In May of this year the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced the launch of its disciplinary actions database, a web-based searchable system that makes its disciplinary actions easily accessible to the general public.
FINRA is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. FINRA’s mission is to protect America’s investors by making sure the securities industry operates fairly and honestly. FINRA oversees nearly 4,535 brokerage firms, about 163,620 branch offices and approximately 631,640 registered securities representatives. Disciplinary actions are brought when FINRA believes that a broker has behaved improperly towards investors or violated FINRA’s internal rules and regulations.
Why is this database significant? Prior to this time if you discovered an action on your broker’s record or “CRD” by searching BrokerCheck you had to then contact FINRA to obtain copies of any disciplinary actions referenced on that record. The new database makes these actions available to everyone at any time.
As of June 15th, BrokerCheck reports were linked to the disciplinary actions and to arbitration awards in the Arbitration Awards Online database, so if there is something referenced in the report you can click on the link and it will take you there automatically. All of this information can be obtained free of charge.