadening your employability and career prospects.
How to Get Your Series 63 License
To obtain aSeries 63 license, you must register, take, and pass the Series 63 exam.
You don’t need to have a sponsoring employer from a FINRA member firm. To schedule this exam for a candidate employed by or associated with a FINRA member firm, the firm must file Form U4 on the candidate’s behalf.
If you’re not associated with a FINRA member firm or not currently affiliated with a firm that uses FINRA’s Central Registration Depository (CRD) program to request registration, you may go to the FINRA exam enrollment page and register. Once you complete your registration, you’ll receive a 120-day window in which to schedule and take your exam.
While there’s no corequisite — a test required alongside another for qualification — for the Series 63 exam, the Series 63 license works alongside the Series 6 (Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative) or Series 7 (General Securities Representative) licenses. You may opt to obtain these other licenses in order to legally market and sell securities products.
Exam Preparation and Procedure
The Series 63 exam covers topics like the registration and regulation of securities, the roles and responsibilities of an investment advisor representative or broker-dealer agent, and ethical practices and fiduciary obligations.
Passing the Series 63 exam is often a requirement in addition to taking other exams, such as the Series 6 or Series 7 exams.
Here are several tips to help you prepare for and pass the exam:
- Review the exam outline. The Series 63 exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, covering various topics related to state securities laws. You’ll need to answer at least 43 of the 60 questions correctly to pass
- Purchase study materials and practice exams. Choose up-to-date study guides, practice tests, and other resources from reputable sources to ensure you’re well-prepared. Repeatedly take timed practice tests to become familiar with the question format and improve your speed and accuracy
- Consider enrolling in a prep course. Prep courses for the Series 63 exam offer structured learning, expert guidance, and targeted practice — all of which can help you increase your chances of passing this exam on the first attempt
We recommend taking a Series 63 exam prep course, which typically will include study materials, practice exams, and, sometimes, even one-on-one tutoring sessions. These courses break down difficult topics into digestible lessons and offer tips on test-taking strategies. The structured format also can help you focus on your weak areas, making your study time more efficient.
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Series 63 License Salary FAQ
How much money can you make with a Series 63 license?
The average salary for Series 63 license holders can vary widely based on factors like their experience, location, and job role. On average, annual salaries can range from $69,000 to $149,000. This doesn’t include potential bonuses, commissions, or other incentives, however, which can boost overall compensation. The average median salary is around $72,000.
How much can you make with a Series 7 license and Series 63 license?
According to ZipRecruiter, professionals with Series 7 and Series 63 licenses can earn anywhere from $11.06 to $56.49 per hour. Most people make between $18.51 and $31.49 per hour, though. Additional pay like bonuses and commissions can significantly increase earnings — especially in sales-oriented or performance-based positions.
What does passing the Series 63 exam allow you to do?
Passing the Series 63 exam allows you to become a licensed securities agent who can sell investment products like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds in capital markets. Those in wealth management positions as well as investment advisors, brokers, and investment representatives often need this license to operate legally across various states.
How hard is it to pass the Series 63 exam?
The perceived difficulty of passing the Series 63 exam can vary from person to person, depending on their familiarity with financial regulations and legal concepts. The exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions, and candidates need a score of 72% or higher to pass. While not considered extremely difficult, this exam still requires thorough preparation for success.
Are Series 7 and 63 licenses hard?
Most candidates consider the Series 7 and Series 63 exams challenging, but manageable with proper preparation. The Series 7 exam is more comprehensive, covering a wide range of financial products and regulations, while the Series 63 exam focuses on state laws.
What is the difference between Series 63 and Series 65?
Professionals who sell securities and focus on securities agent state laws often need to have a Series 63 license. In contrast, the Series 65 license is a credential for investment adviser representatives and covers topics like ethics, portfolio management, and fiduciary responsibilities.