BrokerCheck is a free tool from FINRA that can help you research the professional backgrounds of investment professionals, brokerage firms and investment adviser firms.
Where BrokerCheck Information Comes From
Both brokerage firms and individuals must be registered with FINRA to conduct securities transactions and business with the investing public. Individuals might also be required to meet state registration requirements. Additionally, firms must meet certain membership standards to attain registration. The information about brokerage firms and associated registered investment professionals that you find in BrokerCheck comes from the Central Registration Depository (CRD®), which is the securities industry online registration and licensing database. Information in CRD is obtained through forms that investment professionals, brokerage firms and regulators complete as part of the securities industry registration process.
The information about investment adviser firms and representatives comes from the Securities and Exchange Commission's Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD) database.
What You’ll Find in a BrokerCheck Report
Individuals Registered Within the Past 10 Years
A BrokerCheck report for an investment professional who is currently registered with FINRA or a national securities exchange, or who has been registered within the last 10 years, contains:
- A summary section that provides a brief overview of the investment professional and credentials.
- A registration history section that consists of:
- A list of registered securities firms where the individual is currently and/or was previously registered.
- The individual’s employment history for the last 10 years—both in and outside the securities industry—as reported by the individual on their last Form U4 [which securities firms use to register investment professionals with self-regulatory organizations (SROs) and states]. Employment history includes full- and part-time work, self-employment, military service, unemployment and full-time education.
- A qualifications section that includes a listing of the individual’s current registrations or licenses, if any, and industry exams they have passed. To be registered in the securities industry, individuals must pass the Securities Industry Essentials® (SIE®) exam and one or more specific qualification exams.
- A disclosure section that includes information about customer disputes, disciplinary events and certain criminal and financial matters on the individual’s record. Some of these items may involve pending actions or allegations that have not been resolved or proven.
- The individual’s most recently submitted comment(s), if any.
Individuals Whose Registrations Ended More than 10 Years Ago
BrokerCheck will continue to include information about all investment professionals for 10 years after their registration with FINRA or a national securities exchange terminated. After 10 years, an individual will only remain in the BrokerCheck system if they were:
- the subject of a final regulatory action;
- convicted of or pled guilty or no contest to certain crimes;
- subject to a civil injunction involving investment-related activity or found in a civil court to have been involved in a violation of investment-related statutes or regulations; or
- named as a respondent or defendant in an arbitration or civil litigation in which the investment professional was alleged to have committed a sales practice violation, and which resulted in an award or civil judgment against the investment professional.
A BrokerCheck report for an individual who meets any of these criteria will typically include the same information categories as outlined above for individuals registered within the last 10 years. BrokerCheck may have limited information for individuals whose last registration ended before August 1999.
A BrokerCheck report for a brokerage firm contains:
- A summary section that provides a brief overview of the firm and its background.
- A firm profile that describes where and when the firm was established and lists the people and organizations that own controlling shares or directly influence the firm's daily operations.
- A firm history that details any mergers, acquisitions or name changes affecting the firm.
- A firm operations section that lists the firm's active licenses and registrations, the types of businesses it conducts and other details pertaining to its operations.
- A disclosures section that contains information about any arbitration awards, disciplinary events and financial matters on the firm's record. Some of these items may involve pending actions or allegations that have not been resolved or proven.
To learn more about adviser information contained in BrokerCheck, visit the SEC's Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD).
Supplements to BrokerCheck
FINRA provides the following two databases as supplements to BrokerCheck:
- FINRA Arbitration Awards Online – This database provides the full text of arbitration awards issued by arbitrators at FINRA and at other forums.
- FINRA Disciplinary Actions Online – This database provides FINRA disciplinary actions that were issued during 2005 or later and are eligible for publication pursuant to FINRA Rule 8313 (Release of Disciplinary Complaints, Decisions and Other Information). The database also includes opinions issued by the SEC and federal appellate courts that relate to FINRA disciplinary actions that have been appealed.