FINRA Releases Statistics on New SIE and Top-Off Exams

The new Securities Industry Essentials (SIE) Exam was the first modification to the securities industry registration process in more than 40 years. All agree that the rollout on October 1, 2018, went smoothly, thanks to careful planning and the collaboration between FINRA and member firms. FINRA shared results of the rollout and exam administration statistics at an industry conference held in March.

SIE Exam Statistics through January 2019

FINRA reported four months of results, compiled from the October 1, 2018, launch through January 31, 2019. In this time period:

  • Administered SIE exams totaled 16,195.
  • The average pass rate for the SIE was 74%.

FINRA expressed that these results were approximately in line with their expectations.

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Top-Off Exam Statistics

FINRA also reported statistics on the number of top-off exams taken since they were first administered on October 1. As of January 31, the administrations were as follows:

An additional statistic that FINRA shared is the “Pass-through” rate for each top-off. This statistic reports how many were successful on their first attempt at each of the top-offs.

  • Series 6: 59%
  • Series 7: 71%
  • Series 79: 87%

Changes to Exam Performance Reports

Another modification implemented in October was a change to candidate performance reports. Candidates who are successful on the SIE, top-offs, and all legacy industry exams administered by FINRA no longer see their percentage of correct answers as was prior practice. Now, only a “PASS” result is reported.

Candidates who are unsuccessful on any of these exams continue to receive a score. The percentage of correct answers is provided to help indicate the level of preparation necessary for the next exam attempt. As in the past, a waiting period of 30 days is required after the first two unsuccessful attempts. A six-month waiting period applies after the third exam failure.

Will FINRA Continue to Restructure Their Exams?

FINRA announced that principal level exam changes are on their radar for the future. With the same commitment to reduction of redundancy and an overall improved exam process, it is expected that within the next three years new principal exams will be implemented. Check back for more updates as FINRA releases these plans.

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Written by Marcia Larson
Marcia Larson is Vice President, Faculty, at Knopman Marks Financial Training, New York, NY. She has extensive experience in financial licensing and regulatory training, having authored, developed and presented courseware for numerous securities and insurance exam preparation and continuing education and compliance programs. Before joining Knopman Marks, Marcia was Director of Annuity Products and Business Development at CUNA Mutual Group, where she developed and marketed industry-leading annuity products and retirement solutions and implemented distribution relationships. She was previously VP, Securities Products for Kaplan Financial, managing securities training products and subsequently, international training and businesses development. Marcia has trained thousands of financial industry exam candidates throughout their careers, and also college students as an adjunct professor. Marcia was a summa cum laude graduate of Wartburg College with degrees in Business Administration and Piano Performance. Marcia also holds the designations of Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU®), Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS), and Fellow Life Management Institute™ (FLMI®). She currently teaches the SIE, Series 6, 7, 24, 50, 52, 63, 65, and 66 exams.