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Broker Dealer Record-Keeping Requirements

Jan. 14, 2013

Investors should always keep good records of their securities transactions, including copies of account statements, trade confirmations, and canceled checks. Although the federal securities laws require brokers to keep particular records for specified periods of time, your broker is not required to keep records indefinitely. You may have a difficult time obtaining copies of records from your broker if the time your broker must keep the records has expired.

The length of time your broker must keep records depends on the type of record. For example, firms must retain blotters containing all purchases and sales of securities for at least six years. But they must keep copies of confirmations for only three years. For the first two years, these records must be kept in an easily accessible place.

Be sure to examine your account statements and confirmations carefully to make sure they accurately reflect the date, price, and type of security bought or sold and the certificate number of any security you received from or delivered to your broker. And if you see a mistake, call your broker right away.

You can find a complete list of the records that broker-dealers must keep and how long they must be kept under Securities Exchange Act Rule 17a-3 ("Records to Be Made by Certain Exchange Members, Brokers and Dealers") and Rule 17a-4 ("Records to Be Preserved by Certain Exchange Members, Brokers and Dealers").

We have provided this information as a service to investors.  It is neither a legal interpretation nor a statement of SEC policy.  If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law.

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