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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Advisor Pages

  • What is BrightScope's Advisor Pages?

    A searchable online directory containing most registered investment advisors and a majority of registered representatives. All of the data provided by BrightScope is publicly available and can be verified through either the SEC's Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) database or FINRA's BrokerCheck. Additional data may be added by the advisors, registered representatives, firms and broker-dealers included in the directory. The goal of Advisor Pages is to improve transparency in the wealth management market by making it easier for investors to find information about financial advisors and registered representatives. The strength of our reputation rides on the accuracy of the data we provide, and we are committed to improvement. We encourage you to use the Contact Us form in the footer if you have any questions.

  • Who is listed in the directory?

    Any advisor/firm registered with the SEC and/or FINRA may be listed. The Advisor Pages includes registered investment advisers (RIAs), investment advisor representatives (IARs), broker-dealers, and registered representatives of broker-dealers.

  • Where does the data come from?

    BrightScope aggregates data from public filings that are filed with the SEC, state securities regulators and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). Additional data may be added by the advisors, registered representatives, firms and broker-dealers included in the directory. Certain data points that BrightScope aggregates from public filings, such as assets under management, may be modified by the individual advisors or registered representatives on their individual Advisor Pages profile to better represent their individual businesses.

  • Can an advisor or firm update their profile?

    Yes. We are committed to data accuracy. We are working to allow advisors and firms to update AUM and/or Client Types on their profile pages free of charge to ensure that the data is a fair and accurate representation of their business. Additionally, advisors and firms can buy an Advisor Pages subscription that enables them to supplement the information on their Advisor Pages profile. For example, subscribers can add photos/logos, firm services, additional asset information, contact information, accomplishments, designations and membership associations, as well as links to articles, websites and blog posts that showcase an advisor's or firm's expertise.

  • Is there any information that an advisor cannot update?

    Yes. Advisors and firms cannot update work history, regulatory disclosure information or exam information, which BrightScope aggregates directly from the public filings. To update this information, advisors are encouraged to update their filings with the SEC, state securities regulators, and FINRA so that their Advisor Pages profile will reflect the most accurate information.

  • How can I update incorrect information?

    Before contacting BrightScope about incorrect information, please compare the data on your Advisor Pages profile to the data in your latest regulatory filing. If there is a material difference between the information in your regulatory filing and the data on your Advisor Pages profile, please use the Contact Us form in the footer to alert us to the differences. We are committed to data accuracy and will update your data as soon as reasonably practicable. Please include your name and CRD number in any correspondence related to your Advisor Pages profile. Please note that we are working to allow you to update your AUM and/or Client Types on your or your firm's Advisor Pages profile free of charge.

  • How current is your data?

    BrightScope Advisor Pages strives to present the most recent public filing available. Please use the Contact Us form in the footer to let us know if the information on your Advisor Pages profile does not reflect the data in your most recent filing.

  • I have filed new documentation with SEC/FINRA, when will this be updated on BrightScope?

    We refresh our data on an ongoing basis to capture new updates. Please use the Contact Us form in the footer to let us know if the information on your Advisor Pages profile does not reflect the data in your most recent filing.

  • Why can't I find my advisor in the database?

    Your advisor may not be in the database for a variety of reasons. It might be that they aren't regulated by FINRA or the SEC. In some cases advisors are state-regulated insurance agents which are not currently in the database. There is a small chance that your advisor is regulated by FINRA or the SEC but is not in the database. You can use the Contact Us form in the footer to communicate this to us. Please include the advisor's CRD number with any request of this nature.

  • Why are there advisors listed on a firm page who are no longer with the firm?

    This can occur for a variety of reasons. For example, an advisor's public filing may stay in the government databases even after they leave the industry, or when an advisor changes firms, he/she may neglect to update their filing with their current firm information. If you discover that an advisor is listed at the wrong firm please use the Contact Us form in the footer and include the advisor's CRD number.

  • Why is BrightScope going in this direction after specializing in the 401k market?

    We see this as a natural progression for the company and we have received feedback from current clients and consumers that the Advisor Pages directory is a much needed tool. We're expanding our leading position in the retirement and 401(k) market to reach a wider audience and bringing unprecedented transparency to the broader wealth management marketplace. We're giving people the tools and objective information they need to make well-informed decisions about their financial activities. The amount of time it would take people to aggregate the data and do this research on their own is endless, so we figured we would streamline process.

  • How is an advisor's Experience metric calculated?

    The number of years of experience is calculated from the year of the advisor's first registration with the SEC or FINRA. A full bar represents 20+ years of experience. Please note that this metric does not reflect experience in the industry before registering with the SEC or FINRA and is not calculated from an advisor's work history or from the date of his/her passing industry exams. In addition, this metric does not include an advisor's experience in related industries such as law or accounting. Please see the Experience and Employment History section below for a more complete picture of his/her work experience, or contact the advisor directly to discuss his/her relevant experience.

  • How is an advisor's Designations metric calculated?

    The Designations metric is coming soon.

  • How is an advisor's Conduct metric calculated?

    BrightScope obtains customer dispute and termination data from an advisor's SEC and FINRA disclosures. An advisor without any dispute or termination information would receive a full bar. The length of the conduct bar shortens with each dispute or termination. BrightScope takes into account the advisor's years of experience in the industry. Additional years of experience will reduce the negative impact of a dispute or termination on an advisor's conduct metric. Roughly 11% of advisors in our database have customer disputes and roughly 1% of advisors have terminations. The disputes and terminations shown do not necessarily represent all disputes, terminations or legal proceedings in which a firm or advisor may have been involved or the resolutions thereof. Without limiting the generality of the preceding statement, they do not include criminal or civil proceedings. Some complaints filed by investors against firms/advisors are frivolous and are resolved without payment by the firm/advisor. For complete disclosure of disputes, terminations and legal proceedings, we encourage you to reference the firm's or advisor's filing(s) on FINRA's BrokerCheck at http://brokercheck.finra.org or in the SEC's Investment Advisor Public Disclosure (IAPD) database at http://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/IAPD/Content/Search/iapd_Search.aspx.

  • What is AUM?

    Assets Under Management (AUM) refers to the market value of assets that an investment company manages on behalf of investors. Changes in AUM can result from both capital appreciation/depreciation and inflow/outflow of client assets. Unless otherwise noted, the AUM figure is firm level data from the SEC and may not reflect all of the advisor's or firm's assets, and may not be an accurate representation of the individual advisor's own client base. We encourage you to contact this firm or advisor directly to discuss their AUM.

  • What is the Average Account Balance?

    Average Account Balance is the total AUM of the firm divided by the number of accounts listed on the ADV. This calculation is an estimate.

  • What is the Client Types pie chart?

    The Client Type pie chart displayed is firm level data as reported on the SEC ADV filing, and may not be an accurate representation of the individual advisor's own client base.

  • What is Experience and Employment History?

    The advisor's employment and personal history for the past ten (10) years. This information is taken from the SEC Form ADV filing and may not be representative of the advisor's full experience and employment history.

  • What is Licenses and Conduct?

    Licenses and disputes/terminations (if any) as reported by the SEC and/or FINRA. The disputes and terminations do not necessarily represent all disputes, terminations or legal proceedings in which a firm or advisor may have been involved or the resolutions thereof. Without limiting the generality of the preceding statement, they do not include criminal or civil proceedings. Some complaints filed by investors against firms/advisors are frivolous and are resolved without payment by the firm/advisor. For complete disclosure of disputes, terminations and legal proceedings, we encourage you to reference the firm's or advisor's filing(s) on FINRA's BrokerCheck at http://brokercheck.finra.org or in the SEC's Investment Advisor Public Disclosure (IAPD) database at http://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/IAPD/Content/Search/iapd_Search.aspx.

  • How will people find the Advisor Pages?

    Through the BrightScope website, extensive press coverage, and through the search results of prominent search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo.

  • What is your approach to customer service and data accuracy?

    We are committed to data accuracy and maintaining a high level of customer service. We would like to hear your feedback. Please use the Contact Us form in the footer to get in touch with us.

About BrightScope

  • How do I know BrightScope is truly independent?

    BrightScope is the only 401k analytics firm that is truly independent and does not accept compensation in the form of revenue sharing from mutual fund companies or plan providers. BrightScope is aligned with plan sponsors and seeks to avoid conflicts that will jeopardize its ability to give its clients unbiased advice. To learn more about our commitment to independence, please read our Research and Analytics Objectivity Policy.

  • What is the story behind the creation of BrightScope?

    BrightScope is an idea brought to life by two investment managers, and a long term HP engineering veteran. For years, the three had discussed the challenges human resource executives faced with 401k plan evaluation and benchmarking because benefits data has been controlled by a small group of companies that are not incentivized or governed by the same fiduciary standards that a plan sponsor must honor. Unfortunately, HR managers and senior executives had little they could do about it. Together the three founders of BrightScope set out to achieve a lofty dream: to enhance and protect the retirement security, health, and welfare of America's workforce by increasing the transparency and efficiency of the company benefits market. In 2007 they formed BrightScope and began to build the BrightScope RatingTM Engine. They spent the first year analyzing 401k filings and industry data and running 401k performance simulation tests. In 2008, the BrightScope team began constructing a user-friendly website and distribution platform. BrightScope.com publicly launched at the end of January 2009.