FINRA is far from a shadowy regulatory agency. They do their best to find themselves in the public eye, if only to keep investors informed on current regulations and scams. They also keep an exhaustive database of the professional records of all registered broker-dealers and financial advisors; the database is online and searchable. FINRA’s BrokerCheck is a mighty tool for investors seeking to learn more about their advisors; it’s one of many tools and rules that investors can use to protect themselves against fraud and malfeasance.
The last few months have been a difficult time for many investors. The stock market has taken a major dive, closing out 2018 with the worst performing December since The Great Depression. With so much volatility, it’s crucial that investors have a carefully planned portfolio with an adequate amount of diversification. Above all, that portfolio should match the individual investors risk tolerance and investment objectives. That match must be valid from the day it was made until today. A portfolio that worked for an individual investor in a bull market may be a terrible match for that same person in a bear market.
Thanks to a recent decision by the Fifth Circuit, it appears that brokers will, once again, get off the hook when it comes putting their clients' interests in front of their own. Into the breach has stepped an idea that has been kicking around for a years now, but which may be the best of several uninspiring options to compel brokers to act more responsibly toward investors: The Oath.
The Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors has ruffled some serious Wall Street feathers with the release of a recent report suggesting that Americans with 401(k) retirement accounts could be losing $8 billion to $17 billion per year due to opportunistic trading by the brokers managing their accounts.
By introducing an inappropriate amount of risk into your investment portfolio through oil and gas MLP stocks (or any other publicly or privately-traded security or product, for that matter), you may be able to pursue your losses due to bad advice through the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the securities industry’s self-regulating body) arbitration process.