Resources for Identifying the Registration Status and Disciplinary History of Persons, Entities and Companies in the United States
Information on Broker-Dealers1
- The NASD Regulation Public Disclosure Program contains public information about NASD member firms and their associated persons, including registration status, address information, types of business conducted, legal status, and disciplinary history. The site is maintained at www.nasdr.com/2000.htm. Because all US broker-dealers must be NASD members, referencing this site is the easiest method to confirm registration status. Once you access this web site, you will want to click on the icon to “Perform an Online Search.” From here, you will be able to easily access the information listed above.
In addition, you may even request a disclosure information report (“report”) on a firm or associated person to be delivered to you via e-mail or regular mail. The report includes, but is not limited to, the following information:
In order to obtain this report for a particular firm or associated person, simply click on the “Deliver Report” icon at the top of the page, fill out the request form, and then click on the “End” button at the bottom of the page. The report will be sent to you via e-mail. If the file is too large, it will be sent to you via regular mail.
- criminal events (e.g., felony convictions, certain misdemeanor charges and convictions, such as theft of money, bribery, etc.);
- financial disclosure events (e.g., bankruptcies, unsatisfied judgments and liens);
- regulatory actions (e.g., suspensions, bars);
- customer complaints; and
- civil judicial events (e.g., injunctions).
- Also, a list of all SEC registered broker-dealers is available as a downloadable file from the SEC’s website as a frequently requested document under the Freedom of Information Act section. To download the list, go to www.sec.gov/foia/docs/bdfoia.htm.
Information on Investment Advisers2
The SEC and state securities authorities have created the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (“IARD”) system. The IARD is an Internet-based system of electronic filing for investment advisers operated by NASD Regulation. Information contained in filings made through the IARD is stored in a database that the public is able to access free of charge through the Internet. The website address for public searches of the IARD is: www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/IAPD/Content/IapdMain/iapd_SiteMap.aspx
A list of SEC registered investment advisers is also available as a downloadable file from the SEC’s website as a frequently requested document under the Freedom of Information Act section. To download the list, go to www.sec.gov/foia/docs/invafoia.htm.
Information on Issuers
- For the registration status of a public company registered with the SEC, please visit the SEC’s website, at http://www.sec.gov/edgar/searchedgar/webusers.htm. This site contains the EDGAR database of electronic SEC filings, which are posted to the site within 24 hours of their receipt. US entities are required to submit their filings electronically to the SEC, while foreign entities may elect to do so.
- Information on a company’s registration status (a U.S. or non-U.S. issuer) that is not available on EDGAR is available from the SEC’s public reference room, which can be contacted using the information below:
Branch of Public Reference
Office of Filings and Information Services
US Securities and Exchange Commission
450 Fifth Street NW, Mail Stop 1-2
Washington, DC 20549
PHONE: (202) 942-8090
FAX: (202) 628-9001
In addition to requesting information on a company’s registration status, you may also request copies of public filings that will be sent to you by mail. Your request should clearly identify the documents or information you need, state that you are willing to pay the copying and shipping charges, and include a telephone number. You may also request a copy of the Commission’s Schedule of Fees for Records Services (Form 1237). Your request will be acknowledged immediately and a substantive response will generally be sent within five to seven working days.
- For incorporation data for an entity or SEC statements involving disciplinary proceedings prior to September 1995, you may consult the Lexis-Nexis database or Westlaw. These fee-for-service databases include, among other things, incorporation information from many US states, and certain SEC filings and public statements. Information about subscribing to these services can be obtained by telephoning the customer service branches of these organizations or by visiting their respective websites:
Incorporation data may also be obtained from the state in which the issuer is located. Contact information for each of these Secretaries of State may be obtained at www.nass.org/busreg/busreg.html.
Information on individuals or entities involved in Futures or Commodities Activities
The National Futures Administration maintains information regarding the registration status and public disciplinary records of individuals and entities involved in the futures and commodities markets. These records and other contact information can be accessed at their site, www.nfa.futures.org/basicnet.
Information on US State Regulation of Broker-Dealers and Investment Advisers
The North American Securities Administrators’ Association maintains a website that provides contact information for state securities authorities. This website can be found at www.nasaa.org/nasaa/abtnasaa/memberweb.asp.
Information on SEC Enforcement Proceedings
For information on SEC enforcement proceedings, go to the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov and click on “Enforcement Division.” (See attached). This site contains descriptions of, among other things:
- civil suits filed in federal court;
- administrative proceedings filed before the SEC; and
- trading suspensions.
You may also retrieve SEC enforcement proceedings from Westlaw and Lexis-Nexis. Information about subscribing to these services can be obtained by telephoning the customer service branches of these organizations or by visiting their respective websites:
1 The 1934 Securities Exchange Act defines a “broker” as a “person engaged in the business of effecting transactions in securities for the account of others,” while a “dealer” is a person engaged in the business of buying and selling securities for his own account.”
2 An “investment adviser” in the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 as a “person who, for compensation, engages in the business of advising others…as to the advisability of investing in, purchasing, or selling securities…”