Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Broker Check

Up to now there has been a big difference in the way that state securities regulators and FINRA publish violations of agents, principals, and broker-dealers. While the state securities regulators tend to keep the notices of revocation up indefinitely, FINRA (formerly NASD) has allowed the violations to disappear after two years. That way if an agent were barred by NASD (now FINRA) for cutting bad checks and misappropriating client funds, the public would only know about it for 2 years after he got himself kicked out of the business. The state securities Administrator would usually issue an order of revocation, and that would stay up on the website indefinitely. Apparently, FINRA doesn't think that's good enough, and they're probably right in thinking that more investors will go to the "broker check" site at than their state regulators' site, especially with all the FINRA TV and radio commercials out there encouraging them to do exactly that.
In any case, starting in a few days, any agents or principals who get in trouble with FINRA will have the violation sitting in broker check indefinitely. That way, if they try to switch to, say, the insurance business, customers will be able to look them up at broker check and see that maybe they aren't the sort of people investors should trust with a $1.5 million annuity purchase.
Go ahead and check out the actual press release at the link below. And, more important, stay out of trouble once you get your securities license.

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