What is Series 27?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
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A Series 27 is a license allowing someone to work as the financial operations manager of a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member firm. This license is obtained by taking an examination, known as the Series 27 exam. Once licensed, a person is eligible to handle tasks like submitting required reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). There are no prerequisites for the examination, which allows people to take it as soon as they feel ready.

There are 145 questions on the Series 27 exam, covering topics like how to maintain records, regulations pertaining to the operations of financial companies, and capital requirements. Test takers have three and a half hours to take the exam. Outside tools and notes are not permitted, although people who need scratch paper for the exam can request it from a test administrator.

Once someone passes the exam, a Series 27 license is issued. FINRA member firms may sponsor employees interested in obtaining certifications so those employees can work in a wider variety of positions. People can also choose to take certification exams independently and apply for jobs with certifications already in hand. Periodic renewals of certifications are required to confirm that people are keeping up with industry standards.


Members of FINRA are held to high standards if they want to retain their memberships. There are specific guidelines for the disclosure reports they must file and a person with a Series 27 license is familiar with the details of these guidelines and can file these reports independently. Acting as the chief financial or operations officer, this person is an important part of the staff at a company and is relied upon to uphold legal and ethical standards set out by FINRA for members.

A person with a Series 27 license can find work in a wide variety of settings with an assortment of companies. When applying for jobs, people can see if they are required to already hold licenses, or if they can start work in a more junior position while studying for certification and obtain certification with the sponsorship of the company. Classes and test preparation materials to help people get ready for the examination are available from a number of sources, and will allow people to take practice tests and go over detailed study guides covering the topics on the test to confirm they are ready. If people fail the test, they can retake it.


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