Nationwide advisor database in the works

Nationwide advisor database in the works

Nationwide advisor database in the works An investor protection group has proposed a single website providing clients with a one-stop shop for information about advisors – a way of ferreting out the bad actors.

The SEC Investor Advisory Committee held its quarterly meeting at SEC headquarters last week. One of the big initiatives is its proposal to create a single website that provides investors with disciplinary information about advisors and other financial professionals.

The U.S. agenda item has investor watchdog groups in Canada renewing calls for the same thing here, encompassing all advisors – insurance players, investment counsellors, dealing representatives, brokers, financial planners, etc.

Tracking the history of a dubious player in the U.S. is similarly difficult. Currently, if a prospective client wants to get the goods on an advisor he or she can check the SEC or FINRA databases. Unfortunately, that allows many to fall through the cracks who aren’t registered with either agency.

“A significant gap is that the two databases do not include unregistered firms or persons sanctioned by the SEC or state securities commissions, even those sanctioned for operating as an unregistered broker or adviser,” the IAC said in its draft recommendations to the SEC.

Especially focused on reducing the financial abuse of elderly investors, the proposed database goes a long way to protecting investors in general.

“You really need to make it easy for them to weed out bad actors,” said Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America.

Would the same database be feasible in Canada?

Well, in many respects it already exists with the CSA providing both a national database registry and a disciplined persons list at its website. However, there isn’t a single list that brings insurance professionals together as one national database with financial advisors.

The need exists to go farther.

Look for more this week with Stan Buell, the head of the Small Investor Protection Association.