Series 99 Salary

Written by: Mary Gerardine

Last updated:

Series 99 Salary

The Series 99 license exam, also called the Operations Professional Exam, is a test some financial professionals take to obtain the series 99 license certification within the securities industry. It can open doors to specialized roles in back-office functions, compliance, risk management, and more.

A finance professional who passes the Series 99 exam demonstrates competence in — and adherence to — regulatory standards, and this can lead to a wide array of career opportunities.

But what does this certification mean in terms of salary? This article examines the average Series 99 salary, including the factors that can affect a licensee’s potential income, types of job roles, and more.

Series 99 Salary Overview

Overseen and granted by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a Series 99 license qualifies you to perform certain operations functions within the securities industry. It’s often a requirement for operations professionals, including those who perform back-office functions for broker-dealer firms.

Salaries for individuals who pass the licensing exam and are just starting their careers may vary, depending on their location, industry, and specific role. In general, they can expect to earn between $40,000 and $110,000 per year.

Having said that, it’s important to note that finance professionals in high-responsibility (e.g., overseeing teams or departments, etc.) as well as those with extensive experience will command significantly higher salaries.

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For a more in-depth overview of the Series 99 license, we recommend having a look at our Series 99 article.

Factors Influencing Salary

The salary of those holding a Series 99 license can vary depending on several factors. Here are some of the primary factors influencing their earning potential:

  • Experience Level: Those newly certified may command lower salaries while having work-related experience in the field often leads to higher incomes
  • Location: Salaries can differ across regions and cities. Financial hubs may offer higher salaries due to a greater concentration of opportunities and higher living costs
  • Specific Industry Role: Within the securities industry, this license may be a standard requirement for certain operations roles. For example, investment banking may offer higher salaries compared to other sectors. Asset management and brokerage firms may have their own distinct compensation structures
  • Market Conditions: Economic conditions, regulatory changes, and industry trends can all influence the demand for Series 99-qualified professionals. This, in turn, affects their salary ranges and opportunities

Understanding these factors can help you assess your earning potential in roles that require a Series 99 license. They also highlight the importance of looking beyond the certification itself and considering the broader context of your career, the industry’s dynamics, and your location when assessing your potential income.

Series 99 Jobs

Here are some of the common roles that might require this license:

  • Operations Professional: This position involves managing back-office functions related to securities transactions and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements
  • Compliance Officer: This professional monitors and enforces a company’s adherence to securities regulations. They typically collaborate with various departments for approving business security requirements and maintaining compliance standards
  • Securities Processor: This position handles the processing of securities transactions, including settlement and record-keeping. These professionals also manage reconciliations and resolve discrepancies
  • Risk Management Associate: This job involves evaluating and monitoring operational risks within the firm as well as developing and implementing risk mitigation and financial control strategies
  • Investment Operations Specialist: This individual oversees various operational aspects of investment management, such as portfolio accounting and transaction processing

These are just some of the roles and titles you can apply for with a Series 99 license, but this is by no means an exhaustive list.

Note: There are registration categories that will allow you to work as an operations professional without passing the Series 99 exam. These are called “eligible registrations”. For example, if you hold a General Securities Sales Supervisor (Series 9/10) registration or have held one within the two years immediately prior to having an Operations Professional registration, you are exempt from taking the Series 99 exam.

How to Get Your Series 99 License

To obtain a Series 99 license, you must first take and pass the Series 99 exam. Before registering to take the exam, you’ll need to ensure you meet the following requirements:

  • 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
  • You have an approved accommodation for online applications

Getting this license qualifies you for specialized roles within the securities industry, enhancing your career opportunities and potentially leading to higher pay in those positions.

Exam Preparation and Procedure

The Series 99 exam, (also known as the Operations Professional Exam), ensures you have the knowledge and skills required to perform the major job functions as an operations professional.

Here are some tips to help you achieve a successful outcome in the exam:

  • Use official study guides and materials. These resources cover the content of the exam, including laws, regulations, and industry standards
  • Take practice exams. Mock exams or quizzes can help you familiarize yourself with the question format and identify areas where you might need additional study
  • Plan and follow a study schedule. Create a study schedule that breaks down the material into manageable sections — and then stick to it. Consistent and targeted studying will help ensure you cover all necessary content areas
  • Join prep courses. Consider enrolling in a preparatory course specifically designed for the Series 99 exam. These often offer structured and simulated lessons, practice questions, and expert guidance

We recommend using an online course provider for the Series 99 exam, which can offer tailored guidance and resources. These courses usually include comprehensive study materials, video lectures and interactive lessons, practice quizzes, and progress tracking to help you boost your chances of success.

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

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Series 99 Salary FAQ

What is the average salary for someone with a Series 99 license?

The average salary for those with a Series 99 license depends on several factors, such as experience, location, and role. Based on the latest ZipRecruiter data, for example, a securities processing analyst with this license earns an average income of $72,874 per year. Glassdoor also reports that a financial operations professional earns $71,325 in average annual pay.

Who needs to have a Series 99 license?

Having a Series 99 license is required if you’re working in certain back-office roles and broker-dealer operations within financial institutions. 
These also include other professionals engaged in processing trades, onboarding customers, maintaining accounts, receiving and delivering securities and funds, filing financial regulatory reports, and performing other operational functions.

What is the Series 99 exam?

The Series 99 exam, administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), tests the competence of entry-level operations professionals within the securities industry. It covers regulatory requirements, professional ethics, and daily operations to ensure you have the skills for roles like trade processing, account maintenance, and compliance within financial institutions.

What are the career advancement opportunities with a Series 99 license?

A Series 99 license can open doors to specialized roles within the securities industry, such as compliance, risk management, and trade support. It also may serve as a stepping stone to higher-level positions or additional certifications, which can enhance your career growth, broaden your opportunities within financial institutions, and potentially lead to higher salaries.

How does the salary of Series 99 licensees compare to those with other financial certifications?

The average salary of Series 99 license holders aligns with back-office roles in the securities industry. Compared to other financial certifications that may lead to front-office or more specialized roles, having a Series 99 license may offer a comparable income. Specific compensation depends on factors like experience, role, and qualifications. For more information on securities, visit our Securities Licensing page.

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