The stockbroker sitting across thedesk when you sit down to discussyour investments may be squeakyclean, or could have a history of customercomplaints, job changes, anddisciplinary actions that you have noclue about. Finding out about anydark clouds in your broker's backgroundisn't easy—1 place to check iswith the National Association ofSecurities Dealers (NASD; 800-289-9999; www.nasd.com). But recordsthere aren't always current or complete.Some wayward brokers buy akind of silence by offering a settlementin exchange for an investor'sagreement that any record of thearbitration be deleted. The NASDwould like to see Web sites withmore complete information, but itis facing tough opposition from theindustry. Many observers think theSEC or Congress must get involvedbefore consumers will getan easier, more thorough methodfor checking on brokers.