College Student Home for the Holidays?

New Year’s Eve usually marks the beginning of when parents start counting down the days until their college students return to school. While it’s wonderful to have them home for the holidays, a return to normalcy is something we start to crave after a few weeks of late evenings, extra laundry and things gone missing like: remotes, phone chargers, razors, hairbrushes, car keys, food, beer, clothes and basically anything else that isn’t nailed down.

If you are fortunate enough to have a college student with some free time over the next few weeks, and they’re interested in working in the financial services industry, have them read this short article on how to stand out, and how to be informed, when applying for an internship.

FINRA’s SIE Exam

FINRA recently introduced a new exam for prospective securities industry professionals called the Securities Industry Essentials or SIE Exam. This introductory-level exam assesses a candidate’s knowledge of basic securities industry information including concepts fundamental to working in the industry such as, types of products and their risks; the structure of the securities industry markets, regulatory agencies and their functions; and, prohibited practices.

The SIE Exam is open to anyone 18 or older, including college students who are interested in demonstrating basic securities knowledge to potential employers that are offering internshhips within the financial services industry. For more information on the SIE Exam, visit FINRA’s website here.

SEC’s Investor.Gov & FINRA’s Broker Check® 

Obtaining an internship in financial services is a highly competitive process, and students seeking these coveted positions generally lack the knowledge to determine the difference between an internship that will present a good opportunity from one that does not. In almost any industry when strong demand is coupled with uninformed buyers, the potential for those buyers to be exploited rises.

Our concern is acute to those internships whereby the student is paying the university who, in return, grants the student credits toward their degree upon completing their internship. In these situations, a student who may discover that the internship is not what they signed up for is less likely to quit due to the fact that failure to complete the internship results in a loss of credits and money.

With that in mind, STA will be circulating a letter to university career and planning placement officers that mentions our concerns regarding the potential for students seeking internships to be taken advantage of by those less scrupulous. In our letter, we recommend that career placement officers employ the SEC’s Investor.Gov and FINRA’s Broker Check® online portals to screen firms and individuals who offer student internships in the financial services industry. Our concern is acute to those internships whereby the student is paying the university who, in return, grants the student credits toward their degree upon completing their internship. In these situations, a student who may discover that the internship is not what they signed up for is less likely to quit due to the fact that failure to complete the internship results in a loss of credits and money.