Posted by Kara Franklin ● March 16, 2023
Career Path Options with a Series 7 License
Securities licensing can benefit anyone looking to further their career in the financial services industry. Compared to other registrations, obtaining the General Securities Representative Series 7 license grants authority over more security products than Series 6, such as individual stocks and bonds and options contracts.
What is a Series 7 License and Why Do People Get One?
For anyone looking to buy and sell securities, they must first obtain the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Series 7 license. This license, also called the General Securities Representative license, indicates the licensee has expert knowledge of financial products and markets. Many people get a General Securities Representative license to become broker-dealer agents.
Qualifying for a Series 7 license is an extensive process. It requires the candidate to successfully pass the General Securities Representative exam, the Uniform Securities Agent State Law (Series 63) exam, and the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) exam. Candidates pursuing a career as both a broker-dealer agent and an Investment Adviser Representative (IAR) may choose to take the Series 66 exam, which is a combination of Series 63 and Series 65 , instead of taking both of these exams separately. They must also be sponsored by a FINRA member firm or other self-regulatory organization member firm to be eligible to take the Series 7 and Series 63 exams. Candidates can take the SIE exam without being sponsored and can expect to pay $80 for the exam. The cost for the Series 7 exam is $300 and the Series 63 is $147, but the sponsor typically covers these costs.
A training program is crucial to successfully pass the exams and avoid additional expenses. On average, candidates spend 2–3 weeks studying for the SIE, 1–2 weeks for the Series 63, and 4–6 weeks studying for the Series 7. These exams may be taken consecutively, and study times can vary depending on the student. To learn more about the exams, we break down each topic for you in our Ultimate Guide to the Series 7 Exam and Ultimate Guide to the Series 63 Exam.
If you are considering getting a securities license, several financial organizations and firms will hire you while you are preparing for the exams. Most hiring organizations give you a certain amount of time to earn your license. The amount of time provided will depend on the organization.
What Kind of Jobs Can I Get With a Series 7 License?
A Series 7 license is a foundational qualification for anyone interested in a career in the securities industry and financial markets. Several entry-level positions are available that require a General Securities Representative license, and many financial institutions provide additional training and advancement opportunities.
Stockbrokers, also known as financial brokers, usually work with broker-dealers or brokerage firms, but they may work independently. Because they represent clients in investment trading, they are expected to be well-versed in the markets. Stockbrokers spend time researching the best prices and best times to trade for better returns on investments, and they stay in contact with the investor regarding their findings. Most entry-level positions will require a bachelor’s degree in finance, economics, or business administration.
Mutual Funds Broker
A mutual fund broker has a similar role as a stockbroker, except their clients are shareholders of a mutual fund. Brokers invest the shareholder’s money in stocks, bonds, and money-market securities, spend time researching the most appropriate investments for their clients, and look for opportunities to diversify their clients’ portfolios.
Client Service Role
Someone in a client service role typically works under a financial advisor or at a wealth management office performing administrative and customer support functions, such as issuing stock quotes and various account information and resolving customer complaints. Brokerage firms may require client service representatives to become registered with FINRA to aid in handling securities, marketing campaigns, and managing compliance.
Paraplanners work with financial planning groups as junior members. Their duties include portfolio administration, financial needs analysis, financial plan preparation, research, and product recommendation under the direction of senior financial planners. Most client interaction will be performed by the senior financial planners, not the paraplanner.
Investment Banking Analyst
Investment banking analysts are typically hired as graduate students who may have earned a financed-related bachelor’s degree or master’s degree. They conduct research and perform administrative and supportive tasks for investment bankers. While they may respond to client requests, client interactions in this position are minimal.
Compliance officers work within a firm and create and maintain processes to ensure the firm and all employees stay in compliance with laws and regulations. The compliance officer serves as the firm’s primary contact with regulatory agencies, and they inform the management, business units, and financial advisors within the company of regulatory changes and events. When new candidates for the Registered Representative license are hired, the compliance officer is in charge of supervising, training, and ensuring regulatory exams are scheduled and taken. Some brokerages may also require the compliance officer to hold a Series 24 license.
After the Series 7
The Series 7 license is a strong entry into the securities industry. After becoming licensed, professional designations can be earned to further qualify your abilities and reputation. Earning additional securities licenses, or even insurance producer licenses, can further your career by adding more financial services and products you can offer.
Investment Adviser Representative (IAR)
Becoming an investment adviser, or a financial advisor/planner, also requires a Series 65 license or a Series 66 license. IARs offer investment advice to clients in exchange for compensation. They also make recommendations for security trading and manage clients’ accounts. Many financial institutions will hire a someone with a Series 7 license and require them to obtain the Series 66 license soon after hire. IARs are representatives of investment advisory firms and work closely with individual clients.
A portfolio manager requires registration as an IAR. The role may be performed by an individual or a group that is responsible for investing mutual, exchange traded or closed-end fund’s assets, implementing the investment strategy, and managing portfolio trading. Portfolio managers are IARs who work with analysts regarding the potential for investments before making a decision.
Asset managers are IARs and may work with an investment advisory company. Their job descriptions include increasing the wealth of their clients and maximizing an investment portfolio’s growth. They also manage personal property, real estate, and other assets with monetary value. This position may work with individuals, corporations, government entities, or institutional investors as clients.
Variable Product Agent
Someone who holds both a life insurance license and a FINRA registration is authorized to sell variable contracts. Holding a life insurance license increases the products available to sell, plus it adds a stream of passive income through residual commissions. Life insurance agents aim to create long-term relationships with their clients. They may work as independent agents to represent multiple insurance carriers, or they may work within an insurance agency.
Customer Service Annuity Specialist
Life insurance agents with a Series 7 license may become customer service annuity specialists. This position is usually located in a call center or may be a remote position, depending on the company. Specialists’ responsibilities include answering questions about various annuity products, facilitating purchases, and making changes to existing contracts. They may accept transactions, establish new accounts, and make distributions from a retirement account.
Certified Financial Planner (CFP) Designation
A financial professional may be awarded the Certified Financial Planner designation by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. A CFP evaluates a person’s current finances and assets to establish an individualized financial plan. Depending on the consumer’s future wishes, a CFP can assist with planning for retirement, investment, education, insurance, taxes, liabilities, and debt. This designation requires the candidate to pass additional examinations, have a college degree, and show competency in professional ethics.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Designation
The Chartered Financial Analyst designation is one of the most prestigious designations awarded to financial professionals. It requires the holder to earn a bachelor’s degree, have 4 years of professional experience, and complete a 3-tier examination process. This globally-recognized designation can advance your career and increase your potential earnings.
With the authority to buy and sell most securities, a FINRA Series 7 licensee may confidently enter into the financial services industry. The license serves as an indicator of your knowledge of financial products and markets. Earning additional licenses and designations can also accelerate your career. Whether you want to work directly with clients or stay behind the scenes, starting a career in the financial services industry creates options for your success.