The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Board on Thursday approved sweeping changes involving brokers’ background checks.
The FINRA Board approved amendments to FINRA’s supervision rule that would expand the obligations of firms to check the background of applicants for registration, including first-time applications as well as transfers, to verify the accuracy and completeness of the information contained in an applicant’s Form U4.
Firms would also be required to adopt written procedures in this area that include searching public records.
The Form U4 is the Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer used by FINRA, other self-regulatory organizations (SROs) and states to elicit employment background and disciplinary information to register individuals.
FINRA also said that it plans to perform an initial search of public financial records for all registered representatives and will also conduct a search of publicly available criminal records for all registered individuals who have not been fingerprinted within the last five years.
Once these searches are completed, FINRA said that it will conduct “periodic reviews of public records to ascertain the accuracy and completeness of the information available to investors, regulators and firms.”