The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has issued a web-based advisory to the investing public entitled, “Ask and Check”. This article suggests that before investors hire an investment professional or purchase securities, they such research and verify all information about the investment professionals they may be dealing with, as well as the investments the companies they may be suggesting that you invest in.
The tools available to investors include the following:
- Brokercheck - maintained by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
- Investment Advisor Public Disclosure (IAPD) - This allows investors to search an individual investment adviser, representative or their company to find out whether they are properly registered. This site will also direct you to their Form ADV, which includes information about the adviser's business, whether the adviser has had problems with regulators or clients, as well as a copy of the investment adviser's brochure describing the adviser's business practices, fees, conflicts of interest and disciplinary information.
- Professional Designations database - This link can be an essential tool as it may help you get a better understanding of whether or not your investment professional is utilizing a legitimate or proper professional designation.
- State Securities Regulators - the United States has 50 States and each State maintains their own separate State Securities Regulators and essential information can be accessed in this database.
- The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) - Is the firm that you plan to do business with a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC)? While it does not insure against losses attributable to any decline in the financial markets, SIPC does offer certain limited customer protection if a brokerage firm becomes insolvent and/or your securities are stolen. Firms which are not members of SIPC oftentimes do not afford this coverage.
We offer a free initial consultation to investors who feel they may have been victimized in financial markets. For an appointment, contact The Law Offices of Timothy J. O’Connor at (518) 426-7700.