The Securities and Exchange Commission approved the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s proposed sweeping overhaul of its requirements regarding qualification examinations. Formerly, only persons specifically sponsored by a FINRA-regulated firm could take qualification examinations. FINRA has amended this requirement and now offers a “Securities Industry Essentials” examination to anyone seeking to enter the securities industry whether associated with a member firm or not. Persons who then become affiliated with a FINRA member firm are required to take a second, more specialized knowledge examination to perform specific functions. FINRA’s new competency exam system was effective October 1. (Click here for background in the article “FINRA Proposes Comprehensive Overhaul of Competency Testing Requirements” in the March 12, 2017 edition of Bridging the Week.)