Understanding Financial Broker and Advisor Licenses

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Series #65 VS Series #7

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA

When I am approached by a prospective client, the question they always ask without fail is “Are you properly licensed?” This is actually the wrong question to ask. The right question should be, “Which license do you have?”

The Types of Licenses

Generally, there are two types of licenses for people who call themselves a “financial advisor.” People who passed the series #65 test and people who passed the series #7 test. The nature of these two licenses is as far apart as heaven and earth.

The Securities License

Series #7 is a securities license. People who have passed this test can legally be a stock-broker. They are actually prohibited by law to give financial advice, except incidental to the financial products they are selling.

A financial advisor with a series #7 license can receive third party payments like kickbacks, commissions etc in conjunction with the products they sell you. They are not required to put your interest first as they are not your fiduciary. Legally they abide by a much lenient “suitability standard.” That is, if they think the product is suitable for you, irrespective of the cost, they are legally off the hook.

All of Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and other Wall Street firms’ financial advisors are required to pass the series 7# license.

The Advisor License

Series #65 is an advisor license. People who have passed this test are legally called registered investment advisors or RIA representative. An RIA representative’s compensation is in the form of fees paid directly by the client. He or She is prohibited to receive any third party payment unless disclosed to and approved by the client first.


Wall Street



When searching for a financial advisor, it’s crucial to find out what licensure he or she has. Do not use a stock-broker as your financial advisor – unless you’re in the habit of letting you friendly neighborhood used car salesman hand pick your vehicle purchases.



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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com


Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners(TM)

One Response

  1. CERTs

    Certification programs are voluntary efforts taken within a specific industry to establish standards of performance.

    They are regulated by independent organizations, as contrasted with licensing, which is government-administered. And, they are NOT degrees.



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