Check your broker’s background with free BrokerCheck tool

Before working with a broker or other financial professional, the first thing you should do is make sure that person is licensed to sell you an investment. You can do this by using BrokerCheck®, a free online tool from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Make sure the investment professional is licensed either with FINRA as a registered representative, or with the Securities and Exchange Commission or a state securities regulator as a registered investment adviser. You can look up a specific firm or investment professional, or you can search by ZIP code to find professionals or firms in your area. 

When you look up an individual, you can find:

  • a 10-year employment history;
  • approved licenses, registrations and qualification exams passed;
  • criminal felony charges and convictions, and certain misdemeanor charges and convictions; and
  • disciplinary actions and sanctions imposed by FINRA, the SEC or other regulators.

When you search for a firm, you can find:

  • its address, legal status and types of business it engages in;
  • a 10-year history of all felony charges and convictions, and certain misdemeanor charges and convictions;
  • disciplinary actions and proceedings initiated by regulators; and
  • bankruptcy proceedings and arbitration award information.

If an individual or firm doesn’t have a history of reported problems, BrokerCheck can help you detect potential red flags. For example, you can see if an individual broker has switched firms frequently over a short period of time, or if the firm has changed its name often.

In addition to using BrokerCheck, it’s a good idea to check with your state securities regulator, local consumer groups, or others who have business relationships with a particular financial professional before deciding to work with him or her.

Blog Topic: 
Investing

Leave a Comment

Comment Policy

This is a moderated blog; we review all comments before they are posted.  We expect participants to treat each other and the bloggers with respect.  We will not post comments that do not comply with our comment policy.  If a submitted comment includes a link to a commercial website, we will delete the link and post the comment. We won't edit comments except to remove links.

We won’t post:

  • spam or off-topic comments
  • comments that contain vulgar language, personal attacks, or offensive terms that target specific groups
  • sales pitches or promotions
  • comments that contain clearly misleading or false information
  • comments that contain personal information, like home addresses

Comments submitted to this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personal information. Also, do not use this blog to report fraud; instead, file a complaint.

If you have questions about the commenting policy, please contact us.

Read Our Privacy Act Statement

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a
user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act
authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online
comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s
(FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer
user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the
FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles
information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.