Becoming licensed is an important part of working in the financial services industry. The Series 66 license is a popular choice because it allows you to fill two roles: giving advice to clients about securities and completing their purchases and sales. When considering which licenses to pursue, the Series 66 license is a popular choice because it combines the actions of the Series 63 and Series 65.
The Series 66 license covers the state requirement for licensees to provide financial advice and conduct sale and purchase transactions for securities-based products.
What is the Series 66 License?
The Series 66 license is a state-specific license that allows license holders to act as financial advisors and transaction coordinators for securities-based products. It is regulated by NASAA, which provides the steps to becoming licensed. Also known as the Uniform Combined State Law Examination, Series 66 covers all of the information in the Series 63 and Series 65 exams.
You will need to get the Series 7 FINRA license to be fully licensed to market and sell securities. The Series 66 license is the most comprehensive state license that financial services professionals can have but is not a stand-alone license.
Other securities licenses that you may consider include the Series 6 FINRA license, Series 63 license, and Series 65 license. Keep in mind that if you plan to use your Series 66 license, you are required to have a Series 7 license as well.
One of the biggest steps to any securities license is passing the licensing exam. A test prep course can help you study and prepare for the exam by providing resources and materials geared toward your test. You can find in-person, proctored online, or self-paced online courses.
For Series 66 pre-licensing study courses, StateRequirement recommends:
Who Needs a Series 66 License?
If you plan to act as a financial advisor for securities-based products and conduct purchase and sale transactions of securities-based products, the Series 66 license is a great choice. By taking the combined exam rather than the Series 63 and Series 65 separately, you will be able to save time and money.
If your firm, company, or organization will allow you to take the Series 66 instead of the Series 63 or Series 65, you should consider this more comprehensive license. Even if it is not required for your current position, it may allow you to pursue a promotion or a new role in the future.
The Series 66 license is the choice for many financial advisors because it allows licensees to provide financial advice on securities-based products. Almost all financial advisors need to include securities in their toolkit to provide comprehensive service to clients.
What Does the Series 66 License Allow You to Do?
The Series 66 tests your ability to provide financial advice and complete purchase and sale transactions on behalf of clients.
What Can I Do with the Series 66?
The Series 66 license allows for two main functions related to working with securities: providing financial advice and completing transactions.
- Providing financial advice: You will be able to work with clients to offer advice on specific securities-based products that fit their financial situation, needs, and investment goals.
- Completing securities transactions: You will be able to process orders for the purchase and sale of securities-based products on behalf of your clients.
Jobs that may require a Series 66 license include personal financial advisor, financial analyst, financial manager, wealth manager, and insurance sales agent.
You must have the FINRA Series 7 license before being able to use your Series 66 license. Most states require that you pass both exams before registering or completing your license paperwork. You can begin with either exam, but need to pass both.
Once you have the Series 66 license, you can begin marketing yourself and your services as a financial professional. It is important that you are fully licensed before meeting with clients to offer advice, even if you do not intend to engage in the purchase or sale of securities yet.
Other Securities Licenses
- Securities Industry Essentials (SIE): This introductory exam tests your knowledge of the essential information needed by all financial services professionals. Passing the SIE does not lead to a FINRA license. It is required before you are able to take the Series 6 or Series 6 exams.
- FINRA Series 6: This license allows you to include grouped securities-based products with your financial products. Series 6 is a beneficial securities license for insurance agents (especially life insurance agents) and financial advisors.
- FINRA Series 7: This license is the top tier securities license for many financial services industry professionals who work with clients. With the Series 7 license, you can market and sell most securities-based products. Many financial advisors and some insurance agents get a Series 7 license.
- NASAA Series 63: This state-specific license covers the actual transaction of securities-based products. It is commonly held by insurance agents and bankers who need to conduct purchase and sale orders.
- NASAA Series 65: This state-specific license allows you to provide financial advice to clients about securities. It is common for financial advisors and some insurance agents.
How Long is the Series 66 Good for?
The Series 66 license does not have an expiration date. Instead, your license remains current as long as you remain employed by a sponsoring firm, company, or organization.
If you leave your position or company, your license will still be current for two years as you search for a new job in the industry. As long as you find a new sponsor within that window, your license will not expire.
If you get your Series 66 license without a sponsor by registering through FINRA’s Test Enrollment Services System (TESS), you have two years to find a job at a firm, company, or organization that will sponsor your license.
The Series 66 license comes with the same continuing education requirements as other securities licenses. Your firm, company, or organization will provide the firm element of the training, which covers specific business practices and requirements for your position. FINRA provides the regulatory element training modules for license holders to complete.
Series 66 Requirements
The Series 66 requirements include passing the Series 66 exam, completing your registration, and getting your Series 7 license before conducting business.
Unlike the Series 6 or Series 7 licenses, you do not need to be sponsored by a FINRA-member firm, company, or organization to register for the Series 66 exam.
The exam costs $165, making it a popular choice for many financial services professionals who know they will need the Series 63 and Series 65 licenses. Instead of paying $135 for the Series 63 and $175 for the Series 65, taking the Series 66 requires only one registration fee and exam.
If your company requires that you get your Series 66 license as part of your job duties, they may also pay for exam fees and study courses to help you prepare for the test.
How Hard is the Series 66 Exam?
The Series 66 exam includes 100 scored questions and 10 unscored pretest questions. The pretest questions are not marked, so you should answer to the best of your ability on each question. You will have 150 minutes to take the computer-based exam at an independent testing center.
The Series 66 exam has four main sections:
- Economic Factors and Business Information (5 questions)
- Investment Vehicle Characteristics (20 questions)
- Client/Customer Investment Recommendations and Strategies (30 questions)
- Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines Including Prohibition on Unethical Business Practices (45 questions)
NASAA provides a detailed exam content outline with each section and subsection, as well as the number of questions that are included from each.
If you are unfamiliar with computer-based tests, you can get practice tests through a study course. These tests can boost your confidence going into the exam and show you which areas you need additional help and preparation.
What is the Series 66 Pass Rate?
The pass rate varies from year-to-year. The best way to set yourself up to pass the exam is by preparing and studying. You must score at least a 73% to pass the Series 66 exam. The questions that you answer correctly can come from any section of the exam. Because so much of the exam focuses on investment recommendations and regulations, these areas are good places to focus your studying when you begin your test preparation.
Is the Series 66 Harder than the Series 7?
The Series 7 exam is longer than the Series 66, with 135 scored questions. It is one of the most comprehensive of the financial services industry and many consider it to be the hardest as well.
For both the Series 66 and Series 7 exams, it is best to study for and take one at a time. A study course can help you prepare to pass each on your first exam attempt.
The Series 7 exam is a co-requisite with the Series 66. This means that you must take and pass both exams before becoming fully licensed.
Getting Your Series 66 License
If you aspire to hold the premier state securities license that allows you to both provide financial advice and conduct purchase and sale transactions, you will want to take the Series 66 exam. The Series 66 license is the top choice for state securities licensing for many financial advisors and insurance agents due to its comprehensive list of allowed actions for Series 66 licensees.