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Picking a Financial Adviser? This Tool Can Help

Investors are generally advised to check the background of brokers or other financial professionals before doing business with them. Yet, how many of us really do that, even though it could protect our life savings?

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It’s safe to say, not a lot.

One reason: Even though this information is available online, it’s not been that easy to navigate the multiple websites to find it.

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Now the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has created the CFTC SmartCheck, sort of one-stop shopping for background checks.

It includes links to BrokerCheck, so you can look at the disciplinary records of brokers and their firms; Edgar, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s database on companies; BASIC, the National Future Association’s info on traders and regulatory actions; and the CFTC’s database of disciplinary actions. And with a few clicks, you can find out disciplinary actions against accountants in your state.

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Of course, there are other helpful websites out there for investigating a financial professional. BrightScope, for instance, lets you quickly look up a financial adviser’s background.

Yet, SmartCheck is a website that investors should bookmark. It’s fast and convenient. And now you won’t have any excuse for not checking up on financial professionals.

Photo: BrianAJackson/iStock

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