September 20, 2012 / 3:07 PM / 6 years ago

FINRA pushing to make broker records more accessible to investors

(Reuters) - Wall Street’s top self-regulator wants to make information about brokers more accessible to investors, which would hold those in the industry more accountable for their past actions.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in September voted to submit proposals to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that would make information in its BrokerCheck system easier for investors to find, and keep records of even those dismissed investment-related civil actions on permanent public file.

The plan was outlined in a September 14 letter from FINRA’s head Rick Ketchum and published in the group’s newsletter this week.

BrokerCheck is a free online tool that allows public access to the professional backgrounds of about 1.3 million current and former FINRA-registered brokers and 17,400 current and former FINRA-registered brokerage firms. The system is accessible via FINRA’s website.

The proposed amendments would require member firms to include a reference and a link to BrokerCheck on their own company home pages and related websites for FINRA-registered brokers.

FINRA also has proposed an amendment to keep even those investment-related civil actions that have been dismissed by a settlement agreement on permanent public file in the BrokerCheck system. The amendments also would allow for downloading of BrokerCheck information as approved by the board.

The proposed changes come after FINRA had solicited comments from February through April on ways to increase investor use of the tool. The independent regulator said in May it had added features to make BrokerCheck easier for investors to navigate.

FINRA declined to comment further.

Reporting By Ashley Lau in New York; Editing by Walden Siew and Maureen Bavdek

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