To make more readily available and streamline the process of researching advisors while promoting honesty, integrity and best practices in the financial services industry.
There are many consumers utilizing Advisor Check to research their existing or prospective financial advisor. Aside from the time saved from not having to perform the due diligence yourself, here are more reasons to use Advisor Check before investing with an advisor:
- Unlike 'self-reporting' agencies such as FINRA, we run full third-party background checks on Advisor Check members
- We offer the ability to review a complete background check on any financial advisor that is a member of Advisor Check
- We allow you to request a complete background check on a financial advisor who is not yet a member of Advisor Check
- We help to instill a sense of security when choosing your financial advisor
- We assist in bringing full disclosure and total transparency to the financial services industry
Q: The comprehensive background checks are 100% Free? What's the catch? How can you do this?
A: Just like restaurants that give away free meals or companies that let people try their service before purchasing, Advisor Check felt the most efficient way for consumers & advisors to experience the difference we provide in 'Full Disclosure and Total Transparency' was to offer it free of charge. In doing so, we know that advisors will want to become a 'member' to show themselves as fully disclosed and to use the power of being a ‘transparency & disclosure advocate’ to restore trust and earn new business. They will also be given the inquiring consumers’ name and contact information to follow up with after the checks have been completed. Financial security is a major goal of investors and having confidence in your advisor aids in achieving that goal. That’s what the innovation of Advisor Check is doing—Changing an Industry!
Currently, as long as the inquiry is from a consumer and we have not already completed a screening on the advisor within the last 12 months, it's free. Membership rates to join our "Pro Transparency & Disclosure Movement" remain the same for advisors if they later choose to join our membership ranks.
Consumers can remain anonymous by paying $50 for the screening. In doing so, the consumer’s name and information will NEVER be given out to the advisor.
Q: What checks will you run on an advisor?
A: We check for any complaints or issues with the Better Business Bureau, FINRA, SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), State Securities Department and State Department of Insurance. We also run a Criminal/Civil Background Check, Financial Liens/Judgments Check, Professional License Check, and a Credit/Bankruptcy Check.
Due to the thorough nature of these checks, in some cases one or two checks may take more than 5 days. Regardless, consumers are able to watch as we constantly update the checks as they are performed and are posted on an advisor’s profile.
Q: Exactly what items are reported and how does AdvisorCheck determine a "No Complaints/Issues" or "Complaints/Issues Found" mark on an advisors record?
A: Guidelines for AdvisorCheck Screenings and Checks
All checks are completed from various public sources and compiled for the consumer. Financial checks and criminal/civil checks will be reported based on the information below and any information that is reported by these entities will be reported provided it falls within our guidelines. Information attained from state departments of insurance and securities, the SEC and FINRA will be reviewed and disclosed based on the following guidelines. Please review our terms and conditions of the site for further details. Also note that for members of AdvisorCheck, background screenings are completed once a year.
Criminal Screenings: AdvisorCheck utilizes Acxiom for all criminal screenings. Data is collected from courts throughout the country and compiled. AdvisorCheck will report all Felony convictions as “Complaints/Issues Found”. Any SIS (Suspended Imposition of Sentence), not guilty or arrests without a conviction will be marked as “No Complaints or Issues” since either charges were not made, the individual was not found guilty or in the case of an SIS it is viewed as a non-conviction in most jurisdictions and records are sealed after probationary periods are fulfilled.
Misdemeanor convictions will only be posted if they are money related situations such as fraud, bad check cases and all other financial or financially motivated situations. The only exception will be drug related cases in which they will be shown and revealed due to the potential for financial fraud. In the above noted cases, the profile will be marked as “Complaints/Issues Found”. All other items such as public intoxication, simple assault, disorderly conduct, trespass, vandalism, and DUI will be marked as “No Complaints or Issues” since the charges are not financially associated. No disclosure of these events will be posted unless the advisor desires.
Civil Judgments and Claims: Any financial/investment related civil suit will be disclosed to the consumer. A ‘No Complaints or Issues’ mark will exist for cases in which charges were filed but a finding of not-guilt was issued or charges were dropped. The explanation will be provided under the heading. A ‘Complaints/Issues Found’ will be shown for all guilty verdicts involving financial related/investment suits.
Bankruptcies/Foreclosures: All bankruptcies that are available to the public and through our searches will be listed as a disclosure within 7 years. Foreclosures within the last 7 years will also be shown. Any bankruptcies or foreclosures over 7 years will be displayed as "No Complaints or Issues" with an explanation included that there was an incident over 7 years ago.
Liens/Judgments: All outstanding liens and judgments that have not been paid will be displayed and the check will be shown as ‘Complaints/Issues Found’. Any judgment or lien paid in full will not be shown since it has been resolved and paid. In those cases we will post the check as ‘No Complaints or Issues’.
Regulatory Actions involving non-investment related (State, Insurance, SEC, FINRA) in which the complaint or problem is non-investment product related (ie, advertising related, maintenance of books, continuing education requirements, or review of marketing materials) will be shown as ‘No Complaints or Issues’ with an explanation of the actions administered by the regulatory entity, provided the advisor fully complied with any and all directives of said authorities. As such, status will show ‘No Complaints or Issues’ while there will still be a disclosure of the event and the resulting regulatory requirements. In cases in which the advisor failed to comply with a ruling, suspension, etc., the profile will show a ‘Complaint/Issue Found’ status.
Regulatory Actions involving investment related issues (State, Insurance, SEC, FINRA).
All actions brought by consumers or regulators involving suitability, improper sales, unauthorized trading, fraud, misrepresentation, or other investment related concerns will be shown as a ‘Complaint/Issues Found’ if the advisor is currently under investigation or if there is a pending arbitration/mediation case. In cases where the arbitration/mediation is finalized via settlement or a damage award, regardless of who pays the award (firm or rep) the case will be disclosed as ‘Complaints/Issues Found’ with an explanation. If a complaint is made but penalties, awards and/or settlements are not made, the case will show as ‘No Complaints or Issues’ but the profile will show that there was a complaint filed but there were no actions taken by regulatory officials or penalties/awards given.
Better Business Bureau:
Any complaints that are filed with the BBB that are then taken care of by the advisor in a satisfactory manner will be shown as ‘No Complaints or Issues’ since the advisor has taken steps to correct any business concerns. There will be a disclosure of the event for the consumer to review. If the advisor fails to comply with BBB requirements or fails to responds to any complaints, the incident will show as ‘Complaints/Issues Found’ with accompanying information.
Q: How long will it take to get the results when I order a report?
A: It will take approximately 5-10 business days. Background checks for free temporary members are posted on the advisor’s profile for 30 days. Full AdvisorCheck members’ background reports are displayed for a full year and each year the advisor renews their membership.
Q: Is Advisor Check involved in the sale of Financial Products or Services?
A: No. Advisor Check is purely a Third-Party that reports on an advisor's background. We offer no opinion on an advisor but simply report the facts. In cases where an advisor declines to submit to a 100% free comprehensive background check, we will encourage the consumer to view members that have joined our 'Pro Transparency & Disclosure Movement."
Q: Why do you use AdvisorCheck in some places and Advisor Check in others on your site? Is there a difference?
A: Simply put, google. Our company is named AdvisorCheck but due to search engines and the internet, in some places we must separate the two words to help maximize internet search results.