FINRA BrokerCheck

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on January 24, 2024

Get Any Financial Question Answered

What Is FINRA BrokerCheck?

BrokerCheck is an online tool provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) that enables investors to research the professional backgrounds of brokers and brokerage firms.

The primary objective of this tool is to promote transparency and empower investors to make informed decisions about the individuals and firms they choose to manage their investments.

FINRA BrokerCheck aims to help investors perform due diligence on brokers and brokerage firms, allowing them to verify the background information and credentials of these professionals.

Providing easy access to crucial information enables investors to assess the trustworthiness and competence of brokers and firms before entrusting them with their hard-earned money.

FINRA BrokerCheck is essential for investors as it helps them protect themselves from potential fraud and misconduct by financial professionals.

The tool allows investors to gain insight into a broker's or firm's history, qualifications, and disciplinary records, ensuring they make educated decisions when choosing whom to work with for their investments.

History of FINRA BrokerCheck

Development of the Platform

FINRA BrokerCheck was developed as part of FINRA's mission to protect investors and ensure the integrity of the financial industry.

The platform has evolved over the years, incorporating new features and improving its user experience to provide easy access to vital information about brokers and firms for investors.

Enhancements and Updates Over Time

Since its inception, FINRA BrokerCheck has undergone several updates and enhancements to improve its functionality and provide users with a more comprehensive and user-friendly experience.

These updates have included expanded search capabilities, more detailed information about brokers and firms, and improved search result presentation.

How FINRA BrokerCheck Works

Accessing the Tool

FINRA BrokerCheck can be accessed through FINRA's website or by visiting The tool is free to use and available to anyone with internet access, making it easy for investors to research brokers and firms from anywhere at any time.

Performing a Search

Searching for an Individual Broker

Users can search for an individual broker by entering the broker's name or Central Registration Depository (CRD) number. They can also refine their search by providing additional information, such as location, to narrow down the results.

Searching for an Individual Broker

Searching for a Brokerage Firm

Users can enter the firm's name or CRD number to search for a brokerage firm. Similar to searching for individual brokers, additional search criteria can be provided to refine the results.

Searching for a Brokerage Firm

Understanding the Search Results

Broker's Profile

Upon locating a broker through the search, users can view the broker's profile, which contains important information about the broker's background, including employment history, qualifications, regulatory actions, customer disputes, and disciplinary events.

Firm's Profile

When searching for a brokerage firm, users can view the firm's profile, which contains information about the firm's history, registration status, types of business activities, disclosures, regulatory events, and associated personnel.

Information Provided by FINRA BrokerCheck

Information Provided by FINRA BrokerCheck

Broker's Background

Employment History

The broker's employment history is provided, including the names of the firms they have been associated with and the duration of their employment.

Qualifications and Licenses

FINRA BrokerCheck displays the broker's qualifications, such as licenses held and industry examinations passed.

Regulatory Actions

The tool lists any regulatory actions taken against the broker, including fines, suspensions, or other sanctions imposed by regulatory authorities.

Customer Disputes

Any customer disputes involving the broker, including allegations of misconduct and their outcomes, are disclosed in the broker's profile.

Disciplinary Events

The broker's profile includes information about any disciplinary events, such as terminations, fines, or other penalties related to violations of industry rules and regulations.

Brokerage Firm's Background

Firm's History

FINRA BrokerCheck provides the firm's history, including the date of establishment, any mergers, acquisitions, or other significant changes to its structure.

Firm's Registration Status

The tool displays the firm's current registration status with FINRA and other regulatory agencies, ensuring that the firm is authorized to conduct business.

Types of Business Activities

Users can view the types of business activities the brokerage firm engages in, such as investment advice, underwriting, or trading.

Disclosures and Regulatory Events

The tool provides information on disclosures and regulatory events involving the firm, including any legal or regulatory actions taken against the firm and their outcomes.

Associated Personnel

Brokerage firm profiles include a list of associated personnel, allowing users to view the backgrounds of individual brokers working for the firm.

Limitations and Considerations

Information Accuracy and Timeliness

While FINRA BrokerCheck aims to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is essential for users to verify the data independently and consider the possibility of errors or omissions.

Scope of Information Provided

FINRA BrokerCheck offers a wealth of information about brokers and firms, but it may not cover all aspects of their backgrounds. Investors should consider additional sources of information to gain a complete understanding of the professionals they are considering.

Comparing Brokers and Firms

While FINRA BrokerCheck provides a useful starting point for comparing brokers and firms, investors should not solely rely on the tool for making decisions. They should also consider factors such as investment philosophy, fees, and performance when making their final decision.

Additional Resources for Research

Investors should utilize other resources in addition to FINRA BrokerCheck, such as the SEC's Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) database, state securities regulators, and third-party review websites, to gather a comprehensive understanding of a broker or firm.

Tips for Using FINRA BrokerCheck

Tips for Using FINRA BrokerCheck

Cross-Checking Information

To ensure the accuracy of the information found on FINRA BrokerCheck, investors should cross-check the data with other sources and reach out to the broker or firm for confirmation if necessary.

Asking Questions and Seeking Clarification

When researching brokers or firms, investors should not hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification about any information they find unclear or concerning.

Evaluating Brokers and Firms Based on Risk Tolerance and Investment Goals

Investors need to evaluate brokers and firms based on their risk tolerance and investment goals to ensure that they choose professionals who align with their needs and objectives.

Periodically Reviewing Broker and Firm Profiles

Investors should periodically review their broker's and firm's profiles on FINRA BrokerCheck to stay informed about any changes in their backgrounds or regulatory records.

Final Thoughts

FINRA BrokerCheck plays a vital role in investor protection by providing a valuable resource for researching brokers and brokerage firms.

The tool helps investors make informed decisions and promotes transparency within the financial industry, reducing the likelihood of fraud and misconduct.

Conducting due diligence on brokers and firms is a crucial part of the investment process. By using tools like FINRA BrokerCheck and other resources, investors can better protect their investments and ensure that they are working with trustworthy, competent professionals.

While resources like FINRA BrokerCheck are invaluable in researching brokers and firms, it is also essential to recognize the benefits of seeking professional guidance from a financial advisor.

Financial advisors can help investors navigate the complexities of the investment process, develop personalized strategies, and make informed decisions based on their unique financial goals and risk tolerance.

FINRA BrokerCheck FAQs

About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

Meet Top Certified Financial Advisors Near You

Find Advisor Near You