DEFENDING YOUR PROFESSIONAL INTEGRITY
Stay current on recent changes in the regulatory environment
FINRA just released the new version of BrokerCheck to the public.
Firstly, you will notice that the previous format has been updated to a more fluid and modern look. In addition to merely cosmetic changes, FINRA has made some not-so-subtle changes to the format and placement of broker details that may catch the attention of brokers that have meritless customer complaints or U5 terminations.
Immediately after the requisite identifying data (broker name, firm and address) the next adjacent section is occupied by the number of disclosures the broker has. With a larger font size, accompanying “!” exclamation point icon, and highlighted in bright yellow versus the tame blue-green tones of the page, this section is designed to bring a customer’s eye directly and immediately to it. Tenure of the broker and number of firms they have worked for is then compactly placed next in line.
*You can view your current BrokerCheck profile here.
Additionally, instead of being a horizontal graph located two-thirds of the way down the page where a user would previously have to scroll, the details of the disclosures are now on a vertical timeline graph encompassing nearly the entirety of the page. Dotted with alarming red spots indicating the timing of customer complaints (larger red dots for clustering).
FINRA is not only pushing forward in their goal to have the public utilize BrokerCheck before deciding on any financial advisor but it is obvious that the highlighting of these disclosures (with or without merit) is their primary objective. It appears they are making good on their promise to draw greater attention to unfavorable indicators such as customer disputes, short tenure, and lack of licensure with various states.
With the resignation of FINRA enforcement chief, Bradley Bennett, and potential management changes at the SEC, 2017 will be an interesting year to see what lengths FINRA will continue to go to in order to shine a spotlight on financial advisors with disclosures.
Make your New Year’s Resolution to clean up meritless customer complaints and U5 entries from your BrokerCheck profile. With many BDA/AFG accounts filling up come January 1st, this is a great time of year to spend resources on protecting your professional image and integrity so that your business can continue to grow.
EA, Executive Vice President
3400 Industrial Lane, Unit 10A
Broomfield, CO 80020
This blog is my ongoing effort to inform and educate FINRA licensed professionals about the evolving regulatory ecosystem in which we operate.