Compliance & Regulation

Pennsylvania Secretary Wiessmann Advises Consumers to 'Investigate Before You Invest'

Education and awareness are an investors best tools

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Department of Banking and Securities outreach staff regularly advise consumers to “investigate before you invest.”

Now investors can access a new online directory that provides information on how to actually proceed with investment-related research.

The “Investigate Before You Invest” directory can be found here.

Safely navigating a complex market

“In our technologically advanced era, with financial services and products becoming ever more complex, the investor’s challenge is to navigate through the financial marketplace and be able to distinguish the legitimate and suitable from the illegitimate and unsuitable,” said Wiessmann. “I believe that education and awareness are an investor’s best tools, and this research directory provides an excellent first step for investors who need to make informed decisions.”

“Investigate Before You Invest” is designed to help investors interested in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, crowdfunding, disciplinary actions, insurance, initial public offerings, licensing and registration issues, and commodities, by referring them to free online government and not-for-profit databases and consumer hotlines.

A version of this directory can be printed by downloading it.

Investors can contact the Department of Banking and Securities at 1-800-PA-BANKS or 1-800-600-0007 to get answers to their questions about securities offerings and investment licensing and registration issues. Members of the public are also invited to connect to the department through Facebook and Twitter, or subscribing to the department’s newsletter.

an excellent first step for investors who need to make informed decisions

Investigate Before You Invest:

  •  Where to Start
    Before you spend your time and money on a financial service, product, or company, we urge you to investigate before you invest. Trying to find information on financial services can be confusing, so if you are not sure where to start, call us today at 1.800.PA.BANKS or 1.800.600.0007.
    Download and print the publication Investigate Before You Invest (PDF)
  • Researching People
    FINRA: It can be hard to understand the letters that investment professionals sometimes use after their name as a professional designation (e.g. CFA or CAS). The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has a tool to help: Search “Professional Designations” at or call the FINRA Hotline at 1.800.289.9999.
  • BrokerCheck
    FINRA maintains an online database called BrokerCheck that you can use to research people and firms that sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities. Go to or call the FINRA Hotline at 1.800.289.9999.
  • IAPD
    To research investment advisory firms and their representatives who provide investment advice, you can use the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): or call the SEC’s Investor Information Service phone number: 1.800.732.0330.
  • SmartCheck
    To research financial professionals who trade futures, options on futures, and foreign currency (Forex), visit SmartCheck, an online database at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC): or call 1.866.366.2382.
  • Insurance
    Research insurance professionals who offer annuities and other insurance products at (search “Find a Professional”) or call the PA Insurance Department at 1.877.881.6388.