# Can I still become a quant?

Zap
<<Emphasis added.>> So you get into a fight with another dude, pull out your gun, blow his brains out, run away, live a clean life for the next X years, and you're not a criminal? Really?
That's the difference between a hardcore felony like manslaughter and a misdemeanor like a DWI or smoking weed. The manslaughter charge is a mistake that will follow you for the rest of your life. Even if you get away with it. The latter will not.

OP probably got arrested for shoplifting or something really dumb but not really a big deal. Shooting someone in the head is not in the same category.

CrysPhys
That's the difference between a hardcore felony like manslaughter and a misdemeanor like a DWI or smoking weed. The manslaughter charge is a mistake that will follow you for the rest of your life. Even if you get away with it. The latter will not.

OP probably got arrested for shoplifting or something really dumb but not really a big deal. Shooting someone in the head is not in the same category.
Ah, but that's not what you wrote above. You keep asserting very broad generalizations without limiting qualifiers. I gave you one real example (with a citation to the source government document) in which the OP would be questioned about his past act. It's not a job application to the FBI, CIA, or military intelligence; it's not a job application for a position requiring a security clearance; it's not a job application for a position involving handling cash; it's not a job application for a position working with young children. It's not even a job application at all. It's an application to take the USPTO Patent Bar Exam. I don't think in your wildest dreams that you would have imagined finding such a question there; but there it is. Is it a singular exception to your broad generalizations? I don't know. And neither do you.

As I said, I don't know whether the OP's past act will pop up in his quest to become a quant, and I won't hazard a guess. And as I said, if he wants a definitive answer ... he should go see a lawyer. Or, he can choose to save the bucks in the short term, and accept the guesses of you and others. That's his choice. I have nothing further to add.

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Zap
Ah, but that's not what you wrote above. You keep asserting very broad generalizations without limiting qualifiers. I gave you one real example (with a citation to the source government document) in which the OP would be questioned about his past act. It's not a job application to the FBI, CIA, or military intelligence; it's not a job application for a position requiring a security clearance; it's not a job application for a position involving handling cash; it's not a job application for a position working with young children. It's not even a job application at all. It's an application to take the USPTO Patent Bar Exam. I don't think in your wildest dreams that you would have imagined finding such a question there; but there it is. Is it a singular exception to your broad generalizations? I don't know. And neither do you.

As I said, I don't know whether the OP's past act will pop up in his quest to become a quant, and I won't hazard a guess. And as I said, if he wants a definitive answer ... he should go see a lawyer. Or, he can choose to save the bucks in the short term, and accept the guesses of you and others. That's his choice. I have nothing further to add.
I think it's reasonable to assume that OP's offense was not attempted murder or something of that class. I also think it's fair to assume that his single arrest will most likely not come up during any application process, excluding military or those requiring high level security clearances.

If I were OP, I would not worry about the arrest. If an application should ask him about any arrest he has ever had, he should include details regarding his arrest. However, in my experience, those questions are rarely encountered on job applications.Surely, you can find exceptions, but they don't come up very often. I filled out about 20 applications today, and not a single one asked me about my arrest record. In the last few months, I've probably filled out around 300 applications, none of which asked me about my arrest record.

That being said, a background check may be done before the final offer, and it may not be done. My previous job did not run a background check. Whether his arrest will come up during a background check, I don't know. It might and it might not. It also depends on the kind of background check it is. You can do a background check on yourself for a few dollars online. If I do myself, nothing comes up. That was ten years ago, but it was an actual criminal charge.

If I were OP, I would not worry about it and keep working towards my goal. Should the arrest come up during a background check and the employer feels they should disqualify OP for it, then so be it. There's not much you can do about it. I personally think that it won't hold OP back, but that's just my opinion.

These types of questions are more inline with what I typically encounter, and I'm basically a professional job seeker at this point:

Have you ever been convicted of a felony?
Within the last 10 years, have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor?
Me and OP will honestly answer no to both of them. The second one is even a bit more invasive than the majority of applications I see.

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Zap
As fate would have it, I'm the top candidate for a position that will be checking my arrest record over the coarse of my entire life. I'm expecting and offer letter followed by an investigation. I don't believe it's going to disqualify me, but it is a little concerning.

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Fervent Freyja
Gold Member
I think it's reasonable to assume that OP's offense was not attempted murder or something of that class. I also think it's fair to assume that his single arrest will most likely not come up during any application process, excluding military or those requiring high level security clearances.

If I were OP, I would not worry about the arrest. If an application should ask him about any arrest he has ever had, he should include details regarding his arrest.
It’s more reasonable to presume, as I did, that the OP may be worried so much because it concerned a monetary theft or fraud of that nature.

If that is the case, then it doesn’t matter if charges were dropped. That could come back on someone working in this area. People talk. You never know.

Zap
Zap
Good point. However, OP did not give enough information.

Fervent Freyja
Gold Member
Good point. However, OP did not give enough information.
This situation is either:

1. OP’s refusal to see a lawyer on it implies that they already know the answer. They couldn’t get past the application process. I can get presumptuous on the charges here.

or

2. OP cannot even research or inquire on a single general problem themselves. Wouldn’t a quant be dealing with hundreds of these sorts of tasks during schooling? Then, thereafter being hired as a quant dealing with problems where it takes more effort daily. Could they even do the job, if they can’t even research or inquire a professional on this matter?

There are plenty of forums for legal advice. You can get a response from a lawyer for free on the web. You can even pay them a few dollars (and maybe on this topic). And many lawyers give first consultations for free. This isn’t much effort for a person wanting to be in such a demanding field.

Zap
Here's something I ran into:

In most cases, a consumer reporting agency may not report negative information that is more than seven years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old.
So, there is such a thing as "outdated negative information."

Staff Emeritus
2019 Award
That's very relevant if the OP is applying for a credit card.

gmax137
CrysPhys
Here's something I ran into:

So, there is such a thing as "outdated negative information."
I don't think anyone here claimed otherwise. But the criteria for what is considered "negative information" and the criteria for what is considered "outdated" are highly dependent both on what you are applying for and on whom you are applying to. That's a concept you can't seem to grasp, for some bizarre reason; rather, you keep pushing, "Well, I've never come across this problem; so no one else should either."

ETA: Here's another question on the application to take the USPTO Patent Bar Exam:

"Have you ever been disciplined, reprimanded, suspended, expelled, or asked to resign or withdraw from any educational institution, or have you resigned or withdrawn from any such institution in time to avoid a request to resign or in time to avoid discipline, reprimand, suspension, or expulsion for conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, misrepresentation, or deceit?"

So, if you were caught cheating on an exam in third grade, you're supposed to answer, "Yes".

And yet another:

"Are you delinquent on any State or Federal debt? (Include delinquencies arising from Federal or State taxes, loans, overpayment of benefits, and other debts to the U.S. Government and defaults on Federally guaranteed or insured loans such as student and home mortgage loans.)"

So, if you are skipping out on your student loans from twenty years ago, you're supposed to answer, "Yes."

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Zap
I think the "outdated" negative information applied to arrests and convictions, as well, unless I misread something in the document. I'm not really pushing anything here, just offering my own experience and opinion.

CrysPhys
I think the "outdated" negative information applied to arrests and convictions, as well, unless I misread something in the document.
But that document [as far as we can glean from the fragment you quoted] specifically applies to a "consumer reporting agency" (however that's defined) as a source of background information for an applicant. There are, of course, a myriad of other sources, which are subject to different rules. And, in some scenarios, a key source is ... the applicant himself.

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CrysPhys
I'm not really pushing anything here, just offering my own experience and opinion.
So far, there have been roughly three responses to the OP's inquiry:

(1) "Consult with an attorney." This is the definitive answer. But the OP obviously wants to avoid paying legal fees, and is fishing for responses that will give him enough confidence to avoid consulting with an attorney.

(2) "You're probably OK, I guess." This is free advice. But doesn't inspire much confidence, does it? Really not persuasive enough to convince the OP to avoid consulting with an attorney. Not likely harmful.

(3) "No need for an attorney! Don't worry! Don't even give it a second thought! Believe me! Been there! Done that! No negative consequences whatsoever! No problemo!" This is free advice. Asserted with self-confident, self-assured, forceful conviction. [And when someone brings up counter-examples, and cautions, "Whoa! Hold on there! Each scenario is different, and there are many variables involved.", you double-down.] Prima facie persuasive to the unwary, especially to someone who's eager to be persuaded. Potentially harmful.

Again, it's the OP's choice. Since we haven't heard back from him, I'm not even sure he's still following. But I've chimed back in for the benefit of other readers, seeking similar advice, who find this thread.

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Zap
Just curious, but the attorney is going to tell OP whether he can or cannot become a quant?

mathwonk
Homework Helper
I was a college professor and did lots of hiring and applying for jobs myself. I cannot remember being asked or asking anyone about an arrest record, especially not one for which some one was not convicted. I have seen other questionable and intrusive questions, such as whether you were a member of the "Communist Party", when being hired at a public school in some US states such as Georgia. Even in those cases the hiring unit was so embarrassed by such questions that they would extend the offer first, and conceal the need to answer the intrusive question until the hire showed up to sign the contract. This question was somewhat pointless since in some countries the official "Communist" party has a different name, e.g. it was the Socialist Unity Party some years ago in East Germany, and membership in that organ thus posed no hindrance to being hired. In fact membership in the Party conveyed little information since it was essentially required.

The OP's main concern, in my opinion, is achieving a level of competence and expertise commensurate with being hirable. But he seems to have abandoned this thread.

I am showing my age, but does this thread remind anyone else of the title song on Arlo Guthrie's 1967 album "Alice's Restaurant"? ("Kid, .. have you ever been arrested?")

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CrysPhys
Just curious, but the attorney is going to tell OP whether he can or cannot become a quant?
You've posed the issue too simplistically. The role of the attorney would be to evaluate what negative impact (if any) the OP's previous arrest might have on his pursuit of a career as a quant. Towards that end:

(1) The attorney would first discuss with the OP the details of his arrest (e.g., reason for the arrest, where and when it happened, age of the OP when it happened ...) and the details of the outcome of the arrest (e.g., terms and conditions of the expungement).

These are details that should not be discussed on an open forum. I am a member of an intellectual property law forum; and we always caution posters not to divulge specific details of their individual cases. And attorneys on the forum always caution that their posts do not constitute legal advice: If posters want specific legal advice, they should consult with their own attorneys.

Posters in this forum have resorted to speculation about what the details of the OP's case might be. That is a totally worthless exercise.

(2) Once the attorney has established the specific facts concerning the OP's previous arrest and outcome, he would then evaluate the scope of career opportunities as a quant; in particular, whether any additional special credentials beyond educational degrees (e.g., certifications, licenses, registrations, or security clearances) are required. As one example in another field, you can pursue many engineering positions without any additional special credentials; but, for certain positions, you need to be a licensed professional engineer; and, for certain other positions, you need a security clearance. As another example, you can pursue a career in intellectual property law as a technical specialist without any additional special credentials; but, for other positions, you need to be a patent agent with a registration from the USPTO or a patent attorney with a registration from the USPTO and a license from a state bar.

If additional special credentials are required, the attorney will determine whether the issue of the prior arrest will arise during the process of obtaining those credentials [in previous posts, I have brought up the example of obtaining USPTO registration to practice as a patent agent or patent attorney]; and, if so, what the likely impact will be (based on previous instances and on discussions with appropriate officials).

If additional special credentials are not required, the attorney would likely research job applications and hold discussions with hiring managers to determine hiring norms and then determine whether the OP's prior arrest would need to be disclosed; and, if so, what the likely impact would be.

CrysPhys
I was a college professor and did lots of hiring and applying for jobs myself. I cannot remember being asked or asking anyone about an arrest record, especially not one for which some one was not convicted. .....
Now you sound like Zap. Were any of the jobs that you applied for, or did hiring for, specifically in the quant field? I still don't understand people who post, "Well, I've interviewed for X1, X2, ... XN (where X1, X2, ... XN are jobs not in the quant field), and I've never been asked about an arrest record. Ergo, you, OP, should not be concerned about being asked about your arrest record when you apply for a job as a quant." Huh?

Well, I've worked in three major careers: R&D physicist, telcom systems engineer, and patent agent. For R&D physicist and telcom systems engineer, I was never asked about arrests. For patent agent, as I have previously discussed, the application merely to take the USPTO Patent Bar Exam asks about arrests, and other personal issues, such as being disciplined for cheating on an exam in school. I'll ask you the same question I asked Zap: "Would you have ever imagined in your wildest dreams such questions being asked?" But as I cautioned, I will not extrapolate whether such questions would be asked of a candidate for quant (since that's not my field); at the same time, I would not dismiss the possibility based solely on my experiences as a physicist and engineer.

Now, if someone here posts, "I've worked as a quant in a variety of positions; here's what I've found ....", or "I've been a director at several major financial firms; I've hired twenty quants in a variety of positions; and here are my hiring criteria ....", that would be a different story.

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mathwonk
Homework Helper
I am not sure I understand you. Are you trying to help the OP, or just argue that I myself have nothing to offer him and should keep my mouth shut? In the latter case, you would not be the first.

Office_Shredder
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
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Now, if someone here posts, "I've worked as a quant in a variety of positions; here's what I've found ....", or "I've been a director at several major financial firms; I've hired twenty quants in a variety of positions; and here are my hiring criteria ....", that would be a different story.
I work as a quant, and I think he's probably fine. I also think it's easier and more accurate to get the answer to this question by just applying for some jobs instead of asking an attorney for help.

mathwonk
CrysPhys
I am not sure I understand you. Are you trying to help the OP, or just argue that I myself have nothing to offer him and should keep my mouth shut? In the latter case, you would not be the first.
I'm trying to help the OP (and, more broadly, others in a similar circumstance who come across this thread). This is an instance in which bad information (or, at the very least, unsubstantiated information) has the potential for harm. If the OP receives no answers (or, at most, "We don't know."), he's no better and no worse off; he needs to dig further. But if he receives enough answers along the lines of, "I've (applied for jobs as, worked as, hired people as) [college professor, software programmer, rocket scientist, hamburger flipper .... (but not including quant)], and the issue of arrests has never come up; therefore, it won't be a problem for you. Don't worry about it!", then the OP runs the risk of being reassured by all these answers and not pursuing the issue further.

Now suppose the OP had asked about a position as "patent agent" instead of "quant". In the absence of informed responses from berned_you or CrysPhys, the OP would have received exactly the same answers along the lines of, "I've (applied for jobs as, worked as, hired people as) [college professor, software programmer, rocket scientist, hamburger flipper .... (but not including patent agent)], and the issue of arrests has never come up; therefore, it won't be a problem for you. Don't worry about it!" So the OP feels reassured, doesn't worry about it, spends X time and $Y preparing for a career as a patent agent. Then, surprise, surprise, he applies to take the USPTO Patent Bar Exam; and, right there in the application are a series of questions concerning his moral character and reputation, including a question about prior arrests. And, as they are fond of saying in TV sales pitches, ... But wait! There's more! Suppose he is allowed to sit for the exam, and suppose he does, in fact, pass the exam. He's home free, right? No, he is not immediately granted registration to practice as a patent agent. His name and address are published in the Official Gazette of the USPTO, Registration to Practice Notices (https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-...k-practitioners/registration-practice-notices). There is a 45-day hold period during which anyone can submit a letter to the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) of the USPTO showing good cause why the applicant for registration lacks good moral character and reputation. Unlikely? Perhaps. Impossible? No. Here's the case of an applicant who was denied registration because his university reported him for research misconduct (essentially fudging data) while he was a grad student (and also later as a postdoc): see https://www.oedethicslaw.com/post/the-basics-of-moral-character-evaluations-by-oed ; scroll down to the section with the heading Information from Other Sources; contained within is a link to download the original OED decision for those who are interested. Last edited: Vanadium 50 CrysPhys Education Advisor I work as a quant, and I think he's probably fine. I also think it's easier and more accurate to get the answer to this question by just applying for some jobs instead of asking an attorney for help. Well, at least you are a quant. I previously answered: To: OP. A key piece of missing info is how far along are you in the route preparing to becoming a quant? At one extreme, if you've already committed X years and are near the end of the route, and are only now asking whether some incident in your past will bar you from employment as a quant, well, the question is rather moot, isn't it? You might as well just apply, and see if you qualify or not. On the other extreme, if you are just starting out on a program that will take X years to complete, and you have this nagging worry at the back of your mind that some incident in your past will cause that X years to have been in vain, then it's certainly worthwhile to consult an attorney in advance, isn't it? Do you really want to depend on random people posting, "You're probably OK, I guess." [even, if they assert with forceful conviction, "Yes, I'm certain that you're probably OK, I guess." ]? And suppose, hypothetically, someone does post, "Oh, I too was arrested for a crime, was not convicted, and got my record expunged. And, yipee, I was hired as a quant. [Or, alternatively, crap, I was barred from being hired as a quant.]"? Can you generalize that poster's scenario to your own, given all the variables that could come into play? So, yes, I agree: If the OP has already put in the time and spent the$ to prepare for a career as a quant, then he should simply apply for jobs and see what happens. Nothing to lose at this point.

But how would you advise someone who's at the start of the journey, someone who's planning to spend X time and $Y preparing for a career as a quant? [ETA: Your previous reply was a bit uncertain: My rough understanding is if you are an employee for a stock broker, you cannot have committed a felony in the last ten years, or certain kinds of misdemeanors. I don't think an arrest is disqualifying. You usually don't have to disclose being arrested during the interview process I think, don't they only ask about felonies (and some states don't even allow that). So I guess the answer is, probably? Not all quants even work for a broker dealer, at which point it's just like getting any other job. ] I'd also be interested in the following. Are there quants who get directly involved with the investment portfolios of specific clients (rather than, say, broader investment strategies)? Professions such as patent agent and patent attorney (or attorneys in general) have higher ethical standards than others because, at least in part, they act on behalf of clients; in particular, they are supposed to act in the best interests of their clients. Last edited: Office_Shredder Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Gold Member So, yes, I agree: If the OP has already put in the time and spent the$ to prepare for a career as a quant, then he should simply apply for jobs and see what happens. Nothing to lose at this point.

But how would you advise someone who's at the start of the journey, someone who's planning to spend X time and \$Y preparing for a career as a quant?
What's the definition of start of the journey? You can apply for internship as a freshman in college. There's also not much difference in what you should do at college if you want to become a quant vs do ai at Facebook or becoming a data analyst for Ford. If you want to abandon the track unless you get the quant job, I would mostly recommend you just not start it in the first place.

I'd also be interested in the following. Are there quants who get directly involved with the investment portfolios of specific clients (rather than, say, broader investment strategies)? Professions such as patent agent and patent attorney (or attorneys in general) have higher ethical standards than others because they act on behalf of clients; in particular, they are supposed to act in the best interests of their clients.
Sometimes. But finra's rule for being disqualified to work at a finra regulated institution (which I think not all quant jobs even entail) it's being convicted of a felony or certain fraud related misdemeanors in the last ten years

https://www.finra.org/rules-guidance/guidance/eligibility-requirements

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