I just received an interesting question from a blog visitor, but he placed it after a blog written in July, and the content is just too important to leave it there, where it might get lost in the shuffle. He wrote:
Interested in acquiring the Series 7 and 66 license to obtain employment. I have a non-financial 1st-degree felony conviction (1996 drug charge), will I be accepted?
There is no absolute black-and-white answer here, but it is extremely likely that you will be granted a license. You first have to get hired by a broker-dealer, though, to take the Series 7, and this could be the first roadblock. The firm might not want to hire any convicted felons, period. If you do get hired, you'll complete a Form U-4, and you will have to disclose the 1996 drug conviction and then explain it in detail on a DRP (disclosure reporting page). FINRA generally only uses the things that happened in the past 10 years against you, but you also have to get a salesperson or "securities agent" license from your state regulator. They might view a drug conviction as a red flag, because it represents an illegal financial scheme--they might see it in the same category as counterfeiting. Others might see it as a one-time event, a youthful indiscretion, etc.
If you can't get in as a securities agent, you could actually just take the Series 65 exam, then register your own LLC as an investment adviser through Form ADV. This form only asks about things that happened in the past 10 years, which means you don't even have to disclose the drug conviction from 1996.
With lawyers writing the rules, there is always an angle.