The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. All told, FINRA oversees nearly 4,700 brokerage firms, about 167,000 branch offices and approximately 635,000 registered securities representatives. Their job is to protect you, the investor, that you have a safe place to invest. How well are they dong?
I did a Google search on "FINRA fines" and here's what i found from the first two pages (there were 143,000 total results):
Finra Fines Deutsche Bank $7.5M In Subprime Case
FINRA Fines SunTrust $1.4M for Unsuitable Trades -
FINRA Fines Terra Nova Financial $400000
Finra Fines Phoenix Derivatives, Others a Combined $4.3M - WSJ.com
FINRA fines Citigroup for supervisory violations $1.5 million fine ...
FINRA Fines Double In 2009 - Representing Investors - Blog Archive
FINRA Fines Morgan Stanley, Other Firms - On Wall Street
FINRA Fines H&R Block Financial Advisors for Inadequate ...
FINRA Fines Citigroup $600000 for Failing to Supervise Trading ...
FINRA Fines MetLife Securities, Affiliates - ABC News
The above is all fairly recent. Do these fines against these firms indicate that FINRA is protecting you well OR that if protections were adequate, there would not be so many fines? You will need to be the judge.
It is clear however, that these firms (notice that many are large and well known to you) seem to be little interested in your benefit or profit and are complacent to break the rules. And that's the point of this post. Don't trust anyone in the investment or insurance industry without asking questions. It's not that you should not trust, a necessary element for a healthy economy, but get all of your questions asked and issues explained to your satisfaction. Don't simply take anyone's word for the facts. Get the evidence before you invest or buy insurance.