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Investor Alerts and Bulletins

Investor Alerts and Bulletins

 

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy provides a variety of services and tools to address problems you may face as an investor. Investor Alerts, focused on recent investment frauds and scams, and Investor Bulletins, focused on topical issues including recent Commission actions, are provided as a service to investors. They are neither legal interpretations nor statements of SEC policy. If you have questions concerning the meaning or application of a particular law or rule, please consult with an attorney who specializes in securities law. Subscribe to get Investor Alerts and Bulletins by email.


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Date Title Category
Dec. 15, 2014 Investor Bulletin: Brokers’ Miscellaneous Fees
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this bulletin to make investors aware of the miscellaneous fees charged by some brokers.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Nov. 20, 2014 Investor Alert: Investment Scams Involving Ebola-Related Companies
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about investment scams involving companies that claim their products or services relate to Ebola.
Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Nov. 12, 2014 Updated Investor Alert: Social Media and Investing - Avoiding Fraud
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help investors be better aware of fraudulent investment schemes that may involve social media. U.S. retail investors are increasingly turning to social media, including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online networks for information about investing. Whether it be for research on particular stocks, background information on a broker-dealer or investment adviser, guidance on an overall investing strategy, up-to-date news, or to simply discuss the markets with others, social media has become a key tool for U.S. investors.
Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Oct. 30, 2014 Dormant Shell Companies – How to Protect Your Portfolio from Fraud
FINRA and the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy are issuing this alert to warn investors that some low-priced “penny” stocks that are aggressively promoted may in fact be stocks of dormant shell companies – companies that have no or nominal business operations or non-cash assets for an extended period of time. Many dormant shell companies that continue to trade in the over-the-counter (OTC) market are susceptible to market manipulation. This alert follows action by the SEC to suspend trading in 255 dormant shell companies in February 2014 and subsequent suspensions of other thinly traded penny stocks.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Oct. 22, 2014 Investor Bulletin: SEC Investigations
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors with a general overview of how the SEC’s Division of Enforcement conducts investigations.
Enforcement
Oct. 2, 2014 Investor Bulletin: Savings and Investing Basics for Military Personnel
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help military personnel make more informed savings and investing decisions and avoid common scams. Below is a list of ten suggestions that may help military personnel – and any investor – make better investments and avoid fraud.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Sept. 24, 2014 Investor Bulletin: Private Placements Under Regulation D
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about investing in unregistered securities offerings, or private placements, under Regulation D of the Securities Act.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Sept. 9, 2014 Investor Alert: Be on the Lookout for Advance Fee Fraud
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help educate investors about advance fee fraud.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Aug. 20, 2014 Investor Bulletin: Trading Suspensions
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about the SEC’s rules and regulations related to trading suspensions. The federal securities laws generally allow the SEC to suspend trading in any stock for up to ten business days. This bulletin answers some of the typical questions we receive from investors about trading suspensions. A list of companies whose stock is currently subject to an SEC trading suspension, or which previously has been subject to an SEC trading suspension, may be found here.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Aug. 18, 2014 Investor Bulletin: How to Check Out Your Financial Professional
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this investor bulletin to provide investors with resources to check out a financial professional’s background.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Aug. 4, 2014 Investor Alert: 10 Red Flags That an Unregistered Offering May Be a Scam
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help investors identify potentially fraudulent unregistered offerings.
Investor Education and Advocacy
July 25, 2014 Investor Alert: Social Media and Investing -- Stock Rumors
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (“OIEA”) is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about fraudsters who may attempt to manipulate share prices by using social media to spread false or misleading information about stocks.
Investor Education and Advocacy
July 17, 2014 Investor Bulletin: Ten Things You Should Know About Investing
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors basic information that may help them make informed financial decisions and avoid common scams.
Investor Education and Advocacy
July 11, 2014 Updated Investor Alert: SEC Warns of Fake Correspondence
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this updated Investor Alert to warn investors that fraudsters may use fake SEC correspondence as part of a scam to steal your money (including phony letters using the SEC seal and purporting to be signed by SEC Inspector General Carl Hoecker).
Investor Education and Advocacy
June 27, 2014 Investor Bulletin: Transferring Your Investment Account
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about transferring an investment account from one investment firm to another and to provide tips on how to avoid problems and delays.
Investor Education and Advocacy
June 18, 2014 Investor Alert: Affinity Fraud
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help educate investors about affinity fraud, a type of investment scam that preys upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities or the elderly.
Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
June 16, 2014 Investor Bulletin: Behavioral Patterns of U.S. Investors
In 2010, the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy asked the Library of Congress’s Federal Research Division to prepare a report on behavioral traits of U.S. investors (Report). We are issuing this Investor Bulletin to remind investors about the Report’s findings and highlight the investing behaviors identified in the study that can undermine investment performance.
Investor Education and Advocacy
June 11, 2014 INVESTOR ALERT: Check out Your Financial Professional
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help investors identify and be aware of financial professionals that may have a history of misconduct.
Investor Education and Advocacy
June 9, 2014 Investor Bulletin: Lost and Stolen Securities
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about lost and stolen securities and the Commission’s Lost and Stolen Securities Program (“LSSP”), a database for securities certificates reported lost, stolen, missing, or counterfeit.
Investor Education and Advocacy
June 5, 2014 INVESTOR BULLETIN: Bank Sweep Programs
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about bank sweep programs, which some broker-dealers offer to their customers as a way to manage cash in their brokerage accounts. This Investor Bulletin describes some of the potential risks associated with bank sweep programs and suggests questions you may want to consider asking your broker-dealer to help you decide how to best manage the cash in your brokerage account.
Investor Education and Advocacy
June 2, 2014 INVESTOR ALERT: INVESTMENT NEWSLETTERS USED AS TOOLS FOR FRAUD
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help investors avoid fraudulent schemes that may be carried out through investment newsletters.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Enforcement
Investment Management
May 21, 2014 Investor Bulletin: What is IAPD (Investment Adviser Public Disclosure)?
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors with a short overview of the SEC’s IAPD database. For additional information about IAPD, please visit the IAPD website on SEC.gov. For information about checking out the background of financial professionals more generally, please see our Investor Bulletin, Top Tips for Selecting a Financial Professional.
Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
May 16, 2014 INVESTOR ALERT: MARIJUANA-RELATED INVESTMENTS
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about potential risks involving investments in marijuana-related companies.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Enforcement
Corporation Finance
Trading and Markets
May 12, 2014 Investor Bulletin - Mutual Fund Fees and Expenses (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to explain some of the most common mutual fund fees and expenses. As a general introduction to mutual fund fees and expenses, this Investor Bulletin does not identify all of the fees that you may pay to buy and own shares in a mutual fund. This Investor Bulletin will, however, familiarize you with some typical mutual fund fees and expenses and show you how those fees and expenses reduce the value of your fund’s investment return.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Investment Management
May 7, 2014 INVESTOR ALERT: BITCOIN AND OTHER VIRTUAL CURRENCY-RELATED INVESTMENTS
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to make investors aware about the potential risks of investments involving Bitcoin and other forms of virtual currency.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Corporation Finance
Enforcement
March 20, 2014 INVESTOR ALERT: BEWARE OF FALSE CLAIMS OF SEC REGISTRATION
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about potentially fraudulent investment schemes that involve individuals or firms misrepresenting that they are registered with the SEC. Investors should be careful to check the background, including license and registration status, of any person who tries to sell them an investment product or service, and should avoid investing with anyone who falsely represents that they are registered with the SEC.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Corporation Finance
Enforcement
March 11, 2014 How to Open a Brokerage Account
The Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help you understand what to expect when opening a brokerage account, including what information you will need to provide, what decisions you will be asked to make, and what questions you should ask your broker.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Feb. 1, 2014 Investor Bulletin: How Fees and Expenses Affect Your Investment Portfolio
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this bulletin to educate investors about how fees can impact the value of an investment portfolio.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Feb. 1, 2014 Variable Annuities: —An Introduction (pdf)
This SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy Investor Bulletin provides some basic facts about variable annuities and how they work. Variable annuities are complex products, and this Investor Bulletin focuses solely on the basics.
Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Nov. 1, 2013 Delinquent Filings
The Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors with information on the SEC's Delinquent Filings Program.
Enforcement
Trading and Markets
Corporation Finance
Oct. 1, 2013 Investment Scams Exploit Immigrant Investor Program
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are jointly issuing this Investor Alert to warn individual investors about fraudulent investment scams that exploit the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as "EB-5."
Enforcement
Oct. 1, 2013 SEC Warns of Fake Correspondence
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about fraudulent solicitations using correspondence claiming to be from SEC staff and Commissioners (including phony letters using the SEC seal and purporting to be signed by Commissioner Daniel Gallagher).
Enforcement
Oct. 1, 2013 Beware of Pyramid Schemes Posing as Multi-Level Marketing Programs
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn individual investors about pyramid schemes, a type of investment scam that fraudsters often pitch as a legitimate business opportunity in the form of multi-level marketing programs.
Enforcement
Oct. 1, 2013 The ABCs of Credit Ratings (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and Office of Credit Ratings are issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about credit ratings.
Trading and Markets
Sept. 1, 2013 Accredited Investors (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate individual investors about what it means to be an “accredited investor.”
Investment Management
Corporation Finance
Sept. 1, 2013 Advertising for Unregistered Securities Offerings (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to educate individual investors about advertisements and announcements for investment opportunities in certain securities offerings. General advertising is permitted in certain offerings as a result of rules adopted by the SEC as required by the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act.
Investment Management
Corporation Finance
Sept. 1, 2013 Making Sense of Financial Professional Titles (pdf)
The Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) are jointly issuing this Investor Bulletin to help investors better understand the titles used by financial professionals. The requirements for obtaining and using these titles vary widely, from rigorous to nothing at all. To use certain titles, a financial professional may need to pass exams, meet ethical standards, have relevant work experience, and undertake continuing education. Other titles, however, may be obtained with little time, effort, and experience.
Aug. 1, 2013 Understanding Margin Accounts (pdf)
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about the use of margin accounts.
Trading and Markets
July 1, 2013 Ponzi Schemes Using Virtual Currencies (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this investor alert to warn individual investors about fraudulent investment schemes that may involve Bitcoin and other virtual currencies.
Enforcement
June 1, 2013 Don't Trade on Pump-And-Dump Stock Emails
FINRA and the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy are issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors to be on the lookout for email spam promoting “pump-and-dump” stock scams.
Enforcement
June 1, 2013 Beware Investment Offers Implying SEC Endorsement
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help investors identify fraudulent investment offers made by firms purporting to have met with the SEC, including in international locations (such as Dubai). SEC staff is aware of a number of fraudulent schemes where the person offering the so-called investment refers to meetings with the SEC as a way of convincing potential investors that the fraudulent investment opportunity is legitimate. The SEC does not "approve" or "endorse" any particular securities, issuers, products, services, professional credentials, firms, or individuals, and does not allow private entities to use its government seal.
Enforcement
June 1, 2013 Binary Options and Fraud (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Office of Consumer Outreach (CFTC) are issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about fraudulent promotion schemes involving binary options and binary options trading platforms. These schemes allegedly involve, among other things, the refusal to credit customer accounts or reimburse funds to customers, identity theft, and manipulation of software to generate losing trades.
Enforcement
June 1, 2013 What Are Corporate Bonds? (pdf)
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to offer basic information about corporate bonds.
Corporation Finance
June 1, 2013 What Are High-yield Corporate Bonds? (pdf)
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate individual investors about high-yield corporate bonds, also called "junk bonds." While they generally offer a higher yield than investment-grade bonds, high-yield bonds also carry a higher risk of default.
Corporation Finance
June 1, 2013 Interest Rate Risk -— When Interest Rates Go Up, Prices of Fixed-Rate Bonds Fall (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to make investors aware that market interest rates and bond prices move in opposite directions—for example, when market interest rates go up, prices of fixed-rate bonds fall.
Corporation Finance
May 1, 2013 Private Oil and Gas Offerings (pdf)
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this alert to educate individual investors about certain risks and possible fraudulent activity involving private offerings of securities for oil and gas ventures.
Enforcement
Corporation Finance
May 1, 2013 SEC Warns of Bogus Securities Regulators Soliciting Investors
Securities and Exchange Commission staff is issuing this Investor Alert in response to a number of fraudulent solicitations currently underway that purport to be affiliated with or sponsored by the federal government and legitimate securities regulators. If you are contacted by an organization calling itself the "Chicago Division of Securities," the "Division of Securities, Chicago Illinois," the "Federal Division of Securities, New York" or the "New York Securities Division," be aware that they are not affiliated with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are not legitimate securities regulators. They are scams.
Enforcement
May 1, 2013 Pension or Settlement Income Streams (pdf)
What You need to Know Before Buying or selling Them. Do you receive a monthly pension from a former employer? Are you getting regular distributions from a settlement following a personal injury lawsuit? If so, you may be targeted by salespeople offering you a lump sum today to buy the rights to some or all of the payments you would otherwise receive in the future. Retired government employees and retired members of the military are among those being approached with such offers. Typically the lump sum offered will be less—sometimes much less—than the total of the periodic payments you would otherwise receive...
April 1, 2013 SEC Warns of Government Impersonators (Updated)
Enforcement
April 1, 2013 How to Read a Mutual Fund Shareholder Report (pdf)
Mutual funds that are registered with the SEC must send reports to their shareholders on a semiannual basis. the semiannual report covers the first six months of the fund's fiscal year, while the annual report covers the fund's entire fiscal year. Mutual funds that are registered with the seC prepare their own shareholder reports and file them with the seC. so long as these funds disclose the information that the seC requires in the shareholder report, they can decide how to organize and present the information within the report.
Investment Management
March 1, 2013 Custody of Your Investment Assets
SEC-registered investment advisers who have custody of their clients’ funds or securities must safeguard those funds as required by the SEC’s “custody rule.” The custody rule is designed to provide additional safeguards for investors against the possibility of theft or misappropriation by investment advisers who are registered with the SEC. Despite the protections offered by the custody rule, investors still need to be proactive in ensuring the safety of their investments.
Investment Management
Feb. 1, 2013 Insider Transactions and Forms 3, 4, and 5 (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about SEC Forms 3, 4, and 5. The federal securities laws require certain individuals (such as officers, directors, and those that hold more than 10% of any class of a company’s securities, together we’ll call, “insiders”) to report purchases, sales, and holdings of their company’s securities by filing Forms 3, 4, and 5.
Corporation Finance
Feb. 1, 2013 Investing in an IPO (pdf)
Historically, an initial public offering, or IPO, has referred to the first time a company offers its shares of capital stock to the general public. Under the federal securities laws, a company may not lawfully offer or sell shares unless the transaction has been registered with the SEC or an exemption applies...
Corporation Finance
Dec. 1, 2012 Municipal Bonds - Understanding Credit Risk (pdf)
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about assessing credit risks they face when purchasing municipal bonds, which may also be called notes or certificates of participation. Credit risk—or default risk—is the risk that interest and/or principal on the securities will not be paid on time and in full. Investors need to know who is responsible for repayment of the securities and the financial condition of that entity to assess the credit risk and decide whether to purchase the securities. It is important to look beyond the short-hand label given to a municipal bond, such as "general obligation bond" or "revenue bond," or the bond's credit rating. Investors should read the disclosure document, known as the "official statement," which provides important details about the offering, including the factors described below.
Trading and Markets
Corporation Finance
Dec. 1, 2012 Year-End Investment Considerations for Individual Investors (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) are issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide individual investors with a few suggestions for year-end investment planning as the year draws to a close.
Dec. 1, 2012 13 Things Everyone Should Know About Investing (pdf)
Whether you’re a first-time investor or have been investing for many years, there is some basic information you should know about investing. Below is a list of thirteen pieces of investing-related information that may help you make informed financial decisions and avoid common scams.
Nov. 1, 2012 Be on the Lookout for Investment Scams Related to Hurricane Sandy
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help educate investors, including individuals who may receive lump sum payouts from insurance companies and others following Hurricane Sandy, about investment fraud.
Enforcement
Nov. 1, 2012 SEC Warns of Government Impersonators
SEC staff is issuing this updated Investor Alert because we are aware of continuing fraudulent solicitations that purport to be affiliated with or sponsored by the Securities and Exchange Commission (including a recent bogus email scam using the name of Lori Schock, Director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy).
Oct. 1, 2012 Hedge Funds (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate individual investors about hedge funds.
Investment Management
Sept. 1, 2012 Investor Bulletin: Top Tips for Selecting a Financial Professional
Choosing a financial professional-whether a stockbroker, a financial planner, or an investment adviser-is an important decision. Consider the tips below as you make your choice. Also the third page of this document has a list of questions you can ask a financial professional whose services you are considering.
Investor Education and Advocacy
Sept. 1, 2012 Affinity Fraud (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help educate investors about affinity fraud, a type of investment scam that preys upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities or the elderly.
Enforcement
Sept. 1, 2012 Lost and Stolen Securities (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about lost and stolen securities and the Commission’s Lost and Stolen Securities Program (“LSSP”), a database for securities certificates reported lost, stolen, missing, or counterfeit.
Trading and Markets
Sept. 1, 2012 How to Read Confirmation Statements (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide you with guidance on how to read confirmation statements.
Trading and Markets
Aug. 1, 2012 Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) (pdf)
This Investor Bulletin discusses only ETFs that are registered as open-end investment companies or unit investment trusts under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (the “1940 Act”). It does not address other types of exchange-traded products that are not registered under the 1940 Act, such as exchange traded commodity funds or exchange-traded notes.
Investment Management
Aug. 1, 2012 American Depositary Receipts (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about American Depositary Receipts (“ADRs”). An ADR is a security that represents shares of non-U.S. companies that are held by a U.S. depositary bank outside the United States (“U.S.”).
Corporation Finance
July 1, 2012 New Measures to Address Market Volatility
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to inform investors of recent safeguards approved by the SEC to address market volatility in U.S. equity markets. On May 31, 2012, the SEC approved a new “Limit Up-Limit Down” mechanism to address market volatility by preventing trades in listed equity securities when triggered by large, sudden price moves in an individual stock. Additionally, the SEC approved proposed rule changes that modify existing circuit breaker procedures related to market-wide trading halts.
July 1, 2012 International Investing (pdf)
Individual investors in the United States have access to a wide selection of investment opportunities, including international investments. The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about international investing. This Investor Bulletin describes ways individual investors may obtain information about international investments— including special factors to consider when investing internationally.
June 1, 2012 Municipal Bonds
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about assessing credit risks they face when purchasing municipal bonds, which may also be called notes or certificates of participation. Credit risk—or default risk—is the risk that interest and/or principal on the securities will not be paid on time and in full. Investors need to know who is responsible for repayment of the securities and the financial condition of that entity to assess the credit risk and decide whether to purchase the securities. It is important to look beyond the short-hand label given to a municipal bond, such as "general obligation bond" or "revenue bond," or the bond's credit rating. Investors should read the disclosure document, known as the "official statement," which provides important details about the offering, including the factors described below.
Trading and Markets
May 1, 2012 Trading Suspensions (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about the SEC’s rules and regulations related to trading suspensions. The federal securities laws generally allow the SEC to suspend trading in any stock for up to ten business days. This bulletin answers some of the typical questions we receive from investors about trading suspensions.
Trading and Markets
May 1, 2012 DTC Chills and Freezes (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about the effects of chills and freezes on an investor’s ability to hold and trade securities. A “chill” is a limitation of certain services available for a security on deposit at The Depository Trust Company (“DTC”). A “freeze,” formally referred to as a “global lock,” is a complete restriction on all DTC services for a particular security on deposit at DTC.
Trading and Markets
May 1, 2012 Social Media and Investing - Tips for Seniors (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide seniors who use social media with a few tips to help them do so more safely and to help them avoid investment fraud.
May 1, 2012 How to Read an 8-K (pdf)
A company has just released its quarterly earnings. Another company has auditor news that could raise a red flag, and a third company is filing for bankruptcy. Where can you find more facts? Information about these events and many more are found in a document called a current report on Form 8-K.
Corporation Finance
April 1, 2012 CMKM Diamonds Investors
Enforcement
April 1, 2012 Pre-IPO Investment Scams
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this updated Investor Alert to warn investors about investment scams that purport to offer investors the opportunity to buy pre-IPO shares of companies, including social media and technology companies such as Facebook and Twitter. SEC staff is aware of a number of complaints and inquiries about these types of frauds, which may be promoted on social media and internet sites, by telephone, email, in person, or by other means.
March 1, 2012 Voting in Annual Shareholder Meetings - What's New in 2012 (pdf)
Over the next few months, investors can expect to receive proxy materials for annual shareholder meetings or a related notice advising shareholders how they can access these materials. Shareholder voting typically takes place at the annual shareholder meeting, which most U.S. public companies hold each year between March and June.
Feb. 1, 2012 Investors Beware of Government Impersonators
Enforcement
Feb. 1, 2012 SEC Warns of Government Impersonators (pdf)
SEC staff is issuing this updated Investor Alert because we are aware of continuing fraudulent solicitations that purport to be affiliated with or sponsored by the Securities and Exchange Commission (including a recent bogus email scam using the name of Lori Schock, Director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy).
Jan. 1, 2012 Social Media and Investing - Avoiding Fraud (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help investors be better aware of fraudulent investment schemes that may involve social media. U.S. retail investors are increasingly turning to social media, including Facebook,YouTube,Twitter, LinkedIn and other online networks for information about investing. Whether it be for research on particular stocks, background information on a broker-dealer or investment adviser, guidance on an overall investing strategy, up-to-date news, or to simply discuss the markets with others, social media has become a key tool for U.S. investors....
Enforcement
Jan. 1, 2012 Social Media and Investing -– Understanding Your Accounts (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors with tips they should consider when establishing an account on a social media website. Investors’ use of Facebook,Twitter and other social media websites as an investing tool has increased substantially in recent years. Investors who use social media websites for investing should be mindful of the various features on these websites in order to protect their privacy and help avoid fraud.
Dec. 1, 2011 Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) (pdf)
Real estate investment trusts (“REITs”) have been around for more than fifty years. Congress established REITs in 1960 to allow individual investors to invest in large-scale, income-producing real estate. REITs provide a way for individual investors to earn a share of the income produced through commercial real estate ownership – without actually having to go out and buy commercial real estate.
Investment Management
Corporation Finance
Dec. 1, 2011 Transition of Mid-Sized Investment Advisers from Federal to State Registration (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to make investors aware of upcoming changes in the registration rules for some investment advisers.
Investment Management
Dec. 1, 2011 12 Saving and Investing Tips for 2012
Some suggestions on how to become a smarter investor in 2012.
Oct. 1, 2011 Investment Seminars –- Trading Seminar Fraud
Enforcement
Oct. 1, 2011 The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act -– Prohibition of the Payment of Bribes to Foreign Officials
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) generally prohibits the bribing of foreign officials. The FCPA also requires publicly traded companies to maintain accurate books and records and to have a sys-tem of internal controls sufficient to provide reason-able assurances that transactions are executed and assets are accounted for in accordance with management’s authorization and recorded as necessary to permit the preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (known as “GAAP”). The FCPA can apply to prohibited conduct anywhere in the world, even, in certain circumstances, where there is no U.S. territorial connection, and extends to publicly traded companies (“issuers”) and their officers, directors, employees, agents, and stockholders. Agents can include third party agents, consultants, distributors, joint-venture partners, and others.
Enforcement
Sept. 1, 2011 How to Read a 10-K (pdf)
If you want to follow or invest in a U.S. public company, you can find a wealth of information in the company’s annual report on Form 10-K. Among other things, the 10-K offers a detailed picture of a company’s business, the risks it faces, and the operating and financial results for the fiscal year. Company management also discusses its perspective on the business results and what is driving them.
Corporation Finance
Sept. 1, 2011 Self-Directed IRAs and the Risk of Fraud
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) are issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors of the potential risks associated with investing through self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts (self-directed IRAs).
Enforcement
Aug. 1, 2011 Investor Warning Regarding Possible Advance Fee Fraud Targeting Deaf Investors
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this update to alert investors, including deaf investors, about “Imperia Invest IBC” and similarly-named companies.
Enforcement
Aug. 1, 2011 New Stock-by-Stock Circuit Breakers
The Securities and Exchange Commission approved rules on Sept. 10, 2010, to expand the existing circuit breaker program that currently is triggered by large, sudden price moves in an individual stock. The new rules follow changes adopted on June 10, 2010, that impose a uniform market-wide pause in trading in individual stocks whose price moves 10% or more in a five-minute period. The trading pause, which was proposed by U.S. exchanges and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), initially was limited to stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, but has been extended to stocks in the Russell 1000 Index and to certain exchange-traded products.
Trading and Markets
July 1, 2011 Cobell Indian Trust Settlement Payout Recipients - Be on the Lookout for Investment Scams (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help educate investors, including individuals receiving lump sum payouts from the federal government in connection with the $3.4 billion Indian Trust Settlement, about potential investment frauds that target recipients of lump sum payouts.
Enforcement
July 1, 2011 Auction Rate Securities
July 1, 2011 Foreign Currency Exchange (Forex) Trading for Individual Investors
Individual investors who are considering participating in the foreign currency exchange (or “forex”) market need to understand fully the market and its unique characteristics. Forex trading can be very risky and is not appropriate for all investors.
Trading and Markets
June 1, 2011 Stanford Investors
On March 12, 2009, U.S. District Court Judge David C. Godbey issued an order at the request of Stanford court-appointed receiver Ralph S. Janvey unfreezing approximately 16,000 Stanford investor accounts at Pershing LLC and J.P. Morgan Clearing Corp., unless an exception described in the order applies.
Enforcement
June 1, 2011 Information for Stanford Investors
On March 12, 2009, U.S. District Court Judge David C. Godbey issued an order at the request of Stanford court-appointed receiver Ralph S. Janvey unfreezing approximately 16,000 Stanford investor accounts at Pershing LLC and J.P. Morgan Clearing Corp., unless an exception described in the order applies.
Enforcement
June 1, 2011 Early Retirement Seminars: Smart Tips for Spotting Retirement Scams
Enforcement
June 1, 2011 Spotlight on Proxy Matters
Corporation Finance
June 1, 2011 Structured Notes with Principal Protection: Note the Terms of Your Investment
The retail market for structured notes with principal protection has been growing in recent years. While these products often have reassuring names that include some variant of “principal protection,” “capital guarantee,” “absolute return,” “minimum return” or similar terms, they are not risk-free. Any promise to repay some or all of the money you invest will depend on the creditworthiness of the issuer of the note—meaning you could lose all of your money if the issuer of your note goes bankrupt.
Corporation Finance
June 1, 2011 Reverse Mergers
Many private companies, including some whose operations are located in foreign countries, seek to access the U.S. capital markets by merging with existing public companies. These transactions are commonly referred to as “reverse mergers” or “reverse takeovers (RTOs).”
Corporation Finance
May 1, 2011 After-Hours Trading (pdf)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about after-hours trading for stocks. After-hours trading, also known as extended-hours trading, refers to trading that occurs outside of regular trading hours. Regular trading hours for stocks traded on exchanges and certain other markets are from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. After-hours trading sessions may occur before or after regular trading hours. The duration of after-hours trading sessions varies between markets and trading venues. Investors should contact their brokerage firms to determine if and when after-hours trading sessions are available.
Trading and Markets
April 1, 2011 Indexed Annuities
An indexed annuity is a type of contract between you and an insurance company. During the accumulation period – when you make either a lump sum payment or a series of payments – the insurance company credits you with a return that is based on changes in a securities index, such as the S&P 500 Composite Stock Price Index. Indexed annuity contracts also provide that the contract value will be no less than a specified minimum, regardless of index performance. After the accumulation period, the insurance company will make periodic payments to you under the terms of your contract, unless you choose to receive your contract value in a lump sum.
Investment Management
March 18, 2011 Pre-IPO Investment Scams
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this updated Investor Alert to warn investors about investment scams that purport to offer investors the opportunity to buy pre-IPO shares of companies, including social media and technology companies such as Facebook and Twitter. SEC staff is aware of a number of complaints and inquiries about these types of frauds, which may be promoted on social media and internet sites, by telephone, email, in person, or by other means.
Enforcement
  
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Date

Date: Dec. 15, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: Brokers’ Miscellaneous Fees

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Nov. 20, 2014

Title: Investor Alert: Investment Scams Involving Ebola-Related Companies

Category: Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Nov. 12, 2014

Title: Updated Investor Alert: Social Media and Investing - Avoiding Fraud

Category: Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Oct. 30, 2014

Title: Dormant Shell Companies – How to Protect Your Portfolio from Fraud

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Oct. 22, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: SEC Investigations

Category: Enforcement

Date: Oct. 2, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: Savings and Investing Basics for Military Personnel

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Sept. 24, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: Private Placements Under Regulation D

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Sept. 9, 2014

Title: Investor Alert: Be on the Lookout for Advance Fee Fraud

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Aug. 20, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: Trading Suspensions

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Aug. 18, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: How to Check Out Your Financial Professional

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Aug. 4, 2014

Title: Investor Alert: 10 Red Flags That an Unregistered Offering May Be a Scam

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: July 25, 2014

Title: Investor Alert: Social Media and Investing -- Stock Rumors

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: July 17, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: Ten Things You Should Know About Investing

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: July 11, 2014

Title: Updated Investor Alert: SEC Warns of Fake Correspondence

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: June 27, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: Transferring Your Investment Account

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: June 18, 2014

Title: Investor Alert: Affinity Fraud

Category: Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: June 16, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: Behavioral Patterns of U.S. Investors

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: June 11, 2014

Title: INVESTOR ALERT: Check out Your Financial Professional

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: June 9, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: Lost and Stolen Securities

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: June 5, 2014

Title: INVESTOR BULLETIN: Bank Sweep Programs

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: June 2, 2014

Title: INVESTOR ALERT: INVESTMENT NEWSLETTERS USED AS TOOLS FOR FRAUD

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy
Enforcement
Investment Management

Date: May 21, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: What is IAPD (Investment Adviser Public Disclosure)?

Category: Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: May 16, 2014

Title: INVESTOR ALERT: MARIJUANA-RELATED INVESTMENTS

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy
Enforcement
Corporation Finance
Trading and Markets

Date: May 12, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin - Mutual Fund Fees and Expenses (pdf)

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy
Investment Management

Date: May 7, 2014

Title: INVESTOR ALERT: BITCOIN AND OTHER VIRTUAL CURRENCY-RELATED INVESTMENTS

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy
Corporation Finance
Enforcement

Date: March 20, 2014

Title: INVESTOR ALERT: BEWARE OF FALSE CLAIMS OF SEC REGISTRATION

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy
Corporation Finance
Enforcement

Date: March 11, 2014

Title: How to Open a Brokerage Account

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets

Date: Feb. 1, 2014

Title: Investor Bulletin: How Fees and Expenses Affect Your Investment Portfolio

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Feb. 1, 2014

Title: Variable Annuities: —An Introduction (pdf)

Category: Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Nov. 1, 2013

Title: Delinquent Filings

Category: Enforcement
Trading and Markets
Corporation Finance

Date: Oct. 1, 2013

Title: Investment Scams Exploit Immigrant Investor Program

Category: Enforcement

Date: Oct. 1, 2013

Title: SEC Warns of Fake Correspondence

Category: Enforcement

Date: Oct. 1, 2013

Title: Beware of Pyramid Schemes Posing as Multi-Level Marketing Programs

Category: Enforcement

Date: Oct. 1, 2013

Title: The ABCs of Credit Ratings (pdf)

Category: Trading and Markets

Date: Sept. 1, 2013

Title: Accredited Investors (pdf)

Category: Investment Management
Corporation Finance

Date: Sept. 1, 2013

Title: Advertising for Unregistered Securities Offerings (pdf)

Category: Investment Management
Corporation Finance

Date: Sept. 1, 2013

Title: Making Sense of Financial Professional Titles (pdf)

Category:

Date: Aug. 1, 2013

Title: Understanding Margin Accounts (pdf)

Category: Trading and Markets

Date: July 1, 2013

Title: Ponzi Schemes Using Virtual Currencies (pdf)

Category: Enforcement

Date: June 1, 2013

Title: Don't Trade on Pump-And-Dump Stock Emails

Category: Enforcement

Date: June 1, 2013

Title: Beware Investment Offers Implying SEC Endorsement

Category: Enforcement

Date: June 1, 2013

Title: Binary Options and Fraud (pdf)

Category: Enforcement

Date: June 1, 2013

Title: What Are Corporate Bonds? (pdf)

Category: Corporation Finance

Date: June 1, 2013

Title: What Are High-yield Corporate Bonds? (pdf)

Category: Corporation Finance

Date: May 1, 2013

Title: Private Oil and Gas Offerings (pdf)

Category: Enforcement
Corporation Finance

Date: May 1, 2013

Title: SEC Warns of Bogus Securities Regulators Soliciting Investors

Category: Enforcement

Date: May 1, 2013

Title: Pension or Settlement Income Streams (pdf)

Category:

Date: April 1, 2013

Title: SEC Warns of Government Impersonators (Updated)

Category: Enforcement

Date: April 1, 2013

Title: How to Read a Mutual Fund Shareholder Report (pdf)

Category: Investment Management

Date: March 1, 2013

Title: Custody of Your Investment Assets

Category: Investment Management

Date: Feb. 1, 2013

Title: Insider Transactions and Forms 3, 4, and 5 (pdf)

Category: Corporation Finance

Date: Feb. 1, 2013

Title: Investing in an IPO (pdf)

Category: Corporation Finance

Date: Dec. 1, 2012

Title: Municipal Bonds - Understanding Credit Risk (pdf)

Category: Trading and Markets
Corporation Finance

Date: Dec. 1, 2012

Title: 13 Things Everyone Should Know About Investing (pdf)

Category:

Date: Nov. 1, 2012

Title: Be on the Lookout for Investment Scams Related to Hurricane Sandy

Category: Enforcement

Date: Nov. 1, 2012

Title: SEC Warns of Government Impersonators

Category:

Date: Oct. 1, 2012

Title: Hedge Funds (pdf)

Category: Investment Management

Date: Sept. 1, 2012

Title: Investor Bulletin: Top Tips for Selecting a Financial Professional

Category: Investor Education and Advocacy

Date: Sept. 1, 2012

Title: Affinity Fraud (pdf)

Category: Enforcement

Date: Sept. 1, 2012

Title: Lost and Stolen Securities (pdf)

Category: Trading and Markets

Date: Sept. 1, 2012

Title: How to Read Confirmation Statements (pdf)

Category: Trading and Markets

Date: Aug. 1, 2012

Title: Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) (pdf)

Category: Investment Management

Date: Aug. 1, 2012

Title: American Depositary Receipts (pdf)

Category: Corporation Finance

Date: July 1, 2012

Title: New Measures to Address Market Volatility

Category:

Date: July 1, 2012

Title: International Investing (pdf)

Category:

Date: June 1, 2012

Title: Municipal Bonds

Category: Trading and Markets

Date: May 1, 2012

Title: Trading Suspensions (pdf)

Category: Trading and Markets

Date: May 1, 2012

Title: DTC Chills and Freezes (pdf)

Category: Trading and Markets

Date: May 1, 2012

Title: How to Read an 8-K (pdf)

Category: Corporation Finance

Date: April 1, 2012

Title: CMKM Diamonds Investors

Category: Enforcement

Date: April 1, 2012

Title: Pre-IPO Investment Scams

Category:

Date: Feb. 1, 2012

Title: Investors Beware of Government Impersonators

Category: Enforcement

Date: Feb. 1, 2012

Title: SEC Warns of Government Impersonators (pdf)

Category:

Date: Jan. 1, 2012

Title: Social Media and Investing - Avoiding Fraud (pdf)

Category: Enforcement

Date: Dec. 1, 2011

Title: Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) (pdf)

Category: Investment Management
Corporation Finance

Date: Dec. 1, 2011

Title: Transition of Mid-Sized Investment Advisers from Federal to State Registration (pdf)

Category: Investment Management

Date: Dec. 1, 2011

Title: 12 Saving and Investing Tips for 2012

Category:

Date: Oct. 1, 2011

Title: Investment Seminars –- Trading Seminar Fraud

Category: Enforcement

Date: Sept. 1, 2011

Title: How to Read a 10-K (pdf)

Category: Corporation Finance

Date: Sept. 1, 2011

Title: Self-Directed IRAs and the Risk of Fraud

Category: Enforcement

Date: Aug. 1, 2011

Title: New Stock-by-Stock Circuit Breakers

Category: Trading and Markets

Date: July 1, 2011

Title: Auction Rate Securities

Category:

Date: July 1, 2011

Title: Foreign Currency Exchange (Forex) Trading for Individual Investors

Category: Trading and Markets

Date: June 1, 2011

Title: Stanford Investors

Category: Enforcement

Date: June 1, 2011

Title: Information for Stanford Investors

Category: Enforcement

Date: June 1, 2011

Title: Early Retirement Seminars: Smart Tips for Spotting Retirement Scams

Category: Enforcement

Date: June 1, 2011

Title: Spotlight on Proxy Matters

Category: Corporation Finance

Date: June 1, 2011

Title: Structured Notes with Principal Protection: Note the Terms of Your Investment

Category: Corporation Finance

Date: June 1, 2011

Title: Reverse Mergers

Category: Corporation Finance

Date: May 1, 2011

Title: After-Hours Trading (pdf)

Category: Trading and Markets

Date: April 1, 2011

Title: Indexed Annuities

Category: Investment Management

Date: March 18, 2011

Title: Pre-IPO Investment Scams

Category: Enforcement