How To Check a Stockbroker's Credentials

The process of selecting the right stockbroker to hire is pretty much the same as in seeking the services of any other professionals. You need to be careful and provide a set of standards that they should meet. One way of determining a stockbroker’s capacity to meet your demands is to check his or her credentials. Through this data, you can easily assess whether a stockbroker is competent enough to handle your stocks or investments.

Nowadays, getting the credentials of your potential stockbroker is easy. Just by following these easy steps, you can now instantly check the credentials of any registered stockbrokers in the country.

1.    Create a short list of potential stockbrokers. The first step in selecting a stockbroker to employ is to create a short list of candidates you wish to hire. Upon doing so, create your own set of qualifications and categories, such as employment history, licenses, or complaints. This way, you can easily narrow down your search once you start digging up information.

2.    Conduct a background check through Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  To obtain reliable information about a particular broker or brokerage firm, go to FINRA website ( and click the investors link. Afterwards, look for the “FINRA BrokerCheck” website located under the most viewed part of the webpage.

When you are already on the BrokerCheck site, click on the “Start Search” button. Type the brokerage firm or the full name of the broker. After finding the broker on FINRA’s list, you will be given a full page background information about the broker. Usually, the information provided by FINRA includes the broker’s practices, awards and complaints. If too many complaints are filed against him, scratch him off your list.

3.    Narrow down your list through SEC. After conducting a research through FINRA’s BrokerChecker, you can have a thorough research by visiting the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission’s website. Locate your broker into the site’s search bar and try to look for complaints filed against the broker you are searching. Use the information provided by SEC to analyze the nature and number of complaints filed against the broker. Be sure to read everything about the complaints and understand why those issues arise.

If you found complaints, search further and see if how the complaint went. There is a page provided in the site that can give you the complete court documents, which you can use to analyze the broker.
4.    Final selection. After examining each broker on your list, you can now check your qualification and match the most competent broker on your list. Through the data provided by FINRA and SEC, you can easily detect who is the best candidate for the job.

In checking for the credentials of the stockbroker you wish to employ, these are the steps you must follow. In creating a list of brokers you want to employ, you can start by asking for recommendations from trusted colleagues or friends. And by consulting through FINRA and SEC, you can easily obtain reliable information about the background of the broker or brokerage firm you want to employ.


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