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Sep 2, 2009 3:19 am

As soon as I read the Mark Matson thing, I thought… HACK… and then to read what they do and I don’t even understand the point.

Sep 2, 2009 10:43 am

We appreciate your post and I wanted to address one of the ‘misconceptions’ of our site.  You are correct that Consumers are wanting full background checks on their advisors/reps and many are learning that the information out there (FINRA, state sec. dept, etc) is not always correct since there have been so many cases in which advisors/reps have failed to ‘self report’ items on their U4.   As you yourself are probably aware, your b/d has probably never done a background check on you since you were licensed because you are ‘expected’ to report violations.  The sad part for good advisors like you and consumers is the ‘shady advisors’ out there do not report violations or they depend on the fact that there are really 8 places for consumers to go in order to find out all the facts on an advisor/rep.  Even then, the question of if the rep/advisor is having any personal financial issues is undetermined (liens, judgments, bankruptcy, foreclosure).  Consumers can go to a site like and pay $59 for a background check that is run by ‘name only’ so the reports can be rather unclear if you have the right person (ie, no ss# or dob to verify the search).  They also only report civil and criminal along with some ‘credit items.’  These checks are very inaccurate and frankly we believe Advisors/Reps would like a more controlled system in which their information is presented.  Reps/Advisors that are member ‘rave’ about how the ability to send consumers to our site

It is for this reason that AdvisorCheck or was created in order to give ‘Peace of Mind’ to consumers and return the industry to a higher level of disclosure and transparency.  As of August 25th, we began doing the background screenings FREE OF CHARGE to consumers and advisors (prior to that we asked the advisor to pay $50 and at the end the consumers name is released to them) knowing that the word of mouth would grow the company substantially and many advisors would end up becoming a member of AdvisorCheck (almost like the BBB) and support our cause to bring transparency and disclosure back to the industry.  Everyone agree’s the current system is broken.  In doing so, they position themselves as an open book and frankly are two steps ahead of other advisors.  Have advisors still refused to the free background checks?  Absolutely.  Why?  Many have been because they do have things on their FINRA report but others I would guess are refusing because they do have other issues.  An isolated few may have ‘privacy issues’ but all you need to do is go to the site I mentioned above–run a report on yourself—and you will see what privacy you really have.  There is no such thing as privacy in today’s technological world. 

So what do we tell consumers if a Rep refuses a FREE background check?  The advisor has declined to submit to a 100% Free Background Check…If that is extortion as someone noted in a post…the definition of the TRUTH has really changed.

And yes, if you google me you will find I am in the industry, am a registered investment advisor, real estate investor and entrepreneur.  Why do I believe in this and serve as the “Spokesman” for AdvisorCheck? Well yes I do get paid and have stock options but I’ve seen first hand how consumers have no idea who they’re dealing with and if they’d only do a little checking it could avoid potential issues.  How?  My parents lost over $100,000 to a rep. that was having financial difficulties and through my parents stupidity, wrote checks directly to him.  Would our system have caught it? Yes. Would the consumer (my parents) have listened and still used him?  Maybe but then if definately would be their fault…not the industry or the rep.
Here was one of our recent releases picked up by forbes on the system.

Who is wrong, you or your website?  You are saying that the background check is free for the advisor.  Your website says it is $189/year.  The only thing that is free is to be listed.   A clarification would be appreciated.
Sep 2, 2009 12:06 pm

Who cares who is wrong? This is a shameless attempt to make money. You want to change the industry, hire people who are ethical and ENFORCE it.

You can’t change something over night. You have to change it through reputation. What happens when a “shady advisor” has managed to avoid all of your other things.

What percentage of rapes aren’t reported? It’s a good bet that one of the advisors who has a clean background is a rapist.

What percentage of murderers aren’t caught? What percentage of thieves?

Your system is flawed for any number of reasons, but most importantly because it FORCES the advisors’ to do something to insure his/her livelihood. And that is completely wrong.

Go F**K yourself Brian.

Sep 2, 2009 1:49 pm

"Or was it the complaint filed against you with the Missourri Attorney Generals office. See link -"

I just emailed my states AG and the state’s securities division. I told them this is a form of extortion to get us to revel private information. My state is big on privacy laws.

I suggest everyone do the same. We can shut this down fairly quickly.

Did anyone check out Brian’s website bio. He had a child pass away on him. While, I don’t know how I would manage if one of my kids dies, I would NEVER use it on my website as a way to get clients to feel sorry for me. That is a very private matter. This guy is scum!!
(wow, this guy brings the worst of me out)

Sep 2, 2009 2:58 pm

Why do I believe in this and serve as the “Spokesman” for AdvisorCheck?
Well yes I do get paid and have stock options but I’ve seen first hand
how consumers have no idea who they’re dealing with and if they’d only
do a little checking it could avoid potential issues.  How?  My parents
lost over $100,000 to a rep. (Brian) that was having financial difficulties and
through my parents stupidity, wrote checks directly to him (Brian).  Would our
system have caught it? Yes(because it was Brian). Would the consumer (my parents) have
listened and still used him?(Yes, because it was Brian)  Maybe but then if definately would be
their fault(because it was Brian)…not the industry or the rep."

Sep 2, 2009 6:34 pm

Thank you to all who have posted and expressed valid concerns. To the others, let me see the constructive criticism and feedback we’ve received from this post thus far:

1. Go F**K yourself

2. Bryan stole his parents money

3. Your house is ugly

4. Bryan is a scum bag

5. My parents are morons.

6. Mark matson is a scum bag

7. Dimensional Fund Advisors stink

8. I don’t want people seeing my payments due, loans etc.

9. Bryan talks about his son that died so he must certainly be a scum bag.

So, as we continue on this journey to bring "Full Disclosure and Total Transparency’ to the market place some advisors have asked about pricing which is valid. Our 100% Free, Complete Background Checks are no charge to consumer and advisors. This applies for the 1st inquiry on an advisor. After using our service for the full disclosure and transparency, we would like to see the rep/advisor join our membership and that charge is $189 a year. We do co-op marketing on the radio with an advisor and various other things that help both entities get the word out about the advisor/reps transparency and the service we provide.

To the individual that noted or asked about ‘personal information,’ we DO NOT release anything of a personal nature. We ONLY report on criminal, civil, judgments, liens, bankruptcies and foreclosures–JUST LIKE A REP IS SUPPOSED TO DO WITH FINRA. So, there is really no reason to be upset with our service. Instead it should be embraced as something that will help you earn the trust consumers are looking for. The nice part is that by compiling the data at one source we can help the consumer and advisor/rep.

Finally, we have actually sent information to every state AG and Securities Dept. to see about working jointly with them to give consumers better assistance in checking on the backgrounds of reps/advisors. The complaint that was filed supposedly has never been addressed to us by the state so we are unaware of such a complaint. It can be noted that we have changed some of our processes after ‘constructive suggestions’ by consumers and advisors about our program. In many cases the feedback helped us better determine what worked and what did not. One item that we scrapped was a ‘feedback system’ such as this because we thought it might allow people to post ‘unfavorable’ comments on advisors/reps without a way to validate them. Due to advisor concerns we eliminated it.   We also added an option due to consumer feedback where the inquirer could pay for the report and remain anonymous (our regular process is after the checks are completed the advisor/rep gets the contact information for the consumer) Finally, we realize ‘privacy’ can always be an issue and our checks only require the last four of a social security number and these are ‘hidden’ in our system so no once can see them. We also ‘educate’ advisors/reps (due to advisor feedback) on how to put a ‘fraud alert’ on your credit reports to prevent unauthorized usage.

Again, thank you to all who actually have something constructive to say and we aim to answer each concern and improve our system to aid advisors/reps and consumers. Unlike others who remain ‘hidden’ so no one knows who they are, my name and contact information is shown directly below and feel free to contact me with suggestions.

[email protected]

Sep 2, 2009 6:42 pm

Why do 'you' insist on 'using' quote marks in 'every' fifth word? 

Sep 2, 2009 7:11 pm

I have a judgment for $450 on my background because I am a horrible golfer and got sued by a guy who lives on a golf course b/c I hit his car.

I got it reversed on appeal, but it still shows up. That doesn’t show up on a FINRA Brokercheck or any other kind of search and it shouldn’t.

Tell me how that makes me a “crooked” advisor. I don’t want someone to see that, because it is private and personal. Why should anybody but FINRA know about that?

Who’s next? What about a teacher that can’t manage his or her money and ends up with a bankruptcy on their record? Do parents need to know that?

You are what is wrong with this country. Your freedoms stop where my nose begins. As long as I disclose the information to my regulator, why do you need to be in my business? The answer: So you can make money off of me.

I have posted my ADV on my website and EVERY client gets a copy of it. “Full Disclosure and Transparency”? Give me a break.

Sep 2, 2009 7:20 pm

Madoff had a clean record before his 1st heist.  Would Brokercheck have stopped him?  Everyone’s a good guy until the 1st time they are caught screwing someone.  There’s no system that will prevent that from happening.  If you take away someones guns, they’ll kill you with grenades.  You take away their grenades, they’ll kill you with bombs.  If someone wants to launder a clients money or have clients write personal checks to them, they are going to find a way to do it. 

Sep 2, 2009 7:40 pm

If you are trying to clean things up, why not just set up the website as a non-profit, and direct them to the FINRA site where they can trace your CRD for no charge?  Same info, right?  Why does someone have to pay for that?  It’s still extortion. You’re simply finding a way to extort money out of advisors, plain and simple. 

Sep 2, 2009 7:52 pm

I am still waiting for an answer to this:

Bryan, maybe I wasn’t clear in my previous post, if you or your staff
are leading the consumer to make any conclusion by making disparaging
remarks about a SEC Advisor, because they did not purchase your
service, then you are rendering an opinion. To attempt to hide behind
“We are just doing background checks” is very disingenuous, and borders
on misrepresentation.

Again, if you are truly being only a
facilitator you must monitor your conduct in such a manner to leave the
consumer with a neutral opinion by making full and fair disclosure,
anything less most likley places you under SEC regulations. Call them,
provide them with copies of your previous correspondence, and relay to
them your previous remarks and how you relate information to consumers,
then they will let you know if you are exempt.

I checked with
our compliance department and they confirmed that they prohibit using
any outside referral service that is not SEC registered, so if you are
connecting a potential client with a SEC Registered Adviser that is
considered a referral.

As a matter of policy the Adviser is
also required to disclose they pay a referral fee and to whom in their
Part II ADV filed with the SEC.

You may want to call Jack
Waymire [[email protected]] as his firm (Paladin Registry) has
gone through this process and accepted the required fiduciary liability
and registered with the SEC.

We have used their service for
over two years and we pay a $40.00 per month fee to be listed, in
addition to supplying all the requested filing information each year
and file amending updates as necessary, and we also have to pay a
referral fee ($0-$40) for each client referred to us depending on the
source and how much they charge Paladin, we normally receive 2-4
referrals per month. Jack stated they had recently completed their SEC
audit and passed review with some minor changes suggested by the
auditors. For more information you can review their website at

I’m wondering why If you want to build this background check/referral
service and with most firms compliance blessing, why not accept
fiduciary standards of care and register with the SEC???

Sep 2, 2009 8:30 pm

If you are trying to clean things up, why not just set up the website as a non-profit, and direct them to the FINRA site where they can trace your CRD for no charge?  Same info, right?  Why does someone have to pay for that?  It’s still extortion. You’re simply finding a way to extort money out of advisors, plain and simple. 

Sep 2, 2009 8:48 pm


Sep 2, 2009 9:24 pm


  Quoted For Truth
Sep 2, 2009 10:24 pm

Great post and thanks for the information. I know the founders of the company and their securities attorney reviewed the paladin case and in their consultations the company is not involved in rendering judgment (just providing the facts) on anyone so the need for registering was not appropriate…The company only provides the background check and information.  Due to this and other good feedback, as I noted in the first post… our response to consumers if an advisor/rep fails to submit to a 100% free background check is that we let the consumer know that they declined to submit to a 100% Free Background Check.  We do encourage consumers to go to the FINRA site, state securities, insurance and etc but we do explain their limitations.  We also offer the Forbes, June 8th article ‘DIY SLEUTHING’  as additional resources on checking out your advisor.

Why don’t we just compile the public information?  #1 we still fall under FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act Standards) so we still need an advisor/reps authorizatin to compile even that data to protect against ‘bad information.’ As a note, any negative items are FIRST reported to the advisor/rep for clarification or for them to ‘dispute’ to any of the agencies.  #2, the information is really not accurate because of the ‘self reporting.’   Understand that the current system as I noted and most of you know is ‘self reporting’ so once you are licensed the only things that are added are incidents that you report.  Again, this problem (non reporting) is fairly rampant-- that is what our system hopes to eliminate.

For the advisors out there that do have minor issues, understand it is a great opportunity for you to POST A RESPONSE on your profile and clarify any issues. For instance, one advisor(that had a background request processed) was suspended for not getting a piece of advertising approved and the FINRA language makes him out to be chainsaw murderer.  We reported it in the manner in which it was and his compliance office ok’d his responses. We noted that he failed to have a piece of advertising approved prior to publication and was disciplined by having to serve a 30 day suspension.  In doing so, he fully complied with all conditions.  By doing this, we made it easier for the consumer to understand what happened instead of calling FINRA to find ‘he was suspended for 30 days due to a violation.’  To me, that is apalling and inaccurate and that is what we try to bring to consumers and advisors—the truth in an easy to understand manner.  In fact, this advisor loved it because he won the client with his transparency and our easy to understand explanation was much better that the FINRA jargon that would scare off most investors.

As a note because this was emailed to me, our checks on the criminal and civil do go back 7 years and the regulatory items go back 10 years. 

Sep 3, 2009 12:27 am

It’s extortion.  There’s no way around it.  Unless it’s public information that doesn’t need my approval to be released, then it’s extortion.  But by the very act of “requesting” my approval to release information to a 3rd party in order to secure business from them (no potential client will give business to an FA that refuses the release), it is, IN FACT, extortion.  You can twist it any freakin way you want.  Money magazine and all the other financial porn mags can say all they want, but none of them will view it from the advisor’s perspective.  FINRA has everything you need from me.  I don’t need to “exlain” on your stupid form about anything that FINRA is not entitled to.  You’re not my mortgage lender.  Don’t be diggin in my backyard.

Sep 3, 2009 1:34 am


PlPplease understand you are not dealing with idiots here. We advisors and RR’s are pretty sharp people by our nature, so dont think you are going to convince us that you are trying to make our industry better. Please see below, particularly items 2 and three.

YoYou are clearly not intending to help us, or our industry. Just call a spade a spade, will you?


1.<span style=“font-family: “Times New Roman”; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 7pt; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal;”>       1, “After using our service for the full
disclosure and transparency, we would like to see the rep/advisor join our
membership and that charge is $189 a year.”

Should read, “after using our service for the full disclosure and transparency, we tell the FA that if he doesn’t join our membership and pay us $189 a year we will make judgemental and disparaging remarks to his prospect about him.”

I suppose you decided that rather than extorting the FA without giving him a chance to use your service first, if you gave him a one time trial, and then tried to get him to pay you under threat of disparaging him to the public, makes you a good guy.


2.       Here is a quote from the article published in Investment News:

“In a copy of one e-mail intended for a consumer, which was provided to InvestmentNews by an adviser, AdvisorCheck wrote: “After contacting the adviser about the inquiry, he has unfortunately chosen not to allow us to disclose any of his background information to you. As you may be aware, to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, we must obtain a release from the adviser to disclose any data. We also encourage the adviser to become a member of AdvisorCheck to show his/her ‘Full Disclosure and Transparency' to consumers. The adviser has chosen not to do either. Hence we suggest you exercise caution in any dealings with this adviser.”

Can you deny or confirm  that such an email was ever sent by you?  If you are denying it, would you be interested in to Davis Janowski, the reporter that wrote the article, that he is writing an untruth? Because in his article he states that his publication has a copy of the email.

3.   3. “The complaint that was filed supposedly has never been addressed to us by the state so we are unaware of such a complaint”


The complaint was not “supposedly” filed, it was actually filed. And since you are unaware of such a complaint, see below, which was copied and pasted from the website of the Attorney General of the State of Missouri.


Company name, location and complaints filed

18 PR
PO BOX 805

Complaints found: 1
Complaints resolved successfully: 0

NOTE: "Complaints resolved successfully" means the consumer was offered something of value, such as a refund, services performed, a product or credit toward future purchases.

In the remaining complaints, negotiations are continuing or the business and the consumer were unable to reach agreement.  

      Complaint Category

Date Filed

       Online Services

Jul 22, 2009

Sep 3, 2009 1:57 am

This is a great thread, everyone really let this guy have it.  The more I read the more I realize this guy is a low level salesman/rep for the company who has no control over what they do.  If he was important he would not spend his day on this site defending the company will contradicting information.  As most of these “bright ideas” do they will fade away and nobody will remember them.  If a prospect looks you up, they will look up the next guy and realize nobody registers with them.  I can not imagine they have had success getting membership especially since someone pointed out most broker dealers would not approve. 

Sep 3, 2009 2:03 am

But i am sure we will hear tomorrow, from Brian, how sooo many advisors have signed up.
And how sooo many investors have been saved by their very civic minded service

I dont have time to go on this website during the day. Maybe i should get a internet PR job

Sep 3, 2009 2:20 am
(From the Advisorcheck website) A Word From the President Mike Dunlap's passion for investing led him on a path of working for Principal Financial Group for a number of years, until he had an 'awakening' moment and realized there were many people who were utterly lacking the knowledge and guidance necessary to achieve a successful retirement. In early 2000, Mike left Principal Financial and began The Senior Resource Center-St. Louis, which focused on helping retirees and individuals in need of advanced wealth transfer techniques not found in the normal planning process. Mike later co-partnered a new firm, Binkholder, Dunlap & Solomon   (From Bryan Binkholders Website) Bryan C. Binkholder is a Registered Investment Advisor and licensed under the State of Missouri Securities Department. The Financial Coach acts as a Registered Investment Advisor and offers discretionary investment services to a limited number of clients. The Financial Coach/Bryan C. Binkholder primarily acts as a Solicitor for Abundant Technologies Inc, a Federally Registered Investment Advisory Firm located in Cincinnati Ohio with over $2.8 Billion Dollars under management when dealing with investment planning and management. Abundant Technologies, Inc adheres strictly to the Modern Portfolio Theory and Efficient Frontier models utilizing DFA Structured Funds and Structured Investment Techniques.

In regard to solicitation, this communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the state of Missouri. All insurance related services and products are handled by Binkholder, Dunlap & Solomon, Inc (Furthermore known as “BDS”) a duly licensed entity in Missouri and holding a valid insurance agency license. Bryan C. Binkholder individually owns 50% ownership in BDS.   Yet another lie from Mr. one of the partners in the firm that you are a 50% shareholder in is also the President of AdvisorCheck?  Interesting.  So much for the "paid spokesman" angle.