Series 65 – A Complete Overview

by Julie Mendel, SILA-A, CDEI | Sep 13, 2022
A Complete Overivew of the Series 65 License

For those who enjoy assisting others in achieving their financial goals, a job as an investment advisor may be just what they're looking for. Beyond having the ability to communicate effectively, possess solid analytical, organizational, managerial skills, and a passion for helping clients achieve their financial objectives, they must know what licenses are required for the job and how to obtain them. The Series 65 license is just one of the various licenses needed depending on the services one wants to offer to their clients.

What is the Series 65?

When an individual wants to become an Investment Adviser Representative (IAR), the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) requires they obtain a Series 65 or Series 66 license. In this post, we will focus on the Series 65. To receive this license, an individual must pass the Series 65 exam, which is officially referred to as the Uniform Investment Adviser Law License Examination.

The Series 65 exam is the only exam that can be waived by NASAA if an individual holds one of five certifications or designations. Those certifications and designations are:

  1. Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Certification
  2. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Designation
  3. Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) Designation
  4. Personal Financial Specialist (PFS) Designation
  5. Chartered Investment Counselor (CIC) Designation

While these five certifications/designations may waive the Series 65 exam, an individual will have to be licensed with their state and comply with all state licensing requirements which may include things like filing fees, dues, background checks, etc. before they begin providing investment advice for a fee. Individuals should check with their state securities regulator to confirm the licensing process when waiving the Series 65 exam. The Series 65 waiver does not exempt or waive an individual’s requirement to complete continuing education relative to the Series 65 registration or license.

Why Take the Series 65 Exam?

Individuals interested in working in the financial services industry, and who are interested in providing advice about securities products, strategies, or recommendations to their clients for a fee need to obtain their Series 65 license by passing the Series 65 exam (or applying the process of one of the exceptions listed above).

How to Prepare for the Series 65 Exam

The Uniform Investment Adviser Law License (or Series 65) Examination is designed to be a financial and regulatory competency test. The exam covers the following topics, as outlined by NASAA:

  1. Economic Factors and Business Information
  2. Investment Vehicle Characteristics
  3. Client Investment Recommendations and Strategies
  4. Laws, Regulations, and Guidelines Including Prohibition on Unethical Business Practices.

Candidates have 3 hours to complete this exam consisting of 130 multiple-choice questions. To pass the Series 65, they must answer at least 94 questions correctly (72%).

Online Series 65 Exam Prep

While a formal exam prep course is not required in order to sit for the Series 65 exam, many candidates take advantage of online study tools to enhance their knowledge of the material and to practice for exam day. To help candidates get the most out of their exam prep study experience, WebCE provides a number of tools and features within our Series 65 Complete Exam Prep Package:

  • Read-it-to-me audio for all course content 
  • Flash Tutor online flashcards, mobile-friendly and perfect for reviewing key terms and concepts on the go 
  • Exam Tutor exam simulator, which allows students to take full practice exams or build custom exams to test their knowledge on specific topics 
  • Study Guide Workbook, designed as a companion for the course material to write notes and complete exercises 
  • My Study Planner, which assists with creating a customized learning plan because daily studying is important for mastering the key concepts 

WebCE’s securities exam prep course packages provide convenient, effective study solutions for passing the Series 65 exam. To order the Series 65 Exam Prep Complete Package and take one step closer to a career as an investment adviser, visit our Securities Exam Prep Course Catalog.