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How can I find out my adviser’s background?

advisers background

advisers background

New York - If you are about to begin a relationship with a Financial Adviser, including one of the Financial Advisers in our network, you should find out about their background to see if it matches your needs. Besides speaking with them, you may want to know about the following resources available to you:

  • The SEC - Financial Advisers and money managers are subject to oversight by the Securities Exchange Commission ("SEC") and the fifty states. The SEC maintains a World Wide Web Site and provides free access to disciplinary actions that they have taken. It also provides some state actions; however, the information only goes back a few years. Information before the birth of the Internet is not yet available on line. Click here to go to the SEC Web Site.
  • NASD - Stock brokers (not money managers or financial advisers) are required to registered with The National Association of Securities Dealers ("NASD"). NASD offers a listing of resolved disciplinary actions against registered brokers through a database known as the Central Registration Depository ("CRD"). The CRD also discloses the name and addresses of the broker, their social security number, their employment history, the states they are registered in and even their test registration test scores. The best information they provide is whether or not a broker was fired or resigned after misconduct. One key warning, if your broker is illegally not registered, no information will be available. In addition, the NASD will not disclose ongoing investigations of a broker or their firm by a regulatory agency, or the resignation or termination of a broker who left under "allegations." You can reach the NASD by calling 1-800-289-9999. Click here to go to the NASD Web Site.
  • NASSA - All states belong to the North American State Securities Administrators ("NASSA") a trade watchdog organization. They normally will disclose an entire disciplinary file including arbitration awards, court judgments, pending cases, names of current cases, pending claims, a description of the defense and the sum claimed as damages. In addition, it may contain items such as complaints that have not been pursued yet or complaints in arbitration or complaints that have been settled out of regulatory view.
  • Other - If you are prepared to spend some money, a lawyer or investigator will search and review the CRD for you. In addition, you can have them obtain and review the Securities Arbitration Commentator, a trade newsletter that summarizes arbitration forums including the NASD, the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and other regulatory offices. The investigator may also search Lexis/Nexis, a legal database containing hundreds of public newspapers, magazines and court filings.
  • If your trying to investigate a broker who is selling you commodities or futures, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission ("CFTC") provides a toll free telephone number (1-800-676-4NFA) whereby you can access their Disciplinary Information Access Line. This number provides information on whether or not your broker is a registered commodity broker, the types of license held, and it also provides disciplinary actions by the CFTC or by the various commodities exchanges. Like the NASD, no information is provided for complaints settled outside the CFTC. You can also file a complaint against a futures dealer through the CFTC. Click here to reach the CFTC Web Site.
  • A Financial Advisers record should be reviewed in entirety and not by one or two complaints. One or two complaints for an established and experienced Financial Advisers is not cause for concern; however, a long list or brief experience plus complaints is generally sign for trouble.

Source: For more information or to get connected to a FEE-ONLY financial adviser, money manager, CPA or Attorney, visit America's Favorite Independent Advisory Network at or 1800ADVISER.COM.


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Founded in 1998, The Independent Adviser Corporation has assisted thousands of individuals, families, and businesses. We are 100% independent and objective and offer free private consultations to our clients. Our company publishes free investment research and educational materials, and when specific financial or legal advice is needed, we connect clients with a network of FEE-ONLY professionals. For more information, become a member or to schedule a free consultation, please visit our website at or 1800ADVISER.COM