It’s hard being top dog. And FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), the securities industry top watchdog, has the unenviable task of balancing the complex interests of smoothly-functioning capitalism (aka, Wall Street) with the duty to protect ordinary investors (read: Main Street) from sharks and frauds of every conceivable description. After recent reports that FINRA was allowing an alarmingly high number of financial advisors to expunge records of customers complaints and disciplinary actions from their history as archived in FINRA’s BrokerCheck, the agency has bounced back with some more uplifting news for retail investors.
FINRA's Bad Broker Fast-Track
Without much fanfare, FINRA has launched a “fast-track” into their disciplinary process that will seek to identify, investigate, and punish brokers whose checkered past indicates they are of particular risk to investors. These fast-tracked brokers will have, as FINRA put it, “an extensive disciplinary history with numerous substantive complaints.” As a result, once their cases come up for review by FINRA, they will suffer increased scrutiny throughout the examination and disciplinary process as well as the better-coordinated wrath of FINRA’s three internal branches: member regulation, enforcement, and fraud detection.
Fast-Track a Win For Retail Investors
Evidently, FINRA decided to launch the “fast-track” program after noticing that half of all its ongoing investigations involved fraud on behalf of individual brokers. In other words, the agency realized that there was a small number of very bad apples spoiling the bunch. At any rate, the change is welcome news for investors and the attorneys who represent them, since it means that if you happen to get swindled by an especially bad broker, you’ve got a decent chance of having your case expedited by FINRA, thus speeding up the process of recovering your money.
If you or anyone you know has been the victim of broker misconduct or investment fraud, please contact us immediately for a free consultation at 1-855-462-3330.