Administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Series 7 license exam qualifies a professional to trade various general securities products. Also known as the General Securities Representative Qualification Exam, it can help open doors to higher salaries as well as opportunities for career advancement.
Whether you’re considering a career in finance or already on the path to obtaining your license, this article will help you to better understand the Series 7 license salary landscape. This includes the numerous factors that can impact your potential income of Series 7 licensees, as well as the job opportunities available to you after obtaining this designation.
Series 7 License Salary Overview
With this license, financial advisors can trade a wide range of securities products — from stocks and bonds to mutual funds and other products.
According to latest data, Series 7 license holders earn around $69,000 per year on average. This typically ranges between $50,000 to $70,000 per year for those just starting their careers with this license, though the salaries of entry-level professionals may fluctuate based on their location and specific role.
License holders that build experience and develop a solid track record in the financial industry, have the potential to significantly increase their salaries — potentially up to as much as six-figures. In particular, senior roles, such as portfolio managers or investment advisors, often come with higher compensation due to partly commission based aspect of these positions (e.g., bonuses and profit-sharing opportunities).
However, in order to access the higher salaries of these career paths, you’ll need to obtain the Series 7 license, which involves passing a tricky exam. To make sure you’re prepared for this by taking advantage of quality resources such as online courses and study materials.
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:
For a more in-depth overview of the Series 7 license, check out our What is the Series 7 License guide.
Factors Influencing Salary
There are a number of factors that can influence the salary of a Series 7 license holder. Sre some of the most common ones include:
- Experience: Generally, you’ll earn a higher salary as you gain more years of relevant experience. Why? Experienced professionals usually have a larger client base, more industry knowledge, and a proven track record, making them more valuable to employers
- Location: Where you work also can greatly affect your salary. Usually, financial professionals working in major cities can expect higher salaries than those in smaller markets due to the higher cost of living and greater demand for financial services
- Job Role and Responsibilities: Senior roles, like portfolio managers or investment bankers, often come with higher salaries due to the increased level of responsibility and decision-making involved
- Market Conditions: During economic booms, demand for financial services may increase and lead to higher salaries for licensed professionals. In contrast, salaries may stagnate or decrease during economic downturns
By understanding these factors, you can make an informed decision about if it makes sense for your career path to pursue further education or qualifications.
Series 7 Jobs
Individuals holding a Series 7 license have the authority to promote, buy, and/or sell a comprehensive range of securities products, including direct participation programs, unit investment trusts, investment company securities, variable contracts, and investment company products.
Here are some of the common job titles associated with this license:
- Stockbroker: Helps clients buy and sell stocks and securities (e.g., corporate securities, municipal securities and government securities), as well as offering investment advice and executing trades from their account
- Financial Advisor: Provides financial guidance and investment advice to clients, assisting them with retirement planning, estate planning, and asset allocation
- Investment Banker: Works with corporations, governments, or a private bank to raise capital, manage mergers and acquisitions, and provide strategic financial advice
- Portfolio Manager: Manages investment portfolios on behalf of individuals, institutions, or mutual funds, making decisions about asset allocation, risk management, and investment strategies to achieve specific financial objectives
- Mutual Fund Manager: Oversees and manages a mutual fund’s portfolio, making investment decisions based on the fund’s objectives and market trends
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these are some of the most common positions that require a Series 7 license securities.
How to Get Your Series 7 License
Before you can obtain a Series 7 license, your must meet these three prerequisites:
- You’re associated with — and sponsored by — a FINRA member business or another applicable self-regulatory organization (SRO)
- You’ve passed the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam
- You have an approved accommodation to schedule an online appointment
Once you fulfill these prerequisites, you’re eligible to register for and take the Series 7 exam.
Exam Preparation and Procedure
You must pass the Series 7 exam in order to sell a wide range of securities products legally. The exam covers a range of topics, including equity securities, debt securities, investment risk, securities transactions, and the regulatory framework of the securities industry.
Here are some tips to help you pass this exam:
- Understand the exam format: The Series 7 exam includes 125 multiple-choice questions you need to answer within a set amount of time. Familiarize yourself with the exam format and the types of questions you should expect to encounter
- Take practice exams: Mock exams can help you get used to the test’s format, improve your timing, and identify areas where you need to study more
- Study strategically: Use study guides and practice exams to prepare for the test. Focus on the areas where you need the most improvement and spend more time studying those topics
- Take a prep course: Exam prep courses provide structured study materials, expert guidance, and practice tests — all of which can help increase your chances of success
We recommend you take an exam prep course for the Series 7 exam because these courses typically include comprehensive study guides, video lessons, quizzes, practice exams, and access to instructors who can provide personalized support and clarification on difficult topics.
Recommended: Interested in getting started? We recommend using Kaplan’s online study packages, which come with a 93% pass rate.
Series 7 License Salary FAQ
What is the average salary for a Series 7 license holder?
The average base salary for a Series 7 license holder varies, depending on your experience, location, and job role. For instance, entry-level professionals normally earn around $50,000 to $70,000 while experienced professionals may earn up to $100,000 or more. To find out more about how much you could make, see our Series 7 License Salary article.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a Series 7 license?
Roles like investment bankers, mutual fund managers, and portfolio managers are typically some of the highest-paying jobs available to Series 7 license holders. These positions involve high levels of responsibility, decision-making, and risk management associated with managing large amounts of money. As such, they can offer six-figure salaries or even higher based on an individual’s performance and the assets under their management.
Can a Series 7 license combine with other securities licenses?
Yes. Professionals combine a Series 7 license with other securities licenses to enhance their career opportunities within the financial services industry. For example, financial professionals often hold a Series 7 license along with a Series 63 or Series 65 (for investment adviser representatives) license to boost their earning potential.
How difficult is the Series 7 exam?
Many candidates consider the Series 7 exam challenging due to its comprehensive coverage of securities-related topics and the need for a deep understanding of financial concepts, regulations, and investment strategies. However, you can successfully pass this exam and earn your Series 7 license with diligent study and practice. Check out our What Is the Series 7 License article for more information on this topic.
What is the difference between Series 63 and Series 7 licenses?
The Series 63 license covers state securities regulations while the Series 7 license qualifies you to sell securities, such as real estate investment trusts and municipal fund securities. Specifically, the Series 7 exam covers topics on general securities while the Series 63 exam tackles securities transactions.