If you have a securities account with a brokerage firm, or are considering opening a brokerage account, there is a valuable resource available that can be very useful in providing important information about FINRA member firms and brokers currently or previously registered with FINRA.
Broker Check (http://brokercheck.finra.org/) is a FINRA service that provides investors and the general public access to information about currently and formerly registered brokers. A Broker Check report is available for both individuals and firms. A report for a broker contains a qualifications section, which provides details on that person’s current registrations and licenses, including any industry examinations that have been passed. In addition, a section on registration and employment history, covering the last 10 years, is also included. This information is derived from the Form U-4 application most recently filed by the individual.
Broker Check also provides information about customer disputes and disciplinary events on the broker’s record. In some cases, these are pending actions or allegations that have yet to be substantiated or resolved. Accordingly, the presence of these items on a broker’s record do not necessarily indicate wrongdoing. A broker may have posted his or her own comments in their Broker Check report.
A Broker Check report for a brokerage firm contains a firm profile, firm history, and a firm operations section, as well as a disclosure section that contains information about any disciplinary events or arbitration awards. Again, some of these items may still be pending and the public should not assume any wrongdoing based on the appearance of these items on a Broker Check report.
Active firms and brokers are required to update their professional and disciplinary information in the Central Registration Depository (CRD) within 30 days. FINRA member firms are required to provide annual disclosure to their customers regarding Broker Check, including the Broker Check hotline number and the FINRA web site address.
There is certain information that is not disclosed through Broker Check. Examples of this would include certain personal or confidential information, such as residential addresses and social security numbers. FINRA can also choose to exclude information that raises significant identity theft or privacy concerns.