Finding out if your investment professional is legitimate has gotten a whole lot easier since 2009, when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission debuted a free search tool which provides investors with a quick and easy way to check out the background of their investment advisor or brokerage firm.
Since then, over 9 million people have used the tool, Investor.gov, to invest wisely and avoid fraud.1 In addition to checking on whether your investment professional is registered, there are also a host of other helpful investment tools and advice on the Investor.gov website.
The home page of www.Investor.gov prominently displays the link to check out your investment professional. By selecting the “Search the Database” box you are automatically sent to a screen which asks for your investment professional’s name and firm name.
If you are looking for a registered investment advisor in your area, you can fill in your zip code and a search radius of 5, 15 or 25 miles, and the system will provide you with a list of registered investment professionals in your area.
By clicking on one of the investment professionals listed, you are redirected to the BrokerCheck® by FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) website. BrokerCheck® provides information on whether a person or firm is registered, as required by law, to sell securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds and more), offer investment advice or both.
BrokerCheck® provides information on an investment advisor’s disclosures, examinations, licensure, registrations, current employment and years of experience. The disclosures section is an important area to examine as it displays any customer complaints or arbitration, regulatory action, employment termination, bankruptcy filing and any civil or criminal proceeding in which the investment professional may have been involved.2
Additional information on brokers and firms can be obtained from your state’s securities regulator. The FINRA website has a link to all of the securities regulators in the United States by state.3
In Michigan, the securities regulator is the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). Under the Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing / Complaints tab is a link to Verify a License, Registration or Permit.4
The Investor.gov website also contains a wealth of educational information for individual investors and has links to information under headings such as an Introduction to Investing, Research Before You Invest, Protect Your Investments and Additional Resources.
There is also a section where the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Director of Investor Education and Advocacy, Lori Schrock, provides tips on how to invest wisely. On the website you can also sign up for periodic Investor Updates.
If you have suffered investment losses due to a financial scam or have been a victim of broker negligence contact our Securities Law Firm at 313-334-7767 today. The Securities Attorneys at Peter C. Rageas are experienced in all type of securities litigation, investment fraud, stock broker negligence and more!
1 SEC Unveils Public Service Announcement to Promote Background Checks on Investor.gov, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Press Release, April 16, 2018
2 BrokerCheck by FINRA
3 State Securities Regulators, FINRA
4 State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Corporations, Securities and Commercial Licensing / Complaints