Since our last post about Form U10, FINRA has implemented the Test Enrollment Services System (TESS). Beginning in June 2017, FINRA began transitioning all non-U4 examination enrollments to TESS and ended the utilization of the Form U10.

What Has Changed?

Not a whole lot. TESS is simply a change to how the online application process functions. The reasons individuals utilize TESS instead of using Form U4 are the same reasons individuals previously utilized Form U10 instead of Form U4.

What Were Those Reasons?

Broker-dealer and investment adviser firms are required to register any person taking part in the securities and/or investment advisory business of the firm. To register an individual, the firm must file the proper paperwork through the Central Registration Depository (WebCRD) system. FINRA member firms and investment advisory firms register individuals employed by or associated with the firm by submitting a Form U4 (Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer Form) for each such individual.

Individuals who are not employed by nor associated with FINRA member broker-dealers or investment advisors may still be instructed by a regulatory authority to qualify by examination or deem it necessary to sit for an examination. Non-FINRA firms must check with the regulatory authority with whom the individual is requesting registration to determine whether Form U4 or TESS should be used.

How to Start Using TESS

TESS, just like the predecessor Form U10 system, can only be accessed online. To request enrollment in an examination without filing a Form U4, you must visit the “Enroll for a Series Exam” page on the FINRA website. From there, you can select the appropriate link for the exam you would like to request. If you created a FINRA user ID previously to file a U10, you can use those login credentials to log into TESS. If you do not have a profile, you must create one by clicking the “Register New User” link on the TESS login page.

Requesting an Exam

FINRA requires sponsorship approval by a regulatory agency in order to approve FINRA qualification exam enrollment requests.  Requests are typically processed within two business days. The necessary authorization must be provided directly to FINRA by the appropriate regulatory authority within 30 days of the request date. If the authorization is not received, the enrollment request will be refused, and any payments made will not be refunded.  Once payment for an enrollment request through TESS has been processed, refund requests are not accepted.  In addition, payments cannot be transferred to another exam or to another individual.

You may not be able to request a specific exam if:

  • You already have an open enrollment for this exam;
  • You have passed this exam within the past two years; or
  • You are registered with a firm in the WebCRD system.

TESS and Exam Status

On the “My Exams” page of TESS, you can view your exam request status. If your request is approved, you should also see an option to schedule your exam. Be sure to keep track of your exam window – once opened, it is valid for 120 calendar days.  Extensions will generally not be provided.

You may reschedule an exam appointment without a fee a minimum of 10 business days before the examination date. However, if you reschedule or cancel your exam appointment fewer than 10 business days before your original appointment, you will incur a fee. If you reschedule or cancel your exam within two business days of your scheduled appointment, or if you do not show up at all, you will forfeit the entirety of your pre-paid examination fee.

To re-enroll after a failed examination, a forfeited enrollment, or an expired enrollment, you must re-submit the enrollment request through TESS and pay the appropriate examination fees.

Within 72 hours of completing an exam, TESS will display the exam result and the test date under the “My Exams” section.

Should you have difficulties accessing TESS or other such issues with the system, the FINRA Support Team is available at (240) 386-4040 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

To explore other important topics relating to Broker-Dealers, click here.

To explore other important topics relating to Registered Investment Advisers, click here.