Starting in August, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) will begin to implement changes to its free, online BrokerCheck service that will significantly expand the amount of publicly available information about current and former securities brokers. The changes were recently approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), FINRA said in a statement issued Tuesday, July 13.
According to the statement, the changes will increase the number of customer complaints reported publicly, extend the public disclosure period for the full record of a broker who leaves the industry from two years to 10 years and make certain information about former brokers available permanently-including criminal convictions and certain civil injunctive actions and arbitration awards against the broker.
The changes will also formalize a dispute process for current or former brokers to dispute the accuracy of, or update, factual information disclosed through BrokerCheck, FINRA said.
Beginning in late August, BrokerCheck will disclose all “historic” complaints against a broker dating back to 1999, when electronic filing of broker information began. Historic complaints are customer complaints, arbitrations or litigations more than two years old that have not been adjudicated or have been settled for an amount less than the reporting requirement (currently $15,000).
At present, these are reported on BrokerCheck when the broker has three or more currently disclosable regulatory actions, customer complaints, arbitrations, litigations or historic complaints. The expanded BrokerCheck will disclose all historic complaints dating back to 1999 for individual brokers who are currently registered or whose registrations were terminated within the preceding 10 years.
By year-end, BrokerCheck will implement three other changes: