Monday, June 24, 2013

What do Series 65 and Series 66 exam questions look like?

Having taken the Series 65 exam just two days ago, I am only able to remember the topics that my particular randomly-generated batch of 130 questions brought up. I can't remember any question verbatim, and I'm not sure how much it would help, even if I could. What I can do is tell you that the following represents the kind of topic, level of difficulty, and attitude of a challenging Series 65 or Series 66 exam question:

Which of the following investment advisers must indicate that it maintains custody of client assets on Form ADV Part 1?
A. An adviser that receives quarterly management fees directly from the custodian with client consent
B. An adviser who provides a list of unaffiliated custodial firms to its advisory clients free of charge
C. An adviser that is affiliated with a bank, savings institution, or trust company
D. None because advisers indicate such information on Form ADV Part 2 only as a result of Dodd-Frank

Rather than provide the answer right away, let's see if any of you anonymous readers are brave enough to give your answer AND your explanation for choosing it first. Time to make this blog interactive, people.
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Sunday, June 23, 2013

What is the Series 65 or Series 66 exam really like?

Your Series 65 or Series 66 exam will cover many different topics in many different ways. While it's not possible to say for sure whether CAPM or  Sharpe ratio will show up on your exam, we know FOR SURE that certain types of questions are all over this thing. I just took the Series 65 exam yesterday and saw around 27 questions from the Uniform Securities Act and business practices under the NASAA model rule on unethical business practices for RIAs, IARs, etc. That's a large chunk of questions, many of which look like the following:

Which of the following statements is accurate concerning registration issues for agents under
the Uniform Securities Act?

A. If the individual represents the issuer of the securities involved in the transaction, he is not an agent
B. If the individual represents the issuer of exempt securities, he is not an agent
C. If the individual is not regularly employed by the issuer, he is not an agent
D. If the individual represents the issuer in any exempt transaction, he is not an agent

EXPLANATION: if the individual represents the issuer of the securities in the transaction, he MIGHT have an exemption available. But, it certainly isn't based on the fact that he represents an "issuer." An "issuer" is any person who issues or proposes to issue any security. Could be a well-known-seasoned-issuer like SBUX or just some sleazy dude sitting at the booth talking about investment opportunities in his uncle's oil and gas wells. You represent that guy and, trust me, there is no exemption available and also nothing good for your career up ahead. However, if the issuer is the United States Treasury, or the State of Iowa, or a bank, savings institution, or trust company, then the individual is representing the issuer of exempt securities. So, as long as the security is exempt, he's not an agent? Not quite--the Uniform Securities Act says he's exempt if we're talking about five specific types of exempt securities, not all of them. The Act says that if the transaction is exempt, he's not an agent, period. So, the answer--which many would think is B--is actually . . . D

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