Are you the next Gordon Gekko Wolf of Wall Street? Do you want to be a portfolio manager or a stock broker? If you are pursuing a career in securities trading or a related field that requires passage of the Series 7 Exam through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), you will most likely need to disclose certain misdemeanor and felony criminal convictions from your past. If you do have prior offenses on your record that have not yet been expunged or sealed, you may be disqualified from FINRA membership, regardless of passing the actual Series 7 Exam.
According to FINRA’s general eligibility requirements, Article III, Section 3 of the By-Laws provides that no member shall be continued in membership if it becomes subject to disqualification; and that no person shall be associated with a member, continue to be associated with a member, or transfer association to another member if such person is or becomes subject to disqualification.
FINRA’s authority to deny the registration and/or membership of disqualified persons or members is set forth in Section 15A(g)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (“Exchange Act”). – See more at: http://www.finra.org/industry/statutory-disqualification-process#sthash.Emici4X9.dpuf
Furthermore, in relation to criminal offenses, Section 3(a)(39) of the Exchange Act states that disqualification criteria to FINRA includes certain misdemeanor and all felony criminal convictions for a period of ten years from the date of conviction.
So what can you do if you have a prior offense on your criminal record and you would like to get your career going in the securities trading profession? Well let’s take a step back and examine the process you will likely go through with regard to finding an employer and obtaining your Series 7 License.
In most instances you will first need to find a firm or employer to hire and sponsor you to take the Series 7 Exam, which will most likely be your subsequent employer should you pass the Exam and related eligibility requirements. You will most likely be involved in some sort of work study program with your employer to apply for and prepare for the actual series of exams.
Once you have successfully taken and passed the Series 7, your employer will attempt to register you with FINRA at which point the background checks will occur that could disqualify you if you do have a criminal past that has not been expunged or sealed.
One of the hottest topics in this conversation is how you should answer questions pertaining to your criminal past when asked which box to check in the application. Even if you have had your previous offenses expunged and the arrest or conviction occurred years ago, there is a chance it may be discovered in FINRA’s background search on you.
With your entire career on the line, you do not want to make a critical mistake that could have been avoided by taking the proper course of action. Our team can help you execute everything from expunging and sealing your criminal past, to advising you how to navigate through the application process of the Series 7 background check as it relates to expunged or sealed convictions/arrests to afford you with the best possible chance of earning a license to continue your career.
If this situation pertains to you or you have questions related to this topic, please contact us today at 844-947-3732.