On July 13, 2010, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it will be implementing changes to its free online BrokerCheck service. With recent approval by the Securities & Exchange Commission, the amount of information available to the public about current and former securities brokers will expand significantly in the coming months, including the number of customer complaints reported publicly. The public disclosure period for the full record of a broker who leaves the industry will be extended from two years to 10 years, and certain information, such as criminal convictions and selected civil injunctive actions and arbitration awards, will be on record permanently. The changes will also formalize a process for current and former brokers to dispute or update the information disclosed through BrokerCheck.
“This additional information will benefit investors who are considering whether to conduct or continue to conduct business with a particular securities firm or broker,” said FINRA chairman and CEO Rick Ketchum. “Just as important, it will provide valuable information about persons who have left the securities industry, often not of their own accord, and who have established themselves in other segments of the financial services industry and can still cause great harm to the investing public.”