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How to Obtain a Series 7 License

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) administers the Series 7 license. If you work in the financial services or banking industries you will not be able to hold management or advisory positions that require you to make decisions based on certain securities products until you get your Series 7 license. To ensure that traders, financial advisors and bankers are properly licensed, the FINRA (formerly the National Association of Securities Dealers) holds regular audits for applicable firms. Upon receipt of the license you can sell various types of securities except commodities and futures.

Get sponsored. Contact your department manager. Request that your employer sponsor you by filing the Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer (U4) with the FINRA to register you to take the Series 7 licensing examination. Note that most financial services firms that are a member of FINRA or a self-regulatory (SRO) organization will automatically register you to take the Series 7 examination within the first 30 days of your employment if you do not already have an active license. Keep in mind that before you can take the examination, you must be sponsored by an eligible firm in the financial industry.

Study for the exam. Review licensing examination guides (see resources). Study areas including options matrix, seller's obligations, buyer's rights, break even points, spreads and combination straddles. Keep in mind that most of the Series 7 licensing examination focuses on taxation, equity and debt instruments, investment risk, packaged securities, retirement plans and options. Set aside ample time to study for the test prior to taking the exam.

Register to take the test at an official testing center (see resources). Note that you can also contact two of the leading test service providers by telephoning Pearson Testing Center at 866-396-6273 or Prometric Testing Center at 800-578-6273 to schedule an examination date and time. Ask the testing center if you are allowed to bring blank sheets of paper you can work out computations on. Keep in mind that the test has 260 questions and typically takes six hours to complete. Note that the entire examination must be taken and completed in one day at the testing center.

Pay the applicable fees which typically run approximately $250 per test. Ask your firm to sponsor you for the cost of the examination. Bring two to three number two pencils with you to the examination. Note that you must receive a passing score of 70% before you will gain your license. Be advised that the official testing center will notify your employer and the FINRA as to whether or not you passed the examination.