Your Rights and Protections When Working With a Financial Adviser

You can file complaints against financial advisers with government agencies or industry watchdogs.

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If you have any problems with an adviser or suspicions about his or her recommendations, you can contact the Securities and Exchange Commission’s office of investor assistance at 800-732-0330 to ask questions or file a complaint. You can also file a formal complaint online with the SEC. The SEC sends the complaint with a letter to the adviser, who is required to respond to the investor and the SEC in writing. A trade may be reversed, or there may be a settlement offer, or the complaint could go to arbitration or mediation. If the SEC sees multiple complaints about one adviser or firm, it may pass the information along to investigators, who in turn could take enforcement action.

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Lisa Gerstner
Editor, Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine

Lisa has been the editor of Kiplinger Personal Finance since June 2023. Previously, she spent more than a decade reporting and writing for the magazine on a variety of topics, including credit, banking and retirement. She has shared her expertise as a guest on the Today Show, CNN, Fox, NPR, Cheddar and many other media outlets around the nation. Lisa graduated from Ball State University and received the school’s “Graduate of the Last Decade” award in 2014. A military spouse, she has moved around the U.S. and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two sons.