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Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking

Investor Education and Protection Resources

DISB’s Securities Bureau protects the District’s investors by ensuring that securities professionals doing business in the District comply with securities laws, and that full and fair disclosure is provided to investors in public securities offerings. This bureau also licenses securities professionals and firms that sell securities or provide securities advice in the District.

The best way for investors to protect themselves against unnecessary risks is by informing themselves about investments and investment professionals, taking steps to avoid investment "scams" or "swindles," determining their personal financial situation and needs, and setting realistic investment objectives. DISB’s Securities Bureau provides this directory as part of its responsibilities to provide investor education and fraud prevention. DISB also provides consumer information on how to avoid fraud. Check out our:

I have heard about a great investment opportunity. How can I research it?
Investment offerings in the District are required to be registered with DISB and/or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). You can check the status of an investment opportunity in the District by contacting DISB at [email protected]. You can check the registration status of the investment professional at BrokerCheck.

Can I find out if the securities firm or individual has been the subject of any complaints or disciplinary action?
Yes. You can get any disciplinary history that involves a particular firm or individual by visiting DISB Securities orders or contacting DISB at [email protected].

If you have a question about the legitimacy of a securities product, service or professional, an issue with your broker-dealer or investment adviser, or a complaint about any securities product, service or professional, File a Complaint with the Department. We are here to assist you.

Other Key Investor Education And Fraud Prevention Websites:

DISB does not endorse, nor is it responsible for, any companies, products, or services featured at the websites listed below. The Internet is a dynamic environment; sites and links can change, expire, or be moved at any time. DISB endeavors to provide information that is current and accurate.

Know before you Invest! BrokerCheck provided by FINRA helps you make informed choices about brokers and brokerage firms-and provides easy access to investment adviser information. BrokerCheck gives you a snapshot of a broker's employment history, regulatory actions, and investment-related licensing information, arbitrations, and complaints. You can also browse other information about firms providing financial services and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commissioner’s enforcement actions against companies and individuals.

North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) is the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection and consists of 67 state, provincial, and territorial securities administrators including the District of Columbia. NASAA provides investor education and securities industry regulatory information. NASAA provides investor information for those just starting out, in mid-career, nearing retirement or retired. NASAA has outreach programs for CPAs, law enforcement, unions, financial empowerment for women, the Sandwich Generation, Native Americans and more.

With at least a third of its members’ enforcement actions involving senior investors, NASAA developed Serve Our Seniors to provide resources for senior investors, family caregivers, the securities industry, and policymakers. Senior financial exploitation causes the loss of billions of dollars each year. Watch some of the stories of those affected at

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) protects investors, maintains fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitates capital formation. The SEC oversees the key participants in the securities world, including securities exchanges, securities brokers and dealers, investment advisors, and mutual funds. Here the SEC is concerned primarily with promoting the disclosure of important market-related information, maintaining fair dealing, and protecting against fraud.

The SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy offers you a variety of services to attend to the problems and questions that you might have as an investor. They cannot advise you as to what investments to make but will be able to instruct you about how to invest wisely and avoid frauds. The SEC provides questions to ask before investing, investment tools and calculators, investment product features, understanding fees and more.

La Oficina de Educación y Asistencia a los Inversionistas (Office of Investor Education and Advocacy) de la SEC le ofrece una variedad de servicios para atender los problemas y preguntas que usted pudiera tener como inversionista. No podemos aconsejarle qué inversiones realizar, pero sí podremos instruirle acerca de cómo invertir sabiamente y evitar los fraudes.

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the U.S. Created in July 2007 through the consolidation of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and the member regulation, enforcement, and arbitration functions of the New York Stock Exchange, FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services.

FINRA’s Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give investors the tools and information they need to better understand the markets and the basic principles of saving and investing.