Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam

True Tamplin

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®
Updated on January 11, 2021

What is the SIE® Exam?

The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam is one part in a series of exams that is necessary to become a licensed financial advisor.

The SIE exam is administered by FINRA, which is the government-authorized, non-profit organization responsible for administering all of the testing on behalf of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).

FINRA’s Definition of the SIE® Exam

According to FINRA, the SIE exam is an “introductory-level exam that assesses a candidate’s knowledge of basic securities industry information including concepts fundamental to working in the industry,”such as:

  • Capital Markets
  • Financial Products and Their Risks
  • Trading, Customer Accounts, and Prohibited Activities
  • Regulatory Frameworks

How the SIE® Exam Came About

The SIE was instituted by FINRA to fix two primary issues:

Getting the necessary securities licenses required redundant testing.

Existing licenses, such as Series 6, 7, and 63, tested the same introductory topics multiple times.

The SIE is designed to test all introductory subjects and eliminate previous redundancy.

Prior to the SIE, an individual would need to be sponsored by an employing brokerage in order to sit for any of FINRA’s Series-specific exams.

But, individuals can sit for the SIE exam before securing employment, allowing individuals to obtain a license prior to being employed by a firm.

SIE® License

In order to become fully registered to work within the securities industry, an individual must pass the SIE exam and a “co-requisite”qualification exam appropriate for their desired industry—this is a Series-specific exam, such as the Series 7 General Securities Representative exam.

To take one of the following qualification exams, the candidate must be sponsored by a FINRA member firm eligible to sponsor them.

Qualification Exams

  • Series 6 – Investment Company Representative (IR)
  • Series 7 – General Securities Representative (GS)
  • Series 22 – DPP Representative (DR)
  • Series 57 – Securities Trader (TD)
  • Series 79 – Investment Banking Representative (IB)
  • Series 82 – Private Securities Offerings Representative (PR)
  • Series 86 and 87 – Research Analyst (RS)
  • Series 99 – Operations Professional (OS)

Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) Exam FAQs

The SIE Exam stands for the Securities and Industry Essentials Exam.
The Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam is one part in a series of exams that is necessary to become a licensed financial advisor.
According to FINRA, the SIE exam is an “introductory-level exam that assesses a candidate’s knowledge of basic securities industry information including concepts fundamental to working in the industry,” such as capital markets, financial products and their risks, trading, customer accounts, and prohibited activities, and regulatory frameworks
In order to become fully registered to work within the securities industry, an individual must pass the SIE exam and a “co-requisite” qualification exam appropriate for their desired industry—this is a Series-specific exam, such as the Series 7 General Securities Representative exam.