Frequently Asked Questions about the Series 65 Exam
  • Q: Who has to take the Series 65 Exam (AKA the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination)?

    A: When an individual wants to register and serve as an investment advisor representative (“IAR”) of a registered investment advisor firm (“RIA”), most regulators within each state require an individual to take and successfully pass the Series 65 examination. Within each state, security regulators have exceptions to the requirement that IAR candidates successfully pass the Series 65 examination. Most states accept other professional designations (as will be outlined below) and waive the requirement of taking the Series 65 examination.

  • Q: Before I take the Series 65 are there other prerequisites I need?

    A: There are no prerequisites for taking the Series 65. Any individual may sit for this examination.

  • Q: If I want to take the Series 65 Examination do I have to be affiliated with a Registered Investment Advisor firm (RIA)?

    A: No, an individual does not have to be affiliated with a firm to open a test window (by filing a Form U10) or to actually take the Series 65 exam. This is different than an individual who wants to take the Series 7 which requires an individual be associated with a firm. When filing the U10 to open the test window, the individual registering for the test should check the area requesting a sponsoring firm as “not applicable”. If an individual is a registered representative with a broker-dealer and wants to open a test window for the Series 65 exam, the individual must go through the broker-dealer’s web CRD account using the U4 form.

  • Q: Do I need to take the Series 65 Examination if I have successfully completed the Series 7 and Series 66 Examinations?

    A: If an individual has successfully completed the Series 7 and Series 66 examinations and maintained such licenses with a registered broker-dealer, most state regulators will not require successful completion of the Series 65. Some state regulators will require successful completion of the Series 65, if the individual has not maintained a broker-dealer affiliation as a registered representative and securities agent, before being able to continue on with activities as an IAR.

  • Q: If I previously completed the Series 65 Examination successfully, but have not been affiliated with an investment advisor for two years, do I have to retake the examination?

    A: Most state regulators will require an individual to retake the Series 65 exam if two years has lapsed since the individual has been registered as an IAR.

  • Q: Can an individual be “grandfathered” or exempt from taking the Series 65 Examination under any circumstances?

    A: Most state regulators will waive the Series 65 requirement for someone previously registered as an IAR and prior to the state’s adoption of the current rule regarding successful completion of the Series 65. This will only be true if the individual has maintained such registered designation within the state since the adoption of the rule. If the registration has lapsed, state regulators will require the Series 65 examination be successfully completed again by the individual.
  • Q: Are there any other situations that would exempt an IAR from taking the Series 65 Examination?

    A: State regulators will consider and make certain exceptions, on an individual basis, and grant a waiver from taking the Series 65 exam if an individual has worked within the securities industry in such a capacity that did not require registration or successful completion of the Series 65. Most states require an individual prepare a written waiver request and will require that an individual have substantial work experience (15-20 years) in the industry before consideration is given to waiving the Series 65 requirement. However, it should be noted that there are limited circumstances that will be considered for this waiver/exemption.

  • Q: If an individual refers clients to the RIA (acts only as a solicitor), is that individual required to take the Series 65 Examination?

    A: Some circumstances, although very limited, may exempt an individual who is acting as a solicitor from successfully completing the Series 65 exam. This exemption relies on the applicable state regulator’s definition of what a solicitor is. The definition can vary from state to state, however, most states model their state laws with the ones outlined in the Uniform Securities Act. Under this Act, the definition includes the solicitor activities within the definition of an IAR, hence, requiring the successful completion of the Series 65. However, each state may define the activities of an IAR differently and not include the solicitor activities. It is the obligation of the solicitor to contact the state regulator for the correct and true requirement of whether the Series 65 exam is needed.

  • Q: How or who regulates and administers the Series 65 Exam? How do I register for the examination and what is the cost?

    A: The Series 65 exam (Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination) is sponsored by the North American Securities Administrators Association (“NASAA”). On behalf of state securities regulators and FINRA, NASAA utilizes Prometric Testing Centers and Pearson Vue Professional Testing Centers across the country. To register for the test a U10 form must be completed. This can be done online through the FINRA website or a hard copy may be completed and forwarded to FINRA at the address obtained when accessing the form from the website. For registering or filing a U10 online, the individual must establish a FINRA account. A series of questions/information will be asked on the form. It needs to be completed as instructed. The individual must indicate that he/she will be taking the Series 65 exam. At the time of submission of the U10 form a payment of $135.00 is due. Upon the U10 form being accepted by FINRA a 120-day window will be opened. If an individual prefers to send a hard copy of the U10 form in the mail, the form can be accessed on the FINRA website. The instructions for completion of the U10 are the same as filing online, however with the hard copy a check in the amount of $135.00 must be included.If an individual does not take the examination within the 120-day window, the window will expire. Another new window then has to be opened and an additional $135.00 fee will need to be paid.If an individual is currently registered with a broker-dealer and wants to sit for the Series 65 exam, he/she must go through the employer webCRD account using the U4 form.No refunds are given, even if you change your mind and do not want to take the examination. The only case in which a refund will be given is if an individual is “grandfathered” into a state and the IARD automatically opens the window when a U4 form is filed to register as an IAR. The regulators within the applicable state must be contacted, who then will contact FINRA to refund the charge. Study material is not included in the $135.00 filing fee when the U10 form is submitted. It is recommended that an individual obtain study material to prepare for the exam.