Wall Street's industry-funded watchdog and U.S. state securities regulators are considering whether to develop a new type of regulatory process for brokers to follow for erasing complaints from their public records, an official said on Thursday.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (Nasaa) have been engaged in preliminary discussions about whether to revamp the process that most brokers use for requesting so-called "expungements," said Linda Fienberg, who heads Finra's arbitration unit.

They are mulling a new process in which regulators would be more directly involved in deciding whether details about certain complaints by investors should be erased from a broker's record, said Fienberg, speaking at the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (Piaba) annual meeting.

Brokers who want to erase details about certain investor complaints from their public disclosure records file their own Finra arbitration cases, asking for a recommendation to expunge the information. Those who are successful must then obtain a court order to complete the process. Finra can oppose the court application.

Critics of Finra's current expungement system have said that regulatory staff, not arbitrators, should be involved in the process from beginning to end. Nasaa also supports that view, the group's president, William Beatty, said in an interview on Thursday.

In June, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved a new Finra rule to ban dispute settlements between securities firms and investors that require investors to agree to erase complaints from brokers' public records.

Investors who claim to have lost money because of a broker's misconduct or advice often file a case against the broker's firm in Finra's securities arbitration forum. Details about the complaint then appear in the broker's publicly available disclosure report in a free database for investors known as BrokerCheck.

But some brokers believe those disclosures are unfair because, for example, they sold a class of securities that their firms promoted as safe but later failed. Some investors also know the risks they are taking, brokers have said.

Details on how a new regulatory process would work are unclear. The effort would require writing new rules and possible federal and state legislation. "It's much more complicated than it may seem on its face," Fienberg said.

Finra and state regulators have been discussing the idea regularly during the past few months, Fienberg said.

Finra has been cracking down on certain types of expungement recommendations following a Piaba study that found a 96.9 percent success rate between mid-2009 and the end of 2011 for brokers seeking to expunge details on cases brought by investors that were later settled.