Sunday, September 30, 2007

Series 27

Financial and operations positions at an NASD firm usually require the Series 27 license. There are several areas and departments of a brokerage firm. People looking to become brokers will usually need to take the series 6 or series 7. Supervisors of brokers or sales people may need the series 24.

The Series 27 is an exam that covers topics consistent with working as a compliance officer or in another financial operations department. The exam is 145 questions and multiple choice. Like the other NASD tests, the Series 27 can be taken any day of the week at Prometric testing centers. You must register through your brokerage firm prior to arranging a test date. Once you are registered, a 120 day testing window is opened. You can take the Series 27 at any time during that 120 day period. If you fail the exam, you must wait 30 days before sitting for the test again. If you fail the Series 27 three times, you must wait 6 months.

Most of the exam covers rules, regulations and operations of an NASD firm.

Test Breakdown

The Series 27 covers several main topic areas, they include:

Balance sheet and net capital.

This section will cover computing a firm's net capital, understanding the rules and minimums of keeping minimum net capital, and understanding the balance sheet. It will also test the candidate on the effects of loans and securities on net capital and its effect on the balance sheet. This is the area that covers the most math on the test.


This area of the Series 27 includes purchases and sales of securities, transfer of securities, customer settlements and confirmations, and other items that require record keeping and reporting.

Customer Protection and Notification

This section of the exam will test you on notifications, delivery of securities, and activities in the accounts of the firm's customers.

Margin Accounts

A fairly large section of the Series 27 deals with lending of money and securities in margin accounts. The margin section will cover market values, equity, debit balance, SMA, hypothecation and the markets effect on margin accounts. There is some math in this section. You need to know basic calculation and the rules associated with margin accounts. Federal Reserve Board and NYSE margin rules are covered in this section.


The organization that oversees the municipal industry is known as the MSRB - Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board. Brokerage firms that sell municipal securities must abide by the MSRB. Students studying the Series 27 must be familiar with the rules and regulation that are covered by the MSRB.

Other areas include rules and securities acts.

Series 27 Career

If you are looking to break into the financial operations area of NASD firms, the Series 27 can be a big plus. If you are in between jobs or firms and do not currently hold the Series 27 license, you might want to consider studying for it and begin adding your process on your resume. Doing this can give you an advantage over other candidates not familiar with the exam. These are salary positions, which is the good part. Most jobs at brokerage firms (that are non-support jobs) are commission - or largely based on commission. The bad part is that firms do not hire groups of people for their compliance department. You need to keep a look-out for these openings. Most firms only need one compliance officer.

Good luck in your career!

Nick Hunter is the President of American Investment Training They offer home study courses for all NASD exams, including the Series 27.