The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this investor bulletin to explain how to check out an investment professional’s registration status and background.
Why should I check out my investment professional and firm?
You can learn important information like:
- Whether the investment professional is currently registered or licensed, or has been suspended. Unlicensed, unregistered persons commit much of the investment fraud in the United States.
- The individual’s qualifications, and disciplinary and employment history. Anyone registered to sell securities or provide investment advice must publicly disclose information that can be signs of potential problems.
How do I check out my investment professional?
An easy way to check out an investment professional is to use the free search tool available on Investor.gov, which will direct you to the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website (IAPD website). You can also visit the IAPD website directly, FINRA’s BrokerCheck program, and/or your state securities regulator. Both the IAPD and BrokerCheck databases will automatically redirect you to the other, if necessary. The searches are free and investment professionals or firms are not made aware of searches.
Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) Website:
- For SEC or state registered investment advisers or the individuals who work for them
- Find registration status
- Find background information such as the adviser’s business practices, fees, conflicts of interest, and disciplinary history
- Redirects to BrokerCheck as needed for information on brokers and brokerage firms
- Access through Investor.gov or directly at the SEC’s IAPD website
- For individual brokers or brokerage firms
- Find registration status
- Find background information for individual brokers such as industry exams passed, previous employment, customer disputes, and regulatory or disciplinary events
- Find background information on brokerage firms such as history (including any mergers, acquisitions or name changes), licenses and registrations, arbitration awards, and regulatory or disciplinary events
- Redirects to IAPD website as needed for information on advisory firms and the individuals who work for them
- Visit BrokerCheck
State Securities Regulators:
- For brokers and state registered investment advisers
- May find information in addition to what’s on BrokerCheck or IAPD
- Call the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) at (202) 737-0900 or visit the NASAA website for information about how to contact your state regulator
- Investor Bulletin: How to Select an Investment Professional
- Investor Bulletin: What is IAPD (Investment Adviser Public Disclosure)?
- Check Out Your Investment Professional
The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy has provided this information as a service to investors. It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy. If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.