The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a proposal from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to streamline the process for prospective broker-dealer reps to meet their proficiency requirements, FINRA announced Thursday.
The proposal aims to reform the industry exam process, with an eye on expanding opportunities for brokers to enter, or return to, the securities industry. The new regime will take effect starting Oct. 1, 2018.
Under the new structure, aspiring brokers will be required to pass a general knowledge exam, and a revised rep-level qualification exam, such as the Series 7 exam, which is specific to their job functions, FINRA says its announcement.
"The restructured program eliminates duplicative testing of general securities knowledge on representative-level examinations and eliminates several representative-level registration categories that have become outdated or have limited utility," the announcement says.
"This is an important change built upon the need to streamline the examination process and eliminate redundancies in qualification and registration requirements," says Robert Cook, FINRA president and CEO, in a statement. "The new structure brings greater consistency and uniformity to the process for entering and returning to the brokerage industry."