Understanding the Series 66 License

By Julie Mendel, SILA-A
Nov 4, 2022


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Understanding Series 66

FINRA's Series 66 license qualifies candidates to work as securities agents and investment adviser representatives (IARs). Created out of industry demand to streamline the licensing process, the Series 66 license combines the Series 63 and the Series 65 licenses into one. With a Series 66 license, a financial professional can pursue careers as an expert financial advisor, portfolio manager, or broker.

The Series 66 license also requires candidates pass the co-requisite Series 7 exam. The Series 7 exam has its own co-requisite, the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam, which candidates must also pass. This brings the total co-requisite exams for the Series 66 license up to three: the Series 66 exam, the Series 7 exam, and the SIE exam.

Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Series 66 license, including what is on the test and exam prep best practices.

What is the Series 66?

The Series 66 license allows a license holder to work as both a securities agent and investment adviser representative (IAR). Prior to the Series 66 license, those seeking to sell securities and provide investment advice had to take two separate examinations: the Series 63 exam and the Series 65 exam. The Series 66 license was created by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) in response to industry requests to streamline this licensing process.

The Series 66 license requirement is one of a few licensing requirements candidates must meet before NASAA qualifies them to work as a securities agent and IAR. The Series 66 licensing exam is meant to uphold industry standards by testing a candidate’s understanding of key concepts, ethics, and regulations.

Other Series 66 licensing co-requirements include passing the Series 7 exam. Taking the Series 7 exam also requires its own co-req, the SIE exam. In total, Series 66 licensing candidates must pass these three exams to meet NASAA’s requirements. That said, a candidate’s state may also have their own licensing requirements.

How to Get a Series 66 License

Enroll and Schedule the Series 66 Exam

Prior to scheduling your exam, you will need to enroll for the Series 66 exam with FINRA. Once enrolled, FINRA grants the candidate a 120-day window to schedule their Series 66 exam.

As of April 2022, the Series 66 exam is no longer administered online. Instead, candidates must schedule a Series 66 exam with FINRA at one of their Prometric testing sites to take the exam in person. This same restriction also applies to the Series 63 and 65 exams.

Pass the Series 66 Exam

The Series 66 exam is a two hour and 30-minute, 100 question multiple-choice test that covers regulations and ethics requirements all security agents and IARs must follow.

Passing the Series 66 exam requires 73 correct answers out of 100. Once passed, however, the Series 66 license also requires passing the Series 7 exam and, by extension, the SIE exam.

Complete Other Licensing Co-Requirements

While the only direct co-req for the Series 66 license is the Series 7 license, the Series 7 license also requires candidates pass the SIE exam. In total, this means there are at least two other exams Series 66 candidates must pass in addition to the Series 66 exam: the Series 7 exam and the SIE exam. These three exams meet NASAA’s requirements, but local governments may have their own requirements that could add to these required exams.

Since requirements differ by location, it is important to check NASAA’s North American securities regulator map to find what other requirements your local government regulator has set.

Maintain Your Series 66 License

The Series 66 license lasts for two or three years—this differs from state to state.  This window determines how long a licensee has to become licensed or registered with the state without their Series 66 license expiring.

Once registered, the Series 66 license does not expire so long as the Series 66 license holder remains employed in the industry. Once a Series 66 licensee is terminated from their position or otherwise becomes inactive, the expiration countdown for their Series 66 license begins again.

For more information on additional requirements, check with your local state securities regulator.

What is on the Series 66 Exam?

The Series 66 licensing exam is designed to test a candidate's knowledge and understanding of various securities laws and regulations, as well as investment products and strategies. The exam covers topics such as ethics, fiduciary responsibilities, investment vehicles, securities markets, and financial analysis.

The Series 66 licensing exam is comprised of 100 multiple-choice exam questions, each with four answer choices. Candidates have 150 minutes, or two hours and 30 minutes, to complete the Series 66 exam.

The exam content is broken up into four primary sections, which are:

Topic Weight Number of Questions
1. Economic Factors and Business Information5%5
2. Investment Vehicle Characteristics20%20
3. Client/Customer Investment Recommendations and Strategies30%30
4. Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines, Including Prohibition on Unethical Business Practices45%45
TOTAL: 100%100

NASAA’s detailed Series 66 exam content outline gives a breakdown of what to expect in each section.

Passing the Series 66 exam requires at least a 73%, or 73 correct answers out of 100 exam questions. While passing the Series 66 exam is a requirement for those looking to register as an investment adviser representative in most states, candidates may also need to meet certain education and experience requirements, as well as satisfy other state regulatory requirements to obtain the license. Contact your local securities regulator for more information.

Failing the Series 66 exam means enduring a 30-day waiting period before another exam can be scheduled. Failing the Series 66 exam three times within a two-year period lengthens that waiting period to 180 days, or six months.

As introductory exams, failing can push career goals back by a month (or more). Quality online exam prep that caters to your learning needs and schedule is the best way to get the familiarity and confidence needed to pass the Series 66 exam the first time.

Series 66 Exam Prep Best Practices

The NASAA does not require Series 66 exam prep, but it is highly recommended—especially if you want to pass the Series 66 exam first time. After all, keep in mind the 30-day delay between retakes, which could delay your career goals by a month before even getting started.

For the highest chance of passing the Series 66 exam the first time, prepare with an online securities exam prep program. Exam prep programs, like WebCE’s Series 66 Complete Exam Prep Package, offer essential exam prep tools and features, including:

  1. Exam Tutor exam simulator for unlimited online Series 66 practice exams—even build custom Series 66 practice exams to test and improve specific knowledge areas
  2. Read-It-To-Me text-to-speech audio for all course content
  3. Flash Tutor online flashcards, a mobile-friendly approach to staying fresh on key terms and concepts on the go
  4. Study Guide Workbook course companion to make notes and complete exercises
  5. My Study Planner to customize a learning plan that fits your daily schedule

Mastering and familiarizing yourself with the Series 66 exam content and testing topics are vital to confident test taking practices that can drastically increase your chances of passing the Series 66 exam the first time.

WebCE offers an entire catalog of Securities Exam Prep courses, which also includes a combination SIE + Series 7 Complete Exam Prep Package to help you prepare for the Series 66’s other co-requisite exams at the same time. Get the most out of your time and money with WebCE’s securities exam prep.