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Apr 26, 2011 12:18 pm

Everyone has mentioned a few brief notions in regards to the FIAT exam.  Most of the posts were from a few years back so I wanted to check in and get the point of view from someone who has recently taken the test (2010 or 2011).

Not that I am worried, but just want to prepare and brush up basic math skills.  Have the test n Friday at Merrill Lynch and I am looking to make a career change into a FA position.

Any thoughts/insights would be greatly appreciated!

May 5, 2011 11:43 am

Just came across your post.  Did you end up taking the exam?  I have one scheduled for next week.  Not really worried about it either but any insights to the content of the test would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks. 

May 6, 2011 8:32 am

I took the exam a couple weeks back and it is extremely easy. 30 questions: 10 basic math, 10 basic finance, 10 economics. No calculator. It took me less than 30 minutes. I scored 29/30.

May 6, 2011 9:24 am

Nice.  Thanks for the info.  Did you receive or accept an offer yet?

May 6, 2011 11:16 am

Nope, didn't get hired by ML. My advice if you really want to job is to point out you have a HNW network.

I was told straight out that I didn't have the right kind of network to be successful at ML. Not being negative, or putting the place down. Just telling it like it is.

May 12, 2011 4:22 pm

I'm scheduled to take the exam on monday, can you explain in some more detail what would be wise to refresh on as far as financial and mathematic knowledge goes?

Thank you,


May 12, 2011 5:27 pm

Just took the test today and passed.  Not sure what I scored but doesn't really matter at this point.  On to the personality test.  It wasn't that it was hard but I kept second guessing myself as it has been a while since I have done math without a calculator.  I can tell you to brush up on adding and multiplying fractions and mixed fractions.  Also you need to know how to add, multiply, and divide decimals.  There were also questions on the effects of inflation and some government policy questions.  There was actually a FIFO/LIFO question on the test which suprised me.  Brought me back to my college accounting classes.  All in all not difficult.  I didn't know the exact answer to some of the questions but took educated guesses and it worked out alright.  Took me about 40 minutes to take.  It was a little un-nerving going into a test not knowing the material it covered but you only need to score 17 out of 30 to pass so it's wasn't that bad.  Hope this helps. 

May 12, 2011 9:30 pm

Thank you so much, I really appreciate you taking the time to post your experience.


May 28, 2011 2:46 am


I am taking the FIAT test this upcoming week and am curious about the economic and finance portions of the test. I haven't taken any economics classes in five years. Does anyone know what government policies are on the test? What kind of questions were on the finance portion? Thanks.

May 31, 2011 5:19 pm

I just took the test this afternoon. Definitely brush up on decimals and fractions. I think that I did pretty well, but I can't be sure until I get the phone call. Multiplying and dividing fractions, percentages, and decimal/fraction conversions). 

May 31, 2011 8:47 pm

I just took the test this afternoon as well and was told I passed before I left. Honestly, I made several educated guesses on the econ section and wasn't too sure if I even passed. I did though, I'm sure you did just fine is you think you did well. Good luck man! Let's keep in touch

May 31, 2011 9:17 pm

Sounds good. I had an interview with Waddell & Reed this afternoon and they showed me my scores on their Insurance, 7, and 66 compentency tests and the lowest score was 92%. I don't imagine that I aced W&R and bombed ML's. 

Jun 1, 2011 1:30 am

What did you think of W&R? I took their aptitude tests, which I thought were a lot easier, then went in for an interview. The guy I interviewed with didn't seem very interested in getting to know me and mostly talked about what I would do, and why he is good at what he does. It was really cheesy and I never went back. ML is much more structured... at least the office I went to.

Jun 1, 2011 4:11 am

I had a very good experience at W&R. There is definitely less structure than ML, and there is a distinct difference in professionalism as evident by the decor, the receptionist, and of course the office attire. The training that W&R presented seemed like preschool compared to what ML offers, and even though I knew that I would have to pay for my own licenses and testing, I didn't realize that they outsourced it.

My natural market does not consist of very many HNW individuals, so I was pleasantly surprised to hear that W&R did not have a $100k or $250k requirement like ML, but there is also ZERO salary. I've been straight commission since 2004 so that doesn't really bother me, but I thought that most of these companies paid a salary while they trained you. I guess that's the difference, W&R doesn't really train you. 

I was also asked a couple of strange questions about how much time I would be willing to dedicate to the job, and what other jobs I planned to have, or businesses I planned to run while working there. I guess that this is a part-time gig for some? Not at all what I expected. He mentioned that one of the non-performing 1st year guys does not work Mondays or Fridays. I was pretty shocked when he told me that. Is this a job or a hobby?

I haven't ruled them out completely, but I don't think that is where I want to be. I knew that I want to see what other companies have to offer so I returned a call to Mutual of Omaha, and sent feelers to Mass Mutual and Edward Jones this evening. I interviewed at NWM a couple of years ago so I am aware of the training and benefits packages that are out there.  This is where I want to be, and I just need to find the right fit. 

Keep me posted on your progress as well. 

Jun 7, 2011 8:13 pm

I was also surprised that W&R doesn't pay for licensing. I wasn't told very much about what the other advisors in the office each day, but it sounds like it management doesn't care unless you don't make the numbers.

I've completely ruled our W&R and am still interviewing at ML. I took the personality exam last week and had a 1:1 interview with the resident director yesterday. Apparently I bombed the test in pretty much all areas but he said he sees something much different than what the results told him. I kept getting important phone calls while I was taking the test and I think that may be a big reason why.

I had two 1:1 interviews today with the sales manager and another FA. They both told me that they will suggest I'm hired.

The resident director said he was impressed I presented them with my business plan when I took the FIAT test and was then instructed to listen to audio clips his assistant sent to me. He told me to make revisions to my business plan if I feel it is necessary or I can hand in the original again. I'm not too if it is a test to see if I'll do what he asks or if I'll stand by what I've done so far, but I decided I'll make revisions.

How's the process going so far for you?

Jun 7, 2011 10:52 pm

I had my rotational interviews last week. I am meeting with the branch manager this week. The training class starts on July 5th. I don't know what else I need to do after that but I am hoping to be a part of that July 5th class. I'll keep you posted.

Jun 8, 2011 9:37 pm

Something I have not seen mentioned other places is that the FIAT is NOT a timed test.  This gives candidates the opportunity to double check their work.

Jun 8, 2011 10:45 pm

I had my rotational interviews with Merrill last week on Wednesday. I called Friday and they informed me that their next training class started July 5th. The person that I spoke with also told me that I should/would interview with the branch manager this week. 

I didn't hear anything so I called back today. It seems that the branch manager has been in New York. She's back but her schedule is full for the next 2 weeks. They offered me an interview July 7th to meet the branch manager, and to discuss my business plan. That of course means that I miss the July 5th start date and instead would have to wait until August to start.

I suppose that with her next 2 weeks booked, and then the last week of the month spent gearing up for the July 5th group, the July 7th interview date makes sense. However, what would you take away from this? Did I do something wrong that my interview got pushed back almost a full month? What do you think?

Jun 8, 2011 10:47 pm

Hey Duke, did they tell you anything about the benefits, such as when they start. Is it 30, 60, or 90 days after training begins?

Jun 8, 2011 11:58 pm

That's a good question... I didn't ask. I would assume 90 days at least, but I really don't know.

I doubt you did anything wrong necessarily. I bet the branch manager has a lot of appicants to deal with, has to go to NY and still keep the branch running smoothly. It is strange though that it was pushed back like it was and that you will miss the July 5th class. If I were you, I'd find branch's page on the ML site and e-mail the branch manager directly and ask if there is anything you can work out together to increase your chances of making it into the class. I think it'll show that you really care.

On my end, things are going extremely fast... I had two more interviews yesterday back to back with one of the top performing FAs and the sales manager. One said he will tell the director I should be hired and the other said he likes what he sees and to expect to hear back very soon. And that I did.

I stayed up all night last night writing my new business plan and finished around 6:30a. I was heading over to Kinkos around 11:00a to have it professionally printed and received an e-mail on my way from the woman who manages the PMDP asking me to come in asap because they are on a time crunch and need to finalize their hiring list by Friday.I took four copies of my updated business plan to the office this afternoon and gave them to each person I interviewed with and sent them all e-mails this evening to follow up.

So, I interviewed with her and she said I will hear by Friday if I will receieve an offer. She knows I have an interview with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney on Friday morning but I told her I will stop interviewing there if the offer is right.

I would just be very persistent with the branch manager and show them this is what you really want. That's what I have done and it has seemed to work so far.