Soon, your stockbroker will be held to the highest standard of care for the investment of your retirement money. The Boston area has one of the highest concentrations of financial advisors per capita in the country. And a recent study shows that 7.28 percent of stockbrokers employed in the last ten years have settled a consumer complaint or faced more serious consequences. So it makes sense to check and see if your own advisor has had complaints lodged, or faced more serious jeopardy.
FINRA has a public database called BrokerCheck that makes it very easy to check on your broker's history. BrokerCheck discloses most formal proceedings, such as arbitration or lawsuits, along with tax liens or bankruptcies, or any history of firings for cause.
The database does not ferret out the misdeeds from the mush. Every complaint is recorded, no matter how cranky. So if an arbitrator dismisses a complaint, it is still lodged. And tax liens and bankruptcy can happen to anybody. Still, the database can be a good basis for conversation with your stockbroker, or your potential broker and can help serve as a guide as to whether he or she has your best interests at heart.
If you have reason to believe you have been ill-served by your broker, you should contact an attorney about how you can remedy that.
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