Finra is allowing more licensing exams to be taken remotely in response to continuing social distancing concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In an update on its website earlier this week, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. said candidates can take Series 24, 57, 79 and 99 exams remotely if they make an interim accommodation request.
The request can be submitted online prior to scheduling an examination appointment. Finra will not require the documentation normally needed to obtain a testing accommodation. That will allow candidates to opt for an online exam if they’re reluctant to go to a test center.
Last summer, Finra allowed remote testing for the Series 6 and 7 and Securities Industry Essentials exams.
The broker-dealer self-regulator said it is expanding online exams “to address the ongoing challenges facing exam candidates by the COVID-19 pandemic. Finra will continue to assess the impact of COVID-19 to determine how long to offer this interim accommodation.”
The North American Securities Administrators Association also last summer allowed online testing for the Series 63, 65 and 66 state-level exams.
The securities licensing exams that went online last year are the most popular ones in the financial industry. The latest tranche to go virtual covers investment banking, operations, trading and supervision.
“Those candidates have been prepared and ready and now they can take the test without having to go to a testing center if they’re not comfortable,” said Brian Marks, president of Knopman Marks Financial Training.
Over the year since the coronavirus outbreak started, remote testing has become part of the new normal in the investment advice sector. In addition to Finra and NASAA, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. has moved exams online as has the National Futures Association.
The transition from in-person to remote proctoring has been fairly smooth, Marks said. “Over the past few months, we’ve heard very few complaints from candidates regarding technical difficulties with taking a test online,” he said.
The financial industry wants Finra to make online examinations permanent, according to comment letters the regulator received in response to a request for comment on whether it should change to its rules, operations or administrative processes to reflect lessons learned during the pandemic.
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