Today, I was presenting an investment seminar on indexed investing to a group of South East Asian based school teachers. 

Most of them were Americans.

I mentioned that the minimum requirement in the United States, in order to sell investment products, was a Series 7 certification.

Two financial sales representatives were among the attendees.  And they became very defensive when I stated that the Series 7 study period was just three weeks long.

One of them suggested that the exam itself takes 3 weeks to complete, and that I was “confused.”

Pasted from the American Training Centre  you can see that the study time required is minimal.

The suggested “home study” time requirement to prepare for the exam is 6-8 weeks, based on 1-2 hours per day.

Keen students wishing to expedite the process could study for 2-4 hours daily, feasibly being prepared for the exam in 3-4 weeks.

The exam itself consists of 250 multiple choice questions.

The passing grade is 72%.

I’ve pasted the details below from the American Training Centre website.


The Series 7 Exam is the NASD (FINRA) license for general securities representative. Our Series 7 training course covers all of the topics that are needed to pass the Series 7 exam.

The Series 7 test covers topics including:  

Equity Securities Prerequisite License: None
Debt Securities Questions on Exam: 250
Options and Derivatives Time to Complete: 360 Minutes
Securities Markets and Regulations Format: Multiple Choice
Retirement Plans Passing Grade: 72%
Investment Companies Availability: Test is given daily (Mon-Sat)
Taxation Where: Prometric or Pearson Test Centers
  Home Study Time: Generally 6-8 weeks (1-2hrs daily)


An additional online search complements the short duration of study time:

  • This suggestion recommends a 5 week completion time to study for the Series 7. …read more 
  • Here’s an online suggestion recommending necessary study time for preparation. …read more 
  • Kaplan Financial Education recommends 80-100 hours. …read more 

And that’s it folks.

If you want to become a financial service representative, the minimum requirement in the U.S. is a Series 7 certification.

And from knowing nothing about money, you can complete the course in less than one month (if you’re keen) and then become certified after passing the 250 question multiple choice exam.

Although no prerequisite academic training is required for this certification, those taking the exam are required to be sponsored by a financial services institution.

What do you think? 

Should a mutual fund salesperson be required to take additional courses on market history, asset allocation, and a course detailing how investment costs impact returns?