Series 7 vs 79

Written by: Nik Ventouris

Last updated:

For many financial professionals, choosing the right career path in securities trading and investment banking is often a complex decision — particularly when it comes to distinguishing between the Series 7 vs 79 licenses.

In this article, we break down the key differences between these two popular licenses in a straightforward way in order to guide you toward the choice that best aligns with your career aspirations.

What’s the Difference?

Let’s take a look at what each license entails.

What is the Series 7

The Series 7 license is ideal for those who wish to specialize in trading securities, such as stocks, bonds, options, and other financial instruments. It’s crucial for individuals keen on forging a career in this industry as it enables them to engage in a wide range of securities transactions.

In particular, this license is generally pursued by aspiring stockbrokers and financial advisors — who want a broad range of capabilities in buying and selling securities, rather than a focus on long-term financial planning or investment banking.

Unlike more specialized qualifications, the Series 7 license provides a comprehensive overview of the securities industry, covering topics like margin requirements, retirement plans, and allocation and stabilization activities.

Since the roles this license often leads to typically revolve around buying and selling securities, the Series 7 license is encouraged for professionals aspiring to execute trades and generate commissions rather than offer comprehensive financial planning.

Recommended Course

Over 81% of our readers use Kaplan’s online courses — which come with a 93% pass rate — when preparing for their Series 7 exam. For comprehensive study packages, StateRequirement recommends:

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

Alternatively, you can have a look at our How to Get a Series 7 License article.

What is the Series 79

The Series 79 license is a specialized pathway for individuals looking to pursue a career as an investment banker — particularly in activities like mergers and acquisitions, asset sales, and equity offerings.

As such, this license is best suited for individuals aspiring to roles like investment banking representatives, financial advisors in mergers and acquisitions, and other positions focusing on complex financial transactions.

The Series 79 license offers a narrower focus on a range of financial transactions, ranging from capital restructuring to the buying and selling of companies. This specialization allows license holders to delve deep into complex transactions and financial restructuring.

This license normally opens doors to roles requiring a more analytical and transactional approach, often involving intricate, high-stakes transactions. If this sounds interesting to you, the Series 79 license may be the right choice for you.

Recommended Course

Over 81% of our readers use Kaplan’s online courses — which come with a 93% pass rate — when preparing for their Series 79 exam. For comprehensive study packages, StateRequirement recommends:

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Education Company

For more information, check out our in-depth article on the Series 79 License.

Certification Requirements

Below we’ve broken down the certification requirements of each license; this way, you’ll know what you’re getting into regardless of which designation you go with.

Series 7

In order to obtain the Series 7 license, you will need to satisfy the following prerequisites:

  • Pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam
  • Become sponsored by a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm or self-regulatory organization (SRO)
  • Take and pass the Series 7 exam, which consists of 125 multiple-choice questions. You will need to pay a $300 fee when registering

Note: The Series 7 license is an ideal qualification if you’re looking to offer a wide range of services as it provides a broad foundation for multiple roles in the financial services industry.

Series 79

In order to obtain the Series 79 license, you will need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • Take and pass the SIE exam
  • Become sponsored by a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm or self-regulatory organization (SRO)
  • Take and pass the Series 79 exam, which consists of 75 multiple choice questions. A $300 fee will need to be paid

As you can see, the certification requirements for each license are quite similar, with the only notable difference being each exam’s structure and content.

Which Qualification is Better For You?

Figuring out which license is the right fit for you ultimately comes down to the specific career path you wish to follow. Below, you can find a summary of the standout qualities and main differences of each license to help with this decision:

  • Series 7: If you aim to provide a broad range of financial services, including selling securities like stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, the Series 7 is a solid choice. This license is particularly relevant if you’re seeking a broad-based role in the securities industry where you’ll be dealing with various types of securities
  • Series 79: On the other hand, if your interest lies specifically in the niche of investment banking, particularly in handling M&As and other similar transactions, the Series 79 would be the apt qualification

Like many financial professionals, you may start with one license and later acquire additional certifications to broaden your expertise. Weigh your options carefully and choose the license that aligns with both your immediate and long-term career objectives.

If you are interested in having a look at both qualifications, we recommend checking out Kaplan Financial’s Wealth Management page.

4.7 out of 5 starsKaplan Financial

Series 7 vs 79 FAQ

Do I need a Series 79 if I have a Series 7?

Yes, if you want to specialize in investment banking functions like mergers and acquisitions, a Series 79 is required even if you have a Series 7. They serve different functions and are tailored to different aspects of financial services.

What is a Series 79 license?

The Series 79 license is a specialized qualification that equips individuals to facilitate or advise on investment banking transactions, notably mergers, acquisitions, and asset sales. This license, which is officially known as the Investment Banking Representative Exam, is a vital credential for pursuing certain investment banking roles, paving the way for a focused career in this sector.

Which is more difficult, Series 7 or 79?

The difficulty of the series will differ for individuals, as Series 7 covers a broader range of topics, making it more challenging for some, whilst Series 79 is more specialized but may be considered difficult due to the complexity of topics covered. See our Series 7 vs 79 article for a more in-depth look.

What percentage of people fail Series 7?

The failure rate for the Series 7 varies but is generally around 35%. Factors affecting success can include prior knowledge, study commitment, and test-taking skills. Diligent preparation and adherence to a well-structured study plan can increase the likelihood of passing.

How long does it take to study for Series 79?

On average, candidates dedicate between 50 to 100 hours of study time to prepare for the investment banking registration exam. The amount of time needed varies individually, influenced by prior experience with investment banking activities, thus, a structured and rigorous study schedule is essential for exam success.

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