In 2010, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) created the Series 79 Investment Banking (IB) qualification. In order to provide advice on mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and to facilitate the issuance of corporate securities through private placements or public offerings, this qualification is mandatory. The purpose of introducing the qualification was to distinguish professionals who offered investment banking services from those who were included in the General Securities Representative Exam (Series 7).
Although the aim to distinguish between various levels of expertise was and still is valid, the fact remains that the Series 79 exam, originally intended for entry-level investment bankers, has emerged as one of the most challenging tests administered by FINRA over the years. For these and other reasons, the Series 79 sponsorship program offers relief in the opportunity for qualified individuals to work as licensed investment banking professionals under the umbrella of a sponsoring investment firm.
Demystifying Series 79 Sponsorship: Requirements and Application Process
What are the advantages of the Series 79 sponsorship for many applicants?
- Applicants have the ability to work directly under a licensed broker-dealer investment team who carry extensive knowledge of mergers and acquisitions (M&A), while studying and preparing for the Series 79 FINRA exam.
- Applicants receive training in executing transactions, analyzing financial models, and studying competitive environments.
- Applicants construct an understanding of sourcing investments and selling those investments to clients.
- Applicants gain an understanding of investment objectives.
What are the advantages of the Series 79 sponsorship for the investment firms that sponsor the applicants?
- The firm may offer qualified individuals the opportunity to learn from and act in an adjunct capacity with senior investment advisors.
- The firm models successful merger and acquisition projects for the sponsored individual.
- The firm encourages management and execution of best practices in investments.
- The firm may offer training materials and other preparation tools to assist the qualified individuals in the successful completion of the Series 79 exam.
In addition to the above, one exponential advantage for individuals who pass the Series 79 exam and become registered, is the opportunity to become a securities affiliate with the sponsoring firm. This relationship is not available with all sponsoring firms; however, with those that do open the door to securities affiliates, the opportunities are immense.
The sponsor invitation allows the securities affiliate to work as a licensed banking professional with all the advantages of the sponsor in force. Some of the advantages during and after sponsorship may include:
- A group possessing extensive expertise in regulatory compliance and corporate securities requirements.
- A compliance platform with efficient turnarounds on projects and mandates.
- Access to an extensive library of legal templates and resources for research and technology.
- Digital research platforms offering statistical information of all kinds.
- Peer networking, industry relationships, and preferred access to support personnel.
All of these combined add up to a superior opportunity if there is an interest in taking advantage of this support while being sponsored and becoming a securities affiliate after series 79 sponsorship. In addition to such opportunities, registered professionals may choose to begin an independent investment banking service or act as an advisor regarding institutional finance, securities sales, along with the valuation and sales of businesses.
There are inherent advantages for both the sponsor and the individual being sponsored through the requirements of FINRA for the Series 79 qualification and sponsorship program. Whether the sponsoring investment firm or the qualified individual preparing for the exam, the opportunities given and received during sponsorship strengthen personal ethics, prepare for the application of investment methodology, and determine the processes for both parties, as each relationship is confirmed via the Series 79 sponsorship.