In a March, 2012, article for InvestmentNews.com, Dan Jamieson writes that industry observers are wondering why the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA)has issued a proposal to disclose licensing exam scores on its BrokerCheck system.
Finra has requested comments regarding disclosing more through the disciplinary reporting system, including exam scores, broker termination information and more historical data.
Jamieson writes that the request, Finra Regulatory Notice 12-10, is part of a larger review of BrokerCheck mandated by the Dodd-Frank reform law. Industry commentators are confounded by the idea of publishing exam scores.
“I believe publishing test scores makes no sense for someone who has been in the business for over 25 years,” April Kvalvik, a broker with Bank of America Merrill Lynch, wrote in a comment letter. “As a CFP, I have mastered many complex areas in investing and financial planning. I do not think that scores from a 25-year-old test are relevant.”
“Such scores reflect only the knowledge of regulatory requirements at the time of the test and not investment knowledge or any relevant industry skills,” wrote David Wiley, president of Wiley Bros.-Aintree Capital LLC.
“In fact the very act of publishing such scores would be misleading, as it connotes validity … in selecting a broker,” he said.
“I would like the grades of all Finra and SEC employees, schools they attended, last ten years of employment, criminal history … bankruptcy filings and any financial judgments … made public,” wrote Catherine O’Brien, a representative at Crowell Weedon & Co.
The InvestmentNews.com article points out that Finra also is considering making the massive BrokerCheck database available to private vendors. Currently, it blocks automated download tools from accessing the system.
“It is important that Finra and the SEC make the data underlying these databases available for download in electronic, machine-readable format, so that nonprofit entities, as well as journalists and other investigators, are able to gain access and do sophisticated investigations using the information,” wrote Ellen Miller, executive director of The Sunlight Foundation.
Finra had no comment.
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