NASAA Updates Exams to Test Social Media, Cyber Smarts

BD agents, IA reps taking the Series 63, 65 and 66 exams will be tested on data protection and social media starting July 1

The North American Securities Administrators Association has updated the Series 63, 65 and 66 exams to test the knowledge of broker-dealer and investment advisor reps on cybersecurity, social media and data protection issues.

NASAA reviews exams each year and adds new questions based on test specifications. The last significant update to the exam specifications was in 2010. 

During the latest update, NASAA members worked with Prometric, a leading test development company, for more than a year reviewing the content and scoring of each exam. During the review process, the group received feedback from more than 1,000 industry participants and securities regulators.

The new specifications become effective July 1.

Two new topic areas were added to the Series 63 exam, highlighting the importance of advertising and correspondence, including social media, and cybersecurity and data protection.

However, the number of items on the Series 63 remains unchanged, as does the passing score.

The Series 65 also includes new testing questions on social media cybersecurity and data protection, but also custody obligations as well as anti-money laundering.

Series 66 test specifications also were modified to better reflect the skills and knowledge required to be a dually registered agent of a broker-dealer and investment advisor rep, keeping in mind that Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's Series 7 exam remains a co-requisite for registration based on the Series 66, NASAA states.

In certain content areas, additional examples were added to clarify certain topics, such as valuation methods of fixed income securities and equity securities. Also, content regarding alternative investments was expanded to include additional investment types, given changing market conditions, and new areas regarding other assets were included, NASAA states.

Topics regarding client type and ownership and estate planning techniques were also expanded.

Topics were added with respect to exemptions for exempt reporting advisors and private fund advisors, along with areas regarding broker-dealer agent and investment advisor rep supervision.

While the number of items on the Series 66 remains unchanged, the passing score for the Series 66 has been modified to better reflect the weighting of the exam and the number of questions on each topic. The new passing score on the Series 66 is 73 correct out of 100.

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