The US Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) is stepping up its campaign to encourage retail investors to check the credentials of financial advisers.
Later this year the SEC will be launching an updated version of its consumer campaign to remind investors they can go to the SEC's financial adviser register to run a free check of any authorised adviser or broker.
The campaign follows the SEC stepping up its involvement in the US Department of Labor's reform proposals to introduce a universal definition of fiduciary duty that will bind all retirement intermediaries to a Best Interests obligation.
The reform proposals have been vigorously resisted by the securities industry ever since President Obama initiated the reforms following the GFC. Legislation underpinning the reform is not expected to pass the House as Speaker Paul Ryan last month voiced his support to the fiduciary rule's critics.
Owen Donley, chief counsel for the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy told the FedScoop news service that visitors to the SEC adviser check website will be able to find background checks on investment firms.
This should help them avoid dealing with people who claim to be registered investment professionals but aren't, he added.
Consumers will be able to also check an adviser's record of regulatory or disciplinary action.
In preparation for the campaign the SEC has been investing resources in upgrading its various consumer facing websites to make them available and easy to use on smart mobile devices.
The SEC advertising campaign will be conducted across media channels covering radio, digital and print ads.