If you’re reading this blog, you probably know all about the Series 63: The Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination (more commonly known as the Series 63 or S63) was developed by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) to qualify candidates as securities agents. The exam covers the principles of state securities regulations as laid down in the Uniform Securities Act. It is intended to helpstate securities administrators determine that the applicant knows and comprehends a state’s regulations.

(And if you don’t yet know all about the S63, welcome to the blog anyway! FINRA has some additional information about the exam if you’d like a primer before you read on.)

Since we’re already familiar with the content of the test, let’s instead talk about some common stumbling blocks reps run into during testing and registration:

I Failed the Series 63 – Now What?

Getting an “F” on a test still sucks as much as it did in school, doesn’t it? Unlike my Calculus 2 professor, though, FINRA is nice enough to let you retake exams. The only catch is that there is a waiting period:

  1. Following your first failed attempt, you can schedule and retake the S63 after a 30 day (minimum) waiting period.
  2. If you fail your second attempt, you must wait another 30 days (minimum) before scheduling and retaking the S63.
  3. If you fail the exam a third time, you must wait a minimum of 180 days before scheduling and retaking the S63. After your third attempt, the waiting period for every subsequent attempt is 180 days (minimum).

I Passed My S63, But I moved to Colorado, and The CO Securities Department Says I Don’t Need It – Why?

As mentioned above, state regulators use the Series 63 to determine if an applicant is qualified to be registered in their state. This means the vast majority of states/territories require you to hold the Series 63 to be registered there. But as of this writing, seven of them don’t:

  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Ohio
  • Puerto Rico
  • Washington D.C.

Be careful with states that don’t require the Series 63. Many people love to think there’s one fewer hoop to jump through during state registration. But it’s not quite that simple.

If your Series 63 license isn’t registered with a firm for more than two years, the license will expire. If your license expires, you will have to take the Series 63 all over again.

I Already Knew About These Exceptions, Just Like I Know You Left Off New Jersey And/Or Vermont

…not quite. New Jersey and Vermont used to not require the Series 63. In fact-checking this article, I ran across more than one legitimate source of securities information that still had New Jersey and Vermont on the list of exceptions. However: New Jersey has required the Series 63 since August, 2015. And in the most recent “SRO/Jurisdiction Fee and Setting Schedule”, put out by FINRA on 7/1/16, Vermont is newly listed as requiring the Series 63.

I Didn’t Take The Series 63; I Took The Series 66. Is This Relevant to Me?

Yes, yes it is. Taking the Uniform Combined State Law Examination (more commonly known as the Series 66) is like taking your Series 63 and your Series 65 all at once. It’s designed to qualify both securities agents and investment adviser representatives. So even though it’s one test, it grants you two registrations. Just like above, if you don’t register as a securities agent (a.k.a. register the Series 63 portion of the test), it will lapse after two years.

The NASAA and FINRA both have exam overviews on their sites, should you wish to do any further reading on the Series 63.