The Series 50 exam, also known as the Municipal Advisor Representative Qualification Examination, is a new licensing exam administered by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) that all municipal advisor representatives must pass.

This exam was created to comply with the Dodd-Frank Act and aims to ensure municipal advisor representatives have the requisite knowledge to provide advice on municipal financial products.

Passing this challenging exam is essential for anyone looking to start a career as a municipal advisor representative. While the Series 50 exam may seem daunting, proper exam prep and understanding what the MSRB is testing can set you on the path to successfully pass the series. This blog post will explore the implications of the Series 50, its content, and tips for passing the exam.

Implications of the New Series 50 Exam

The creation of the Series 50 exam and the associated registration category of “Municipal Advisor Representative” stems directly from the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010. This sweeping legislation was passed in response to the 2008 financial crisis and established an entirely new regulatory framework for the financial sector.

A key component of Dodd-Frank was the regulation of municipal advisors. Pursuant to the Act, at least one individual at a municipal advisor firm must register as and pass the Series 50 exam to engage in municipal advisory activities. The exam ensures these representatives have adequate knowledge related to municipal securities to provide advice about municipal financial products and services.

Passing Series 50 allows municipal advisor representatives to operate legally and advise municipal entities on issuing bonds, investing bond proceeds, municipal derivatives, and other financial matters. Essentially, the exam exists to protect municipalities from receiving poor financial guidance. Firms must ensure they have qualified staff who understand municipal finance concepts and regulations.

While the Series 50 exam may seem daunting to some, it is certainly achievable with proper preparation. Let’s explore the content and format of the exam.

Content and Format of the Series 50 Exam

The Municipal Advisor Representative Qualification Examination consists of 100 scored multiple-choice questions, as well as 10 additional unscored questions. Test-takers have 3.5 hours to complete the exam.

The MSRB’s Series 50 exam content outline lays out the following five topics tested:

  • Municipal Securities (30-40%)
  • Municipal Advisory Activities (10-20%)
  • Regulatory Rules (30-40%)
  • Products, Practices and Prohibitions (10-20%)
  • Professional Conduct (10-20%)

Questions will test your knowledge of MSRB rules, regulations, and provisions related to these topics. This includes rules on professional qualification standards, fiduciary duty principles, and prohibited activities.

You can expect various question formats on Series 50, including traditional multiple-choice, Roman numeral questions, and “EXCEPT” questions where you must identify the option that does not belong.

It is critical to study the entire MSRB Series 50 Content Outline to understand the scope of content that could be tested.

Tips for Passing the Series 50 Exam

Passing the Series 50 exam requires diligent preparation and study. Here are some tips to set yourself up for success:

  • Allocate sufficient study time. Plan to spend at least 50-60 hours studying over a 4-6 week period. This allows time to read materials and practice answering exam questions thoroughly.

  • Utilize a Series 50 Study Guide. A comprehensive study guide from a reputable provider details all the information you need to know. Read thoroughly and take handwritten notes.

  • Take practice exams. Taking practice exams in an exam simulator mimics the real test environment. Aim to pass at least 6 full-length practice exams at 80% or higher.

  • Leverage Series 50 Audiobooks and online classes. Audiobooks and classes reinforce learning through audio explanations. Solomon Exam Prep and Knopman Marks offer excellent Series 50 audio materials.

  • Focus on MSRB rules. Understanding MSRB regulations, guidance, and rules of conduct is critical. Use as a key resource.

  • Research concepts you don’t understand. Read more about unclear concepts. Teaching concepts to others boosts understanding as well.

With diligent preparation using these strategies, you can feel confident heading into your Series 50 exam. Reach out to firms like My RIA Lawyer for guidance on registering as a municipal advisor representative after passing the Series 50. Together, we can help you begin your municipal advisory career.

My RIA Lawyer Can Help You Become a Municipal Advisor

The securities attorneys at My RIA Lawyer assist individuals and firms throughout the municipal advisor registration process. 

If you are looking to become a municipal advisor representative, their team can ensure you take the steps to pass the Series 50 exam and satisfy your continuing education requirements.

Contact My RIA Lawyer online to learn more about registering as a municipal advisor representative.

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