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Research Analyst Exams Update – Changes to S86/87

In late February, FINRA filed with the SEC revisions to the content outline and selection specifications for the Research Analyst exam program (Series 86/ 87). This filing includes a provision for the reduction of the number of questions on the Series 86 exam. These changes will appear in Series 86/87 exams administered on or after May 15, 2023

What Is the Current Outline for Research Analyst Exams?

The current content outline is divided into two parts, with each part divided further into major functions performed by a Research Analyst. The following reflects the two parts, the total number of questions associated with each part, and the major job functions, including the allocation of questions among the major job functions:

Part I. Series 86 (100 questions):

Function 1: Information and Data Collection (10 questions); and

Function 2: Analysis, Modeling and Valuation (90 questions).

Part II. Series 87 (50 questions):

Function 3: Preparation of Research Reports (32 questions); and

Function 4: Dissemination of Information (18 questions).


What Are the Proposed Revisions for Research Analyst Exams?

FINRA is proposing to divide the Series 86 exam into three major job functions rather than two. Also, FINRA is proposing to reduce the length of the Series 86 exam from 100 questions to 85 questions.

The Series 87 exam will remain divided into two functions with 50 questions total, though the number of questions will be reallocated between the two functions of the Series 87 exam.

Part I. Series 86 (85 questions):

Function 1: Information and Data Collection (18 questions);

Function 2: Data Verification and Analysis (28 questions); and

Function 3: Valuation and Forecasting (39 questions).

Part II. Series 87 (50 questions):

Function 4: Preparation of Research Reports (36 questions); and

Function 5: Dissemination and Marketing of Information (14 questions).


The time given to complete the Series 86 will remain at four hours and 30 minutes in order to ensure that candidate performance is not affected by time constraints.

The proposed revisions aim to update the Series 86/87 content to incorporate the functions and tasks currently performed by a Research Analyst and to reflect laws, rules and regulations most relevant to these functions and associated tasks. FINRA conducted a job analysis study of Research Analysts in order to update the content outline and better reflect the day-to-day activities of a Research Analyst.

If you or your team would like to discuss changes in greater detail, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].

As always, we will continue to keep you posted on any developments regarding changes to the Series 86/87. Find information on how to pass the Series 86/87 here.





As a faculty member of the Knopman Marks team, Kris has found the perfect way to combine what he loves with what he knows. From the first time Kris stood in front of a classroom to teach, he was hooked on the feeling. In college, he chose to work as a TA for numerous professors. Before joining Knopman Marks in 2020, Kris was an investment banker at Citigroup working in the global healthcare group. He specialized in evaluating strategic and financial implications of business decisions for large, well-known healthcare companies.