From the May 2006 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Group Think

On March 29, NASD Executive VP of Regulatory Policy and Oversight Elisse Walter testified before the Senate Committee on Aging regarding investment fraud targeting the elderly. Walter outlined the NASD's initiative with the SEC and Florida Office of Financial Regulation to help educate senior investors, as well as inspect firms to determine whether they are complying with the appropriate rules when conducting sales seminars...

At the same Senate Committee on Aging hearing, NASAA President Patricia Struck (below) identified three schemes that have been taking place at senior seminars: improperly qualified "senior specialists;" the sale of variable annuities for steep commissions; and unlicensed sellers offering unregistered securities to seniors. Meanwhile, amid concern that Congressional data security bills could diminish state regulators' role in ensuring investor privacy and protection from identity theft, Struck wrote a letter to the House Committee on Financial Services urging that any preemption of state law be as minimal as possible. "The level of federal preemption in the various data security breach bills varies from a narrowly focused preemption to a near total preemption of state laws in the privacy area," Struck wrote. ...

The FPA filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington D.C. Court on March 23, challenging the SEC's final "Merrill Lynch" rule. The brief argues that the SEC appears more concerned with protecting broker/dealers than with protecting the investing public by allowing brokers to offer the same advisory services as RIAs...

In testimony before the House Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises, Rebecca McEnally, (left) the CFA Center's director of capital markets, testified that financial reporting must be overhauled to ensure that investors are given accurate and not misleading information. "The corporate reporting scandals and bankruptcies over the past few years underscored how crucial clear, accurate, and complete financial reporting is to the health and well-being of our financial markets," she said...

The Foundation for Investor Education, the non-profit affiliate of the SIA, will honor Roger Ferguson, Jr., vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, at its Annual Tribute Dinner on May 18 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. --Ryan G. Murphy

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