The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority wants to expand the scope of its Broker Check service to better protect consumers from rogue brokers.
Under a proposal being submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Finra would expand the length of time that a former broker's full record is made publicly available on Broker Check from two years to 10 years after they have left the industry.
Finra said Wednesday that this would allow investors to access information about former brokers who may now work in other areas of the financial services industry or who have attained other positions of trust.
In November, Finra made information about final regulatory actions, such as bars, suspensions and fines against former brokers, permanently available to the public. After that decision, consumer groups criticized Finra, saying its actions did not go far enough.
The Public Investor Arbitration Bar Association, for example, submitted a letter to Finra requesting that it also make other information available, such as customer complaints and arbitrations about former brokers.
This information was only available on current brokers.
Under the new proposal, Finra would make other information about former brokers permanently available, including criminal convictions, civil injunctions or findings of involvement in a violation of any investment-related statute or regulation, and arbitration awards or civil judgments based on the individual's involvement in an alleged sales-practice violation.
Scott Shewan, the president of the association, said he is pleased with the new proposal. "A lot of brokers leave the industry but can still become investment advisers," he noted.