Statement on FINRA Data Release
In late February, the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (Department) was notified by other state financial services regulators and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) that the personal information of certain investment professionals was inadvertently included in publicly available reports.
These reports were generated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for internal and external use, including for use by the Department to comply with requests under Pennsylvania’s Right to Know Law. Through NASAA, the Department is notifying all Pennsylvania residents who are potentially affected.
We have received no inquiries or complaints from individuals who may have been affected by this data release, nor is there any evidence of misuse of any of the personal information inadvertently disclosed.
The Department and the Wolf Administration take the security of personal information seriously, and are focused on working with FINRA and NASAA to resolve this issue.
Robin L. Wiessmann, Acting Secretary of Banking and Securities
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What happened?
A. On February 25, 2015, we were alerted of an issue with the Central Registration Depository (CRD) that prevented the masking of some personally identifiable information when certain reports are run in response to Pennsylvania Right to Know Law requests. As a result, some reports have inadvertently included personal identification information.
Q. What is the CRD?
A. The CRD is a web-based database administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and used by the securities industry and its regulators for the registration and licensing filings of broker-dealers and investment advisers and their registered personnel.
Q. Has the Department of Banking and Securities received any complaints or information that anyone has been harmed by this release?
Q. Is my information safe?
A. The Department of Banking and Securities and other state securities agencies take this matter seriously and have taken aggressive action in response. It is important to note that we have not received any complaints or evidence of misuse of any personal information inadvertently disclosed in the reports. We recommend that you remain vigilant to the possibility of fraud and identity theft by reviewing your credit card, bank or credit union, and other financial statements for unauthorized activity. Initial steps have been taken to address the disclosure of information in the reports. In addition, state securities regulators are working with FINRA to ensure the system works as intended and additional safeguards are in place. Please also note the other recommended actions set forth in your notification—if you received one, including requesting an individual report from FINRA and possibly placing a 90-day fraud alert on your credit file.
Q. How do I know if I am affected?
A. Letters were sent to those who we believe may have had personal information inadvertently disclosed. We encourage you to be vigilant with your financial accounts for the next 12 to 24 months, for example, by carefully reviewing your credit reports and bank, credit card and other account statements. If you discover suspicious activity on your credit report, your accounts or by any other means, you may wish to contact law enforcement or the state attorney general and file a police report of potential identity theft.
Q. What have you done to fix the issue?
A. As soon as we became aware of the situation, we immediately stopped using the report. In fact, access to the report has been suspended, and state regulators have requested that FINRA take all necessary steps to correct the report.
Q. Why did I get letters from more than one state?
A. Each state that made reports available is taking steps to notify those individuals who may potentially be affected by the disclosure. If you are registered in more than one state, you may be receiving multiple notifications. Please be advised however that all of the notices stem from the same incident.
Q. Who can I talk to about this?
A. If you are a Pennsylvania investment professional, you can contact Christine Hodge or Jocelyn Darrow in our Consumer Services office: 1-800-PA-BANKS (717-722-2657) or 717-787-1854. Members of the media can contact Ed Novak: 717-783-4721 (o) or 717-412-8107 (c).