Keep Yourself and Your Money Safe

Last updated: April 13, 2016

Do Your Homework

Securities laws require brokers and advisers and their firms to be licensed or registered and to make important information public. However, it’s up to you to find that information and use it to protect your investment dollars.

The good news is that this information is easy to obtain, and one phone call or a simple Web search may save you from sending your money to a con artist, a bad broker, or a disreputable firm.

  • That’s important because if you do business with an unlicensed securities broker or a firm that later goes out of business, there may be no way for you to recover your money -- even if an arbitrator or court rules in your favor.

Brokers and Brokerage Firms

The Central Registration Depository (CRD) is a computerized database that contains information about most brokers and their firms. For instance, you can find out whether brokers are properly licensed in Kansas and whether they have had run-ins with regulators or received serious complaints from investors. You’ll also find information about the brokers’ educational backgrounds and where they’ve worked. You can ask the staff in the Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner or the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to provide you with information from the CRD.

To contact FINRA, go to www.finra.org or call 800-289-9999. You can check the background of brokers yourself online at http://brokercheck.finra.org.

To check information for an investment professional on the website of the Kansas Securities Commissioner click here

Investment Advisers and Representatives

Firms that get paid to give advice about investing in securities must register with either the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or the state securities regulators where they provide services or have their principal place of business. Investment advisers who manage $100 million or more in client assets generally must register with the SEC. If they manage less than $100 million and provide services in Kansas, they must register with the Kansas Securities Commissioner, unless they meet conditions for an exemption.

Investment adviser firms employ investment adviser representatives, the people who actually work with clients. In most cases, investment adviser representatives providing service to Kansas residents must be registered with the Kansas Securities Commissioner. So be sure to check out their registration form, called the Form ADV.

  • It has two parts:

    • Part 1 has information about the adviser’s business and any problems with regulators or clients.

    • Part 2 outlines the adviser’s services, fees and strategies.

You can also get copies of Form ADV from the investment adviser, or the Kansas Securities Commissioner:

Office of the Kansas Securities Commissioner 
109 SW 9th Street Suite 600 Topeka, KS 66612
(785) 296-3307
(800) 232-9580
ksc.EmailAccount@ks.gov
*The information on this page is credited to IPT and Kiplinger. Their original materials are made available on the Kansas Securities Commissioner's website.

This article is published on KansasMoney.gov. Find more information by contacting these state agencies: