Props Hit The Books

Terry Flanagan

A collective groan can be heard over Chicago as yet another FINRA exam hits the desks of proprietary trading firms. Market makers, traders and others will now be forced to take the Series 56 or Proprietary Trading Exam and pass it by September 19, 2011 courtesy of the Securities and Exchange Commission

The exam was created by CBOE and a consortium of exchanges that includes ISE and the National Stock Exchange (NSX). It is similar to the Series 7 but focuses specifically on trading and trading-related activities.

Despite being driven in part by the Chicago Board Options Exchange, the company has provided a waiver form for traders who have passed the Series 7. The exemption will be decided on a case by case basis. Unlike the Series 7, the Series 56 will consist of 100 questions that must be answered over a 2.5 hour period.

In an industry where additional regulation is usually unwelcome, many prop trading firms and market making firms welcome an exam that is focused squarely on their community. Topics on the test will focus on everything from existing regulation to order types to option exercise limits.

“I think that having a national standard for trading isn’t such a bad thing. Given the waiver process, it’s not that bad,” noted one Chicago proprietary trader when asked about the exam.

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