Check a Registration
Before you write a check to a financial services professional, always check their registration first!
Most securities firms, stockbrokers, investment advisers, and investment adviser representatives must be registered with the Securities Division in order to conduct business in North Carolina. Make sure your financial professional is properly registered. It is perhaps the most important step you can take to protect yourself and your money from a potential scam.
Financial services professionals often have impressive-sounding titles, or include lots of initials after their names. While some of these titles or designations accurately reflect the person’s expertise, many are little more than marketing tools designed intentionally to convey the impression that the holder has more knowledge or experience than (s)he actually has. This can create confusion in the mind of an investor about the services the professional may provide and what their legal responsibilities to the investor are. For more information about these professionals, please see “Financial Services Providers.”
The Securities Division always recommends that investors call our Investor Hotline at (919) 814-5400 or (800) 688-4507 and speak with a representative who can verify the registration status of investment professionals, firms and/or products. Investors should understand that there is no single registry for all professionals and offerings. While a single individual may be registered as an insurance agent, a stock broker, a commodities dealer, and an investment adviser, no one registry will tell you this. Investors must check multiple databases. Now you see why we suggest that investors call our hotline!
But we do understand that some people prefer to do their own research on their own time. Fortunately, there are several regulatory websites that allow you to do this.
SmartCheck.gov is maintained by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC has compiled links to the various registries and posted these links on their website. Their site, therefore, is designed to be a one-stop website for investors to check the different registration databases for stock brokers, investment advisers, commodities brokers and investment offerings.
BrokerCheck, also available as a link from SmartCheck.gov, is FINRA's online search tool that allows anyone to research the registration status of securities dealers and salesmen. In many cases, BrokerCheck will provide you with a report that contains the same public information that is available through our office including current registrations, employment history, and disclosures about certain disciplinary events.
Investment Adviser Public Disclosure allows you to search for information about an Investment Advisor firm or investment adviser representative. Here you can view current registrations, employment history, and disclosures about certain disciplinary events involving firms and individuals.
The SEC Company Filings Search page allows you to search information collected by the SEC by Company or fund name, ticker symbol, Central Index Key (CIK), and more.
Finally, since annuities are regulated as insurance products in North Carolina, consumers should check the registration status of their agent with the NC Department of Insurance.
If you have additional questions about a registration, please give us a call at (919) 814-5400!