A group of securities and investment attorneys has asked Congress to provide more information to consumers about the brokers that handle their money. FINRA does not go as far as some U.S. state securities regulators do in providing disclosures to investors, the group said. The report raises questions about whether the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's BrokerCheck service provides all the information investors need to choose a broker.
Some examples of the kind of information that BrokerCheck omits are reasons why a broker was fired in the past, bankruptcy for more than ten years ago, criminal charges, and other issues that an investor should know about their broker. This is true even though FINRA and states get the information that is disseminated via BrokerCheck from a larger database that has most of this information.
"Immediate legislative change is needed to prevent consumers from being misled into believing that BrokerCheck reports are comprehensive when they are not," The Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA) wrote in the report.
The PIABA report also stated that another important issue with FINRA: a Wall Street Journal investigation found that the public records of some 1,600 brokers failed to include criminal charges and other problematic issues that should have been in their files.
FINRA oversees nearly 636,000 brokers and 4100 brokerages.
More than 75 percent of state securities regulators refer investors to BrokerCheck from their websites,