This month, the SEC approved a FINRA rule change proposal that will increase the regulator's ability to disclose disciplinary complaints and information about brokers and firms. Under amended Rule 8313(a), FINRA will release to the public a copy of, and in FINRA’s discretion, information with respect to any disciplinary complaint or disciplinary decision it issues. Further, subject to limited exceptions, FINRA would release such information in unredacted form. This would include, it appears, disciplinary complaints against a broker or firm that are proven to be without merit. A copy of the SEC's order approving the rule change can be found here.
Information about many disciplinary complaints already are disclosed through the Brokercheck system, with a lot of the disclosed data being drawn from U4 filings. Under the new rule, the complaints themselves may be released, and FINRA would also be authorized to disclose more details through its monthly notices of actions and through the online disciplinary actions database. The SEC believes that the amendment will "promote transparency." It is also easy to see that many folks will bristle at the idea of unproven allegations being published, or complaints being published when the charges were withdrawn or dismissed.
The effective date of the amendment will be published in a forthcoming regulatory notice from FINRA.