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SEC Launches New Search Tool to Identify Individuals with Enforcement Records While the CFPB Considers Ending Public Access to Complaints

On May 2, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission went live with an additional online search tool known as the SEC Action Lookup for Individuals, or SALI.  SALI is intended to help potential investors identify registered and unregistered individuals who have settled, defaulted, or contested an enforcement action brought by the SEC where a final judgment or order was entered against them. 

SALI is designed to provide Main Street investors with a tool to assist in identifying potential fraudsters, which they can use to protect themselves from being victims of fraud and other misconduct.  All that is needed to search is the first and last name of an individual.  Currently, the search results are limited to SEC actions filed between October 1, 2014 and March 31, 2018, but will be updated periodically to expand this timeframe. 

SALI supplements existing resources, such as Investor Alerts and Bulletins, planning tools, and a free search of investment adviser representatives and individuals listed in FINRA’s BrokerCheck system.   SALI can be accessed by visiting https://www.sec.gov/litigations/sec-action-look-up

The launch of SALI as a consumer assistance tool comes in stark contrast to the actions proposed by the acting director of the  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau John Mulvaney, just a week earlier.  While speaking at the American Bankers Association conference on April 24, 2018, Mulvaney expressed his intention to eliminate public access to the CFPB complaint database, stating “I don’t see anything in [the Dodd-Frank Act] that says I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government.”  Currently, the public complaint database includes data from certain consumer complaints submitted on or after December 1, 2011, and is intended to help consumers make responsible decisions about financial transactions and ensure that markets for consumer financial products and services operate transparently and efficiently.   

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