Brokers’ disciplinary histories are now prominently displayed for the web savvy public; they’re no longer filed away at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), where only the most diligent investors will find them. FINRA has made your disciplinary history freely and easily available to the public by launching a web-accessible discipline database.
Whether the easy accessibility of the information is a positive or negative will depend on a broker’s history. Those with a clean record will undoubtedly benefit from the easy accessibility of the information and the ease with which clients and prospects can canvass their record and compare it to others. Those with a negative history, whether deserved or not, may now find themselves on the defensive with prospects more often.
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For previous coverage of FINRA complaint and disciplinary procedure in Advisor’s Journal, see FINRA Rule 45-30: Expansive New Complaint Report Requirements (CC 11-96) & Broker Bonus Arbitration Bottleneck Forces FINRA to Reconsider Arbitrator Qualification Standards (CC 11-08).