Know Who You Are Dealing With
A savvy investor takes the time to check out the background of the brokerage firm (and financial professional as applicable) BEFORE doing business with that company. If you already have entrusted your money to a brokerage firm WITHOUT doing a background check, it is important to take the time do so now.
Financial industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA)
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA), is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. All told, FINRA oversees nearly 5,100 brokerage firms, about 173,000 branch offices and more than 665,000 registered securities representatives.
FINRA makes information on these brokerage firms available online and, in most cases, detailed report information is returned to you via e-mail.
Visit the FINRA website: http://www.finra.org/InvestorInformation/index.htm
Call the toll-free hotline
State Securities Agencies - Central Registration Depository (CRD)
The Central Depository is a database of licensing and other regulatory information that encompasses nearly all broker dealers, investment advisory firms, stockbrokers and individual investment advisors in the United States.
Accessing the CRD through your State Securities Agency is a quick and easy way to check out the company (and individual is applicable) that you are considering doing business with.
For more information on the CRD, what information it can supply and how to contact your state securities agency please visit NASAA’s Investor Alert How to Check Out Your Broker.