Series 99 study guides are essential if you’re planning to work in the world of finance as an operations professional. After all, you’ll need to pass both the general SIE exam and the Series 99 license top-off test to earn your license. This 50-question exam basically covers the securities industry, broker-dealer operations, and professional ethics. Unfortunately, few candidates approach this entry-level exam with the professional knowledge they need to pass. As a result, you should use a review course to study. Therefore, I’ll cover the best FINRA Series 99 study guides to help prepare you for this exam. I’ll also explain where you can find a Series 99 practice exam.
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Many test prep companies that offer products for the SIE exam also offer courses for other Series exams. However, the best FINRA Series 99 study guides will have:
Plus, some review courses come with live or live online classes, which are great for candidates who learn best in a traditional classroom setting.
Here are your five best options for Series 99 review courses.
To start, the Securities Institute of America (SIA) produces one of the best Series 9/10 study guides and the best SIE exam review course. But it also produces the best FINRA Series 99 study guides as well.
All of SIA’s packages come with 180 days (six months) of access. What’s more, you’ll also receive the following with the basic Textbook & Exam Prep package ($124.95):
If you choose the Complete Self-Study Solution ($200), you can also receive the following:
Additionally, SIA allows you to purchase a Complete Video Package ($124.99) that includes only the videos, qbank, and Series 99 practice exams. Furthermore, you can also buy the following study materials a la carte.
And of course, you can save an additional 10% on any purchase with our exclusive Securities Institute discount code: PASS10.
SIA’s Series 99 course has the most video content of any of the review courses on our list. So if you’re a visual learner, this may be the right course for you. You can even sample a free video demo before you buy the course. Nevertheless, SIA’s materials are highly mobile-friendly for studying on the go, and the Series 99 practice exams are very customizable. Unlike some other providers, SIA is very clear about when the material was most recently updated (as of this writing, March 2022). Lastly, SIA is quite proud of its 90% pass rate over the past 25 years.
However, be aware that this course is designed for self-study. Although live chat and phone support are available, the depth of these services is unclear.
And despite the higher price tag, you won’t have access to a tutor or a live classroom experience, even with the complete package. (SIA does give you an option to connect with an outside tutor, though. If you fill out a tutoring form on SIA’s website, someone will contact you to arrange for tutoring services.)
The Securities Training Corporation (STC) is another company that offers review courses for SIE and Series exams. Most importantly, STC claims to have a 95% pass rate across all its exam review offerings.
With any STC review course, you’ll receive six months of access with free course updates. But the most basic package is the Series 99 Top-Off Standard ($130.63). It includes:
However, if you upgrade to the Series 99 Top-Off Premier package ($333.63), you’ll also add the following:
But I recommend the Series 99 Top-Off Premier Plus package ($386.65). With this option, you’ll also have the ability to join a live virtual or in-person class as well as access a recorded virtual class.
You can also purchase the on-demand lectures ($151.53) or flashcards ($67.93) separately. Finally, if you wish to bundle any of these packages with the corresponding courses for the SIE, STA will give you a discount on the total.
First, STC is the only provider on our list to offer actual live instruction for Series 99. In essence, this live instruction is a one-day, 8-hour class. If you need to have fundamental topics explained to you by a live person, STC’s Premier Plus package is what you need. Even the Premier package comes with a substantial amount of video content plus the most complete Series 99 practice exams of any course. Both Premier packages also come with a money-back guarantee.
Unfortunately, that money-back guarantee comes with the highest price tag of any of the courses on our list. The price may be worth it for the live instruction, though. But you’ll have to pay almost as much just to get access to the video lectures since the basic course doesn’t come with much. STC is also vague on some details, like whether you can use the qbank as a resource separate from the practice exams. And there’s no free trial to help you decide whether you like the materials, either.
Another company that offers insurance and securities licensing exam review courses, ExamFX, offers a pass guarantee with every one of its products. If you pass the Guarantee Exam with a score of at least 80% at least three days before the actual exam, ExamFX will refund your money if you fail the real Series 99 exam.
The company offers a single package. Furthermore, use the discount code firstname.lastname@example.org so you don’t pay the full price of $99.95. With 90 days of access, here’s what you’ll receive:
These materials are not available to purchase separately, though. However, you can save money on your purchase by using our ExamFX discount code email@example.com.
Not only is ExamFX one of the least expensive Series 99 study guides, but it also comes with a clearly-stated money-back guarantee. There’s only one package, but it covers all the basics. If you’re a self-motivated candidate with a limited budget, this course has everything you need.
Regardless, you’ll only have 90 days to use it, or you’ll need to pay extra to extend your access. There’s no video content, and there’s very limited information available about what content is covered. Presumably, the “interactive learning portal” contains a digital textbook, and the “online exam simulations” are drawn from a qbank, but that’s all the information we have to go on.
With 25 years in the industry, Knopman Marks Financial Training claims to have prepared more than 100,000 students for various professional securities exams. Overall, it claims 96% of its students pass their exams on the first try.
Like ExamFX, Knopman Marks offers a single Series 99 course ($200):
You can also order a replacement print textbook ($40). However, you can’t buy it a la carte.
Knopman Marks’ mobile app and downloadable supplements make this an ideal course for studying on the go. If you hope to use your daily commute as study time, it’s an excellent option. The company also gives you the chance to use its Mobile Training Center before you buy. Although this isn’t a full free trial, it’s closer than any other company on our list allows. Finally, there’s a decent amount of video content for visual learners.
Unfortunately, it’s unclear how large the qbank is or even how long you’ll have access to the study materials. There are fewer practice exams available for a relatively steep price. And unlike all the companies listed above, Knopman Marks provides no pass guarantee, whether money-back or access-until-you-pass. Make sure you give the Mobile Training Center a thorough test to ensure you like the course.
Of course, Kaplan is a very well-known name in exam prep. Specifically, Kaplan Financial Education provides review courses for many accounting, securities, and insurance professional exams.
Kaplan offers two suites of materials, the first of which is the Basic Self-Study Package ($79):
On the other hand, the Essentials Self-Study Package ($109) contains a few extra study tools:
Both plans come with five months of access, but you can buy five more for $49. Additionally, most of the study tools are available for individual purchase, including the License Exam Manual ($35) and the qbank ($35).
Firstly, for an inexpensive course, Kaplan offers quite a lot. It’s the only course with a formal performance tracker, and you’ll have access to an unspecified number of videos. You’ll be able to plan your study sessions carefully with the customizable calendar. Additionally, you can check out Kaplan’s demo videos to see whether the layout of the study platform and review text work for you.
However, there are also a lot of unknowns about this course, including the size of the qbank and the length of the videos. The website says the video library is best used for “clarification,” not as a primary study source. Moreover, Kaplan seems to have provided few materials for last-minute review, so this is a course for those prepared to plan carefully rather than cram at the last minute. There’s also no greenlight exam or pass guarantee.
The Series 99 exam, also called the Operations Professional exam, is created and administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. It’s designed to be taken alongside the general securities industry essentials (SIE) exam to show that a candidate has the knowledge base required to work as an operations professional.
The exam consists of 50 scored multiple-choice questions, 35 of which pertain to the securities industry and broker-dealer operations. The remaining 15 quiz you on your knowledge of professional conduct and ethical considerations. STC puts out a set of ten Series 99 sample questions to show you what to expect.
Overall, you have 90 minutes to complete the test, and you must get at least 68% of the questions right to pass. However, there are often five unscored pretest questions included for a total of 55 questions. You won’t know which questions are the pretest items, so make sure to answer all questions to the best of your ability.
FINRA puts out an official content outline to help you focus your studies, so Series 99 study guides typically use this syllabus as a basis for their courses. Still, here’s an outline of the content of the Series 99 exam.
Function 1: Knowledge Associated with the Securities Industry and Broker-Dealer Operations
Function 2: Professional conduct and ethical considerations
Although you don’t need any kind of sponsorship to take the SIE exam, you will need to be associated with and sponsored by a firm to sign up and take the Series 99. Your firm will typically apply for the exam on your behalf and pay the $60 fee. Next, after receiving your candidate information from your sponsor, FINRA will email you instructions on how to enroll for your exam. After that, you’ll receive a 120-day enrollment window, at which point you’ll schedule your exam at a Prometric testing center. And remember: even though the SIE exam can be taken online or at Prometric, you don’t have the online option with the Series 99 exam. That is, you must take the Series 99 exam at a Prometric testing center.
A Series 99 license is the operations professional certification you receive after taking and passing the SIE exam and the Series 99 exam. With this certification, you’ll be a registered operations professional, able to help your firm comply with regulations regarding the handling of customer transactions, funds, and accounts.
Yes, you can, although most people take the SIE exam first since you can take it without needing a sponsor. The SIE exam covers various finance industry fundamentals, and the Series 99 is far more specialized to the job of an operations professional. Although the exams are co-requisites, you don’t have to take them at the same time. However, if you take the SIE exam first, you must also take and pass the Series 99 exam within four years. Therefore, to plan your entire schedule, you’ll need the SIE exam dates.
Although everyone is different, most candidates spend between four and eight weeks studying for the Series 99 exam.
In summary, the Securities Institute of America puts out our top choice among the best Series 99 study guides. For a reasonable price, you can receive the most video content available, plus a large qbank, unlimited Series 99 practice exams, and a money-back guarantee. If you’re also taking the SIE exam, you can bundle both courses together for a very reasonable price. However, if your primary concerns are cost or live instruction, a different exam provider may offer a better resource for you. The best study guide for you will match your learning style and budget.
I am the author of How to Pass The CPA Exam (published by Wiley), and I also passed all 4 sections of the CPA Exam on my first try. Additionally, I have led webinars, such as for the Institute of Management Accountants, authored featured articles on websites like Going Concern and AccountingWeb, and I'm also the CFO for the charity New Sight. Finally, I have created other accounting certification websites to help mentor non-CPA candidates. I have already mentored thousands of CPA, CMA, CIA, EA, and CFA candidates, and I can help you too!