Series 79

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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Series 79

The Series 79 license — also known as the Investment Banking Representative Qualification Examination — is administered via the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It is a license that is meant to indicate an individual’s competency in facilitating certain financial transactions, such as mergers, acquisitions, asset sales, and equity offerings.

In order to get licensed, you will need to be sponsored via a FINRA member firm, and then pass both the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) and the Series 79 exams.

What is the Series 79 License?

The Series 79 license is a specialized credential administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). It validates the holder’s competency in handling intricate financial operations often found in the investment banking sector.

These operations can include facilitating and advising on debt and equity securities, mergers and acquisitions, and company restructuring.

This license is particularly targeted at financial professionals who are either currently working in roles related to investment banking or those who aspire to work in such positions. If you’re a financial advisor, an investment banking analyst, or considering a career shift into these areas, the Series 79 could be a beneficial step in your professional journey.

All in all, getting a Series 79 license can be a good idea if:

  • You’re already in the financial sector and looking to expand your capabilities, especially in facilitating and advising on complex transactions such as public and private offerings of debt and equity securities
  • You aspire to specialize in areas like mergers and acquisitions, capital restructuring, and the buying and selling of companies
  • You want to set yourself apart in the competitive financial industry. The Series 79 license is a mark of advanced competency and dedication, which can make you more attractive to potential employers or clients
  • You wish to boost client confidence in your expertise. This license indicates that you are knowledgeable and up-to-date with current financial regulations and practices

However, it’s crucial to bear in mind that obtaining the Series 79 license involves a serious commitment, necessitating intense study and examination. We recommend ensuring that it aligns with your career objectives and is a valuable investment for your professional future before embarking on this path.

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How to Get Your Series 79 License

Before starting the Series 79 examination, you will need to ensure that you satisfy the following requirements:

  • Be associated with and sponsored by a FINRA member firm or another applicable self-regulatory organization (SRO)
  • Pass the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam
  • Obtain approved accommodation (for online applications)

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 & Procedure

Preparing for your Series 79 exam — also known as the Investment Banking Representative exam — is no small task, and demands careful planning and thorough preparation.

Having said that, passing the exam on your first attempt is definitely achievable as long as you: 

  • Understand the Exam: Start by familiarizing yourself with the exam’s structure – the number of questions, the format, and the time limit allowed
  • Gather Resources: Choose study resources that suit your learning style. This could be textbooks, preparation courses, or interactive online platforms
  • Are Consistent: Regular practice is vital. Use mock tests to gauge your progress and identify areas that need more attention. Ensure that all parts of the exam (e.g., offerings and securities registration, financial restructuring, M&A, etc.,) get equal study time
  • Know the Test Regulations: Keep yourself updated with the latest rules for scheduling and taking the exam. This will ensure that your scheduled exam is not canceled
  • Use Online Study Tools: Consider using an online platform for your Series 79 preparation. These platforms often offer Q&A sessions, video lessons, and a variety of study materials that can go a long way in improving your Series-specific knowledge

All in all, we recommend working with an online provider when preparing for your Series 79 exam. These generally include Q&As, video lessons from experienced investment bankers, and a plethora of online study materials and resources that can help you prepare as efficiently as possible.

Recommended: Interested in getting started? We recommend using Kaplan’s online study packages, which come with a 93% pass rate.

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Maintaining Your License

Even though obtaining the Investment Banking Registration (i.e., Series 79 license) is by no means easy, you should keep in mind that the process of maintaining it is one of continuous learning.

We’ve laid out a few suggestions that should hopefully help you stay ahead:

  • Keep yourself updated on regulatory changes: As you might already know, financial regulations evolve frequently, so being well-informed is a must when it comes to staying prepared and maintaining your license
  • Complete Continuous Education Courses: Pursuing industry-related courses will not only help you keep your license but also enrich your field-specific knowledge
  • Participate in industry seminars and workshops: These can allow you to gain insights into the latest trends and practices in your field

Embarking on the journey to obtain the Series 79 license is a rewarding commitment. With dedication, structured preparation, and a commitment to continuous learning, we believe that the Series 79 license can open the door to a fulfilling career in investment banking.

Series 79 FAQ

How difficult is the Series 79?

The Series 79 is considered challenging because of its emphasis on complex investment banking concepts. Its difficulty, however, is subjective and depends on an individual’s background knowledge, preparation, and study habits. Rigorous study and understanding the material thoroughly remains a crucial element of successfully getting licensed.

What is a Series 79 license?

The Series 79 license, also known as the Investment Banking Representative qualification, is issued by FINRA. It permits finance professionals to advise on and facilitate securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate reorganizations. All in all, the Series 79 license is essential for several key investment banking roles. For more information, see our Securities Licensing page.

Is the Series 79 or 7 harder?

The difficulty between the Series 79 and Series 7 depends on the individual and their expertise area. Series 79 focuses specifically on investment banking activities, while Series 7 covers a broader range of securities transactions. Therefore, individuals more familiar with investment banking may find the Series 79 easier, and vice versa. For more information, see our Series 7 vs 79 overview.

What is the difference between FINRA series 7 and Series 79?

The Series 7, also known as the General Securities Representative qualification, covers a wide range of securities activities. In contrast, the Series 79 is specialized, focusing on investment banking transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, and debt and equity offerings.  Series 79 may be a good alternative for you if you are going to be operating as an investment banker that is engaged exclusively in investing banking activities.

How long does it take to study for series 79?

The time it takes to study for the Series 79 varies per individual and their study plan. However, most candidates spend between 100 to 150 hours over several weeks studying. This time frame includes reading materials, practicing with sample questions, and revising core concepts. As with any exam, the key to studying is remaining consistent. For more information, see our Series 79 exam article.

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