Henry McMaster

Pictured Above: Attorney General Henry McMaster

Attorney General Henry McMaster

The Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Broker

1. Are you registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the State of South Carolina? (If they say they are not required to be registered, ask why, then verify this with the Securities Division.)

2. What is your Central Registration Depository (CRD) number? I want to check your disciplinary and work history with my state regulators.

3. Where are you located? Does your firm have any offices in South Carolina?

4. How long have you been in the investment or brokerage industry? (You can verify this by calling the Securities Division.)

5. Is your firm a publicly held corporation with an exchange listed stock? What symbol? (Most legitimate brokerage firms are listed on major exchanges.)

6. Would you send me some written information about yourself, your firm and the investments you are trying to sell me? (Beware of handwritten material or "flashy" brochures.)

7. Are the investments you are trying to sell me registered in the State of South Carolina? (If the salesperson says they are exempt or not required to be registered, ask which specific exemption was granted, then tell them you want to check this with your state regulators.)

8. Can you guarantee a certain amount or percentage return on my investment? (If the salesperson says "Yes", beware. There is no such thing as a guaranteed investment.)

9. How many clients do you have in South Carolina/ my community?

10. Can you give me references in my community who are clients of yours?