As part of its ongoing mission to protect investors, FINRA created BrokerCheck, the only online, free database providing relevant information for investors 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While BrokerCheck is not perfect, FINRA remains committed to improving the system to help investors obtain free, unbiased information about investment professionals and firms. FINRA has committed considerable resources and made significant enhancements to BrokerCheck, particularly over the last five years, to create a more user-friendly interface that allows investors to quickly access and intuitively understand the professional background of investment professionals.
BrokerCheck is a widely recognized valuable tool, so much so, that more than 75% of state securities regulators link to BrokerCheck from their websites. The PIABA study argues that FINRA should make all information in CRD available on BrokerCheck, without regard for the materiality of the information to investors. By this same logic, PIABA members would presumably have no objection to providing bar exam scores to anyone requesting the information. It is important to note that we do have to make determinations on what information about registered representatives is appropriate to release, while at the same time balancing fairness rather than ignoring it.
The authors of PIABA’s study begin by noting, incorrectly, that FINRA makes “only a small portion” of the information contained in CRD available through BrokerCheck. In support of this flawed premise, they then cite four categories of information included in a CRD snapshot that are allegedly not provided on BrokerCheck:
FINRA works closely with our partners in the states on our joint core mission of protecting American investors. FINRA has consistently, and for many years, encouraged investors to both use BrokerCheck and consult their state securities regulator before doing business with an investment professional. To that end, users of BrokerCheck are repeatedly encouraged to check with state securities regulators and provided links to the websites of state securities regulators.
As part of its ongoing mission to protect investors, FINRA remains committed to continually improving the system BrokerCheck as a best-in-class tool.