Thursday, August 27, 2009

Series 7 License Education Requirements

All Series 7 reps must maintain at least a minimum level of continuing education

The Series 7, formally known as the General Securities Representative License, is the most common license in the investment industry. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, oversees license holders and is responsible for monitoring and regulating their conduct, as well as ensuring that proper industry education guidelines are met.

All Series 7 representatives are required to maintain at least a minimum level of continuing education to stay current with changes in products, services and legislation that directly affects their ability to conduct business and service the needs of clients.

Function


The Series 7 license is the broadest of all licenses available to professionals in the investment industry. It allows licensees to assist retail investment clients with various types of transactions involving stocks, bonds, options, limited partnerships and other sophisticated products. Since the Series 7 is often the base for further, more complicated, areas of specialization achieved by industry professionals, it is essential that representatives demonstrate their continued upkeep with relevant changes in the industry that may impact their future transactions with clients.

Time Frame


Although the Series 7 license does not expire, representatives are required to complete continuing-education requirements as stipulated by FINRA. Once a representative has acquired the Series 7 license, his first required continuing-education session, known as Firm Element training, must be completed after two years. Subsequent Firm Element training sessions will then be required every three years for as long as the representative maintains the Series 7 license.

Effects


If a registered representative fails to complete a required Firm Element training session within the allotted 120-day window, his Series 7 license will be temporarily suspended until this educational requirement is fulfilled. This would present a devastating impact to the representative's business practices and his ability to earn a living, not to mention a potentially dangerous lack of proper management of his clients' accounts.

Warning


The tri-yearly FINRA continuing-education requirements for a representative to maintain his Series 7 license are entirely separate from requirements by broker-dealer firms or state insurance departments. A registered representative's broker-dealer firm will have its own educational requirements that may or may not match up to the criteria set forth by FINRA. Regardless, a license holder must make certain to adequately maintain the minimum requirements of his employer. Separate from the broker-dealer's educational rules are those of each state's insurance department. Those representatives who conduct insurance-related business must also successfully complete their state's mandated insurance continuing-education requirements.

Potential


Although there has been no formal notice of any proposed changes to the curriculum of the Series 7 initial examination, alterations will occur regularly. As government legislation changes and affects the financial services industry, FINRA will respond to ensure registered representatives are aware of current events. The Firm Element education requirement is specifically intended as a way to keep industry professionals informed about how current events may influence their ability to conduct business.

References


Keeping Up With Your Contining Education
FINRA Continuing Education

Article originally published on eHow Money (08/27/2009)