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Complaints & Enforcement

Instructions for Filing Broker-Dealer / Investment Adviser Complaints

Complaints about a broker-dealer or investment adviser are initially investigated by the staff of the Professional Registration and Compliance Bureau. If you would like to initiate a complaint against a registered broker-dealer, securities agent, investment adviser or investment adviser representative, you may do so in the following ways:

  • It is always recommended that you first submit a written complaint with the broker-dealer or investment adviser firm which handles your account. Your letter should include information on the problem you have experienced, how you have tried to resolve it, and what you would like to obtain in terms of a settlement, adjustment, or other resolution. Such letters should be addressed to the branch office manager, if there is one, or to the firm’s compliance department at the home office. You can then send a copy of that correspondence to the Division of Securities as your complaint filing with us.
  • If you have not sent a written complaint to the firm, you may still send a written complaint to the Division of Securities detailing the activity in question. You should provide as much detail about conversations or transactions as you can, in simple narrative form. Be sure to identify the individuals you dealt with in the transaction or with whom you have already addressed the problem.

In either of the above filing methods, you should also forward to the Division of Securities copies (not originals) of your monthly statements or confirmations showing any transactions in question, plus copies of any correspondence or other documents that help to explain the problem or your attempts at resolution.

Your complaint should be mailed to:

Department of Financial Institutions
Division of Securities, Registration & Compliance Bureau
PO Box 1768
Madison, WI    53701-1768.

If you believe that you have been harmed by a broker-dealer, securities agent, investment adviser, or investment adviser representative, you may choose to pursue arbitration or mediation. The Division has prepared a brochure (Resolving Disputes) that summarizes those alternatives. You may also refer to your account agreement for information on how to proceed.

The more information you give us, the better we will be able to investigate. If you have questions, contact us at:

(608) 266-2139    or    e-mail

A toll-free number is available to individuals calling within the State of Wisconsin: 1-800-472-4325

To file your complaint, you may print it and mail it to the Division, together with any supporting documentation, or you may e-mail it with scanned copies of documents.

We will acknowledge receipt of your inquiry or complaint. If your inquiry or complaint is outside our jurisdiction or may be better handled by another regulatory agency, we will forward it on your behalf and inform you of our having done so. If there is nothing that can be done (for example, if the problem is simply that your investment lost money or earned less than you expected because of market forces), we will inform you of this. If there is a possible violation, we will commence an investigation, in which case you will be advised of any action taken once the investigation has been completed. In certain cases such as where a complaint involves a registrant, the Division may ask the entity and/or person you are complaining about to respond to the staff or may make other inquiries concerning your complaint.