The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has announced changes to its free, online BrokerCheck service. BrokerCheck is designed to offer investors access to information about brokers and former brokers.
FINRA is a non-governmental regulator of securities firms conducting business in the United States. The agency’s main purpose is to protect investors from stockbroker fraud and investment scams.
FINRA has announced that the changes to BrokerCheck will increase the number of publicly reported customer complaints against a broker dating back to 1999, when electronic filing of broker information began. The changes will also extend the public disclosure period for the entire record of any broker who leaves the industry for up to 10 years.
Any information concerning criminal convictions, certain civil injunctive actions and any arbitration awards against brokers will be made permanent, even if the broker leaves the financial industry.
However, in an effort to protect brokers, BrokerCheck will be improved by containing a formalized dispute process in which current and former brokers can dispute the accuracy of, or update, factual information reported against them.
“This additional information will benefit investors who are considering whether to conduct, or continue to conduct, business with a particular securities firm or broker,” said FINRA Chairman and CEO Rick Ketchum.