A Finra proposal to require financial advisors to include a link to BrokerCheck on their Web sites and social media pages has been withdrawn—at least temporarily.
Finra, which submitted the rule to the Securities and Exchange Commission in January, wants to consider public comments on the proposal before pursuing it futher, according to a spokesperson. The regulatory organization has said the rule is intended to increase investors use of BrokerCheck.
“We withdrew the filing in order to give further consideration to the comments received," Finra spokesman Michell Ong said. "We plan to refile."
In a letter to the SEC regarding BrokerCheck, Barry D. Estell, a self-employed attorney in Mission, Kan. commented, “Finra should encourage the investor to take every opportunity to learn more about broker-dealers and their registered representatives prior to and during the customer relationship. Sadly, the amount of information is systemically lacking in quality and quantity and encompassed in an awkward, hard to use system that encourages lay persons to give up and just take the word of the sales person”.
BrokerCheck is an online tool investors can use to research the backgrounds of current and former Finra-registered brokerage firms and brokers, as well as investment advisor firms and representatives. The database includes histories of disciplinary and enforcement actions.
Finra's original proposal would have required advisors to include a "prominent description" of BrokerCheck, in addition to a link, on their Web sites, social media pages and any other forms of "Internet presence" they maintain.
“There is simply no way in many cases for a link to BrokerCheck to be prominently displayed on social media sites and, therefore, the rule is impossible to implement,” said David Bellaire, executive vice president and general counsel of FSI, which has argued against the rule. “FSI and our members hope to work with Finra to develop a workable solution which truly provides investors with access to BrokerCheck information.”