Financial advisors are not drug tested by any federal or state regulatory body. This means you may receive your Series 6, Series 7, Series 63 and Series 65 licenses without undergoing drug screening. That said, many employers who hire financial advisors require them to pass a drug test before an official offer of employment is extended.
Drugs and the Financial World
The financial industry maintains a reputation of being plagued with recreational drug abuse. Studies analyzing drug use by occupation place finance at seventh to eighth on the list of careers with the most abuse. Pop culture has promulgated this phenomenon with big-budget movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street depicting the excesses, including rampant drug abuse, present in finance. (For related reading, see "Is Belfort's 'Wolf' the Real Wall Street?")
Types of Drug Tests
Many variations of drug testing exist. The type of test you are given depends on the firm that orders the testing. The most common type required by financial advisor firms is a five-panel drug test. This test is designed to detect the five most common recreational drugs: marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and PCP. Therefore, an advisor who is abusing anabolic steroids or a prescription painkiller such as Percocet would not fail such a test.
More extensive tests screen for abuses such as steroids and unauthorized prescription drug use. Moreover, tests that analyze hair or skin samples rather than urine or blood can detect drug use from much further back.
How Often Advisors Are Drug Tested
Some firms require drug testing at periodic intervals throughout the duration of your employment. Others order testing only upon hire and when reasonable suspicion of drug use exists. Still others require no drug testing at all. The easiest way to keep a drug test from jeopardizing your career as a financial advisor is obviously to avoid using drugs altogether.