Investigating Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers: Online, April 9

by October 28, 2013

The Particulars

One-hour session at
noon or 4 p.m. ET
April 9, 2014


Rob Wells, lecturer,
Philip Merrill
College of Journalism
at the University
of Maryland

Registration is now closed.


Learn whether stockbrokers or investment advisers have run afoul of regulators or been the subject of customer complaints.

This one-hour webinar will guide you, step-by-step, through the FINRA BrokerCheck database and the SEC’s Investment Adviser registration database, which contain records on 1.3 million current and former professionals.

You’ll also learn how state securities regulators police the industry and how to obtain results of their investigations for your stories. Reporters can conduct this research for free on any computer with an Internet connection; no special software or database knowledge is needed.


  • Find regulatory penalties and employment history of stockbrokers and investment advisers using free databases.
  • Understand how the SEC, state regulators and industry regulatory groups supervise Wall Street, and how to get your hands on their findings.
  • Decode regulator-speak and find key “red flags” in these filings, such as “10b5” fraud and unsuitable investment cases.


Business journalists, especially those who cover personal finance and investing, will benefit from this webinar. Stories such as Nathaniel Popper’s New York Times’ piece on LPL Financial are possible when armed with this knowledge. However, general assignment reporters may also want to add these tools to their quiver, especially to investigate news makers with backgrounds in the financial industry, such as former Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, convicted in the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians, or former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine.

Rob Wells

Rob Wells


Rob Wells is a lecturer at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland and a former Reynolds Visiting Professor in Business Journalism at the University of South Carolina.

He is a former deputy bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires in Washington. A former SEC beat reporter, Wells used the FINRA and SEC databases in an extensive computer-assisted reporting project.


This webinar is sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

Those who attend three of the Reynolds Center’s training events are eligible to receive a Circle of Achievement certificate.

If you have any questions about the center’s training, please call 602-496-9187.

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