WASHINGTON - The National Association of Securities Dealers said yesterday that beginning July 1 its toll-free hotline will provide the public with more information about the disciplinary histories of the group's 440,000 members.
Currently, NASD's Central Registration Depository discloses only final disciplinary actions and criminal convictions against firms and brokers registered with NASD, including most municipal industry brokers.
Beginning next Thursday, however, the depository also will disclose civil judgments against brokers, and pending formal disciplinary proceedings initiated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, NASD, other self-regulatory organizations, and the states.
The depository also, for the first time, will disclose criminal indictments reported by the securities industry and the Justice Department. And it will disclose NASD arbitration decisions, made after Aug. 6, 1990, that involve charges brought by members of the public. These are now made available through a different NASD disclosure program.
Beginning Sept. 1, NASD arbitration decisions for the period from May 10, 1989 to Aug. 6, 1990 will be available over the hotline. Until then, the public can seek those decisions by calling 301-590-6708.
The general number for the toll-free hotline, which operates between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. eastern time, is 1-800-289-9999. NASD said yesterday in a release that it gets roughly 200 calls a day on the system. NASD is the largest securities self-regulatory organization in the country.
The toll-free hotline idea is gaining popularity in the securities arena. Legislation cleared by the House early last month that would tighten regulartion of investment advisers would establish a toll-free number that investors could call to get information about past disciplinary actions by federal regulators or states against an adviser.
In a recent interview, NASD enforcement chief John Pinto said that by 1995 NASD hopes to overhaul the depository system to turn it into a "real-time alert system" for tracking the movements of brokers.
For example, if a firm suddenly hires two dozen brokers from another firm that is under federal investigation or in bankrutpcy proceedings, the updated system will alert NASD officials, Pinto said.