What Is FINRA BrokerCheck?
FINRA BrokerCheck is a free, online tool that helps individuals research brokers, investment firms, and financial advisers. Investors can obtain a variety of information, including descriptions, services offered, credentials, sanctions, and registrations, that may be helpful in the selection and vetting of an individual financial advice provider or brokerage firm.
BrokerCheck is offered and administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the largest non-governmental securities firm regulator in the United States. The data and information available in BrokerCheck come mainly from the Central Registration Depository (CRD), the securities industry online registration and licensing database, which provides broker and brokerage information, and the Securities and Exchange Commission's Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) database.
- FINRA BrokerCheck is a free, online tool that helps individuals research brokers, investment firms, and financial advisers.
- The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest non-governmental securities firm regulator in the U.S.
- FINRA regulates all securities firms doing business in the United States and oversees approximately 3,500 brokerage firms, 160,000 branch offices, and 625,000 registered securities representatives.
Understanding FINRA BrokerCheck
FINRA BrokerCheck contains information on approximately 3,500 brokerage firms, 160,000 branch offices, and 625,000 registered securities representatives and is an explanatory tool that shows how to properly use and manage the information provided. With FINRA BrokerCheck, an investor can find a firm's history, learn of any indiscretions and locate and identify popular choices among investors.
What Information Does FINRA BrokerCheck Provide?
For brokers currently registered with FINRA or at some time within the last 10 years, FINRA BrokerCheck provides:
- A report summary of a broker and their credentials.
- Broker qualifications, such as current registrations or licenses, including exams that they have passed.
- Registration and employment history including a list of securities firms with whom a broker is registered or was previously registered.
- Disclosures regarding criminal, regulatory, civil judicial, or customer complaint activity.
BrokerCheck provides information on investment firms including:
- A report summary of a firm and its history.
- A firm profile detailing its leadership and ownership.
- A firm's history of acquisitions, mergers, or name changes.
- An operations section that includes the firm's licenses and registrations, what kind of business it engages in, and operational disclosures.
- A disclosures section that includes information on arbitration awards, disciplinary events, and financial matters.
BrokerCheck does not contain any information that has not been disclosed to the CRD system, personal or confidential information, or judgments or liens. For more, see the FINRA BrokerCheck informational page and FAQs.
FINRA BrokerCheck Additional Resources
In addition to BrokerCheck, individuals considering hiring a broker or investment adviser should search the resources of their state securities regulators, which also oversee and may require the registration of brokers or advisers. FINRA also provides two additional supplementary databases: FINRA Arbitration Awards Online and FINRA Disciplinary Actions Online.
How Often Is BrokerCheck Updated?
Registered brokers and brokerage firms are required to update their professional and disciplinary information in the Central Registration Depository, CRD, within 30 days and information is available in BrokerCheck the next business day.
What If My Broker Has Complaints Listed on BrokerCheck?
Brokers are required to notify FINRA of customer complaints that allege misconduct related to the sale of financial products, even if the allegations are without merit. It is advisable to consider how many complaints the broker has received, over what period, and whether the claim alleges specific acts of misconduct by the broker, like unauthorized trading, or the unexpected failed investment product. A broker is allowed to provide comments and the investor should review those comments on the nature of the complaint. An investor can also ask the firm, broker, or the firm’s compliance department about the complaint.
How Can I Request a BrokerCheck Report?
FINRA BrokerCheck reports are free both online and by mail. FINRA will collect personal information only in those situations where a request is made that a BrokerCheck report is mailed.