State securities regulators in late December released their list of the top five threats facing investors, including the most problematic products, practices and schemes.
The North American Securities Administrators Association also announced in mid-December that because at least a third of state securities regulators’ enforcement actions involve schemes against senior investors, it has launched a website, ServeOurSeniors.org, to provide resources to seniors as well as family caregivers, the securities industry and policymakers.
The senior-focused website offers an interactive map to help users quickly and easily locate contact information for their jurisdiction’s securities regulator, adult protective services agency, and other governmental senior-related service providers.
NASAA as well as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) both released in 2015 proposed rules to give broker-dealers and advisors the power to place a temporary hold on disbursement of funds or securities from an elderly or mentally/physically handicapped customer’s account if there is a reasonable belief that the person is being financially exploited. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s investor advocate, Rick Fleming, said in early December that he was mulling a similar rule for registered investment advisors (RIAs).
In releasing its list of top investor threats, NASAA urged investors to be wary when approached with unsolicited investments, especially those involving promissory notes, oil and gas deals and real estate investment opportunities, including non-traded real estate investment trusts.
“Investing is serious business,” said Judith Shaw, NASAA president and Maine Securities Administrator, in announcing the top threat list. “Education and information are an investor’s best defense against investment fraud.”
The following were cited most often by state securities regulators as the five most problematic products, practices or schemes.