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Series 7


The Series 7 is a licensing exam administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in the United States for individuals seeking to become licensed to trade securities. The certification allows professionals to sell a broad range of securities products, including stocks, bonds, options, and futures. Passing the Series 7 exam demonstrates that an individual possesses the basic knowledge necessary to work in the securities industry.


The phonetics of the keyword “Series 7” is “ˈsɪəriːz ‘sɛvən”.

Key Takeaways

  • Series 7 is a license required by most U.S. states for individuals to be able to trade securities. It is considered a major step for aspiring financial professionals who wish to further their careers.
  • Also known as the General Securities Representative Qualification Examination, it covers a broad range of investments, including stocks, bonds, derivatives, limited partnerships, and precious metals. Candidates will need to have a deep understanding of these topics.
  • To obtain a Series 7 license, the applicant must be sponsored by their firm or a self-regulatory organization (SRO). The exam itself is challenging and requires substantial preparation. It consists of 125 questions, and candidates are given 225 minutes to complete the test. Candidates will need a score of 72% or higher to pass.


The Series 7 designation is significant in the field of business and finance since it is a critical certification for finance professionals, specifically, stockbrokers. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) administers this intensive examination to assess the competency of entry-level finance professionals to provide comprehensive brokerage services to the public. The test covers key areas such as investment risk, taxation, equity and debt instruments, packaged securities, options and retirement plans. By passing the Series 7 exam, a finance professional is licensed to solicit, purchase, and/or sell all securities products, a key competency in the finance industry and a vital component in managing financial transactions and portfolios for clients.


The Series 7 is a comprehensive examination with a significant purpose in the financial services industry. It serves as a license that permits financial professionals to engage in the purchase and sale of securities-related products and services. Anyone who wishes to work in a position that involves the direct buying and selling of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other specific investment products is required to have the Series 7 license.

Its primary use is to help ensure that financial professionals possess adequate knowledge and are capable of providing valuable and appropriate advice to customers. They should be adept at various aspects like investment risk comprehension, taxation, equities, debt securities, and retirement plans. Thus, Series 7 essentially acts as a benchmark for competence within the securities industry. It ensures that licensed professionals act ethically and responsibly in managing securities transactions, ultimately protecting both investors and the integrity of the markets.


The Series 7 is a license obtained by passing the General Securities Representative Exam, which qualifies a person to sell all types of securities products with the exception of commodities futures.

Example 1: A Financial Advisor at a large investment firm such as JPMorgan or Goldman Sachs usually holds a Series 7 license. This allows the advisor to consult with clients about their investment portfolios, which may contain a variety of securities such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.

Example 2: A Stockbroker at a brokerage firm also typically holds a Series 7 license. This allows the stockbroker to buy and sell stocks on behalf of his or her clients.

Example 3: An individual wishing to own and operate his/her own securities trading business will need their Series 7 license. This allows the individual to trade all types of securities products, benefit from their knowledge of the market, and develop investment strategies for their clients.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is the Series 7?

The Series 7 is a comprehensive exam that is required to be passed by individuals who wish to sell all types of securities, including stocks, bonds, and options. It is regulated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Who needs to pass the Series 7?

Professionals who plan to work in the field of investment banking, stock planning, and trading or any other area where they’re responsible for buying and selling securities must pass the Series 7 exam.

How can I prepare for the Series 7 exam?

There are many resources available, including online courses and study guides. It is also recommended to get as much practical experience as possible to better comprehend the topics covered on the exam.

What topics are covered in the Series 7 exam?

The Series 7 exam covers a wide range of financial topics, including equity and debt instruments, investment risk, tax regulations, retirement plans, interactions with clients, and regulatory considerations.

How long is the Series 7 exam and how is it structured?

The Series 7 exam takes around 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete and is broken down into two sections with a break in between. It consists of 125 multiple-choice questions.

What score do I need to pass the Series 7?

You need a score of 72% or higher to pass the Series 7 exam.

How often can I take the Series 7 exam?

If you fail the Series 7 exam, you must wait 30 days before retaking it. If you fail three times consecutively, you must wait six months.

How much does the Series 7 exam cost?

The fee for the Series 7 exam is $245, and it is paid at the time of the registration. Prices are subject to change, so always confirm the fee when you register.

How do I register for the Series 7 exam?

You can register for the Series 7 exam through a FINRA member firm or other applicable entity. You must also get fingerprinted and undergo a background check.

Is the Series 7 license permanent?

No, the license expires if you do not associate with a FINRA-member firm for two years. However, many firms can choose to hold your license for a longer period.

Related Finance Terms

  • Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
  • Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
  • General Securities Representative Exam
  • Stockbroker
  • Investment Products and Strategies

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