Monday, March 20, 2006

Investors, please take note

Investors, take note

If you keep good records, you’re more likely to prevail in a dispute with your broker. So say state securities regulators who have come up with a handy checklist for investors to fill in while they’re on the phone with their financial professional. The checklist takes minutes to complete, but could help to save a lot of grief and money.

The checklist prompts investors to record information such as the date of the broker’s call, the nature of the investment, how it was described to them, the broker’s name and their CRD number.

The CRD number corresponds to the broker’s record in the Central Registration Depository, a computer database jointly owned by state regulators and NASD. Investors should always check the CRD to see if the broker and their firm are registered in the investor’s state and to determine what, if any, disciplinary history they may have with regulators. To check a broker’s CRD record, investors can call their state regulator or the NASD’s public disclosure hotline at 800-289-9999.

Investors who keep good records of their dealings with their brokers have a leg up in any dispute. While the vast majority of brokers are honest, hard-working professionals, disputes do arise. Plus the kinds of questions the checklist prompts you to ask--like, ‘What’s your CRD number?’--could scare away some of the unscrupulous or dishonest brokers. The money you invest represents your financial future, so you need to keep close track of it.

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