Look Before You Leap – Checking Your Financial Advisor’s Background

At the law firm of Higgins & Burke, our attorneys have represented thousands of investors who have been victims of improper practices by their investment advisors. We are frequently asked by clients what steps they could have taken to look into their investment advisor’s background before deciding to trust them with their money. Luckily, there are some simple to use resources available to research your advisor that, when supplemented with other research and vetting, can help.

First, it seems many investors are unaware of the resources they have available through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. More commonly known as FINRA, that entity acts as an industry regulator and creates rules that govern the conduct of investment advisors and FINRA registered firms. Investors can go to the FINRA website (www.finra.org) and use FINRA’s BrokerCheck® system to look up the regulatory history of the investment advisor by their name, firm name or what is known as a CRD#.  That regulatory history can tell if your advisor has been the subject of such things as a previous customer dispute involving FINRA regulations and how that dispute may or may not have been resolved.

Illinois investors also have an online resource through the Illinois Secretary of State. By going to a Secretary of State website with the address www.avoidthescam.net , Illinois investors can search registered brokers, registered investment advisors, watch videos on investigating before you invest and read information to guide you in your investigation.

For some additional information, the law firm of Higgins & Burke, P.C. also has an online Investor Information Center where you can learn about protecting yourself from loss and spotting problems. Our Investor Information Center also contains information about specific issues such as common claims against brokers, stockbroker misconduct, Ponzi schemes, insurance abuses and securities investigations. You can even learn about the types of recoverable losses available if you have been harmed.

Along with reviewing the above stated online resources, if you have any concerns about your broker or activity in your account, you can contact the investment and securities attorneys at Higgins & Burke for a free consultation.  Our team of attorneys are happy to help.