Training: Investigating Stockbrokers, Financial Advisers

by April 8, 2014


Investigating Stockbrokers and Financial Advisers was originally held April 9, 2014.

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.
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. A former SEC beat reporter, Wells used the FINRA and SEC databases in an extensive computer-assisted reporting project.


Review the session materials below for using FINRA and SEC databases to develop investigative stories in your own backyard.

Session recordings

PowerPoint presentations

Want the best tips and story ideas from the Reynolds Center in your mailbox every month? Sign up for our monthly newsletter!