FINRA Updates BrokerCheck With More Advisor Information

Several of the changes implemented by FINRA address recommendations made in a January 2011 study by the SEC

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  • Risk-Based Oversight of Investment Advisors Even if the SEC had a larger budget and more resources, it is doubtful that the Commission would have the resources to regularly examine all RIAs. Therefore, the SEC is likely to continue relying on risk-based oversight to fulfill its mission of protecting investors.
  • Nothing but the Best Execution Along with the many other fiduciary obligations owed by RIAs, firms owe a duty to seek best execution of clients’ transactions.  If they fail to do, RIAs violate Section 206 of the Investment Advisers Act.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced Wednesday that it has updated BrokerCheck to help users more easily access broker-dealer and investment advisor registration information.

Several of the changes implemented by FINRA address recommendations made in a January 2011 study by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

FINRA says the latest improvements now give investors:

  • centralized access to licensing and registration information on current and former brokers and brokerage firms, and investment advisor representatives and investment advisor firms;
  • the ability to search for and locate a financial services professional based on main office and branch locations, and the ability to conduct ZIP code radius searches (in increments of 5, 15 or 25 miles); and
  • access to expanded educational content available on BrokerCheck, including new help icons that clarify commonly referenced terms throughout the system and within BrokerCheck reports.

In February, FINRA issued Regulatory Notice 12-10, soliciting comments on ways to facilitate and increase investor use of BrokerCheck. The comment period ended on April 27 and FINRA says it is reviewing the 71 comments received.

FINRA announced in early March its plans to revamp BrokerCheck to not only make it easier for investors to track down information about their broker—including “unifying” the search capabilities for BrokerCheck and the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure database—but to also expand the types of information investors can get about their broker.

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