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
Date: Title: Be on the Lookout for Investment Scams Related to Hurricane Ida
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Digital Asset and “Crypto” Investment Scams – Investor Alert
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Fraudsters Posing as Brokers or Investment Advisers – Investor Alert
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Funds Trading in Bitcoin Futures – Investor Bulletin
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC’s) Office of Customer Education and Outreach (OCEO) urge investors considering a fund with exposure to the Bitcoin futures market to weigh carefully the potential risks and benefits of the investment. Among other things, investors should understand that Bitcoin, including gaining exposure through the Bitcoin futures market, is a highly speculative investment. As such, investors should consider the volatility of Bitcoin and the Bitcoin futures market, as well as the lack of regulation and potential for fraud or manipulation in the underlying Bitcoin market.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: How to Open a Brokerage Account
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is updating 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.

Brokerage accounts differ from investment advisory accounts, which generally are governed by different rules and regulations. For information on opening an advisory account, please see our bulletin: Opening an Investment Advisory Account. For additional information on working with broker-dealers and investment advisers, please see Investor.gov’s Working with Brokers and Investment Advisers.

Before opening an account with any broker, you should always remember to read the firm’s relationship summary (Form CRS) and check the broker's background and disciplinary history. For guidance in finding a broker's background or disciplinary history, as well as other tips to consider when selecting a broker, please read our bulletin How to Select an Investment Professional.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Understanding Margin Accounts
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about the use of margin accounts to buy securities and their related risks.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Leveraged Investing Strategies – Know the Risks Before Using These Advanced Investment Tools
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about the risks of using leveraged investment strategies.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: What You Need to Know About SPACs – Updated Investor Bulletin
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Celebrity Involvement with SPACs – Investor Alert
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Funds – Investor Bulletin
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Thinking About Investing in the Latest Hot Stock?
SEC issues investor alert on significant risks of short-term trading based on social media.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Insider Transactions and Forms 3, 4, and 5
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: How to Read an 8-K
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: How to Read a 10-K/10-Q
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Investing Throughout and Beyond Your Military Service
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Margin Rules for Day Trading
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investment Scam Complaints on the Rise – Investor Alert
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Fractional Share Investing – Buying a Slice Instead of the Whole Share
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Tips for World Investor Week 2020: Investor Bulletin
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investment Scams May Seek to Exploit Natural Disasters – Investor Alert
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Publicly Traded Closed-End Funds
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Publicly Traded Business Development Companies (BDCs)
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Interval Funds
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: FBI and OIEA Warn Public that Fraudsters are Targeting Owners of Timeshares in Mexico
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: How to Use the Investment Professional Search Tool on Investor.gov
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Relationship Summaries (Form CRS or Form ADV Part 3): Investor Bulletin
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Indexed Annuities
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this bulletin to educate investors about indexed annuities. Indexed annuities are complex products. Investors should carefully read the indexed annuity contract, and any prospectus, before deciding whether to buy the annuity.
Category:Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Tips for Teachers: Investing for Retirement -- Investor Bulletin
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Broadly Advertised Investments – Investor Alert
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: COVID-19 Related Early Withdrawals from Retirement Accounts—Be Careful of Fraudsters and other Bad Actors Targeting Your Retirement Savings
The CARES Act of 2020 provides significant relief for businesses and individuals affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes allowing retirement investors affected by the coronavirus to gain access to up to $100,000 of their retirement savings without being subject to early withdrawal penalties and with an expanded window for paying the income tax they owe on the amounts they withdraw.
Unfortunately, unscrupulous promoters have used these CARES Act benefits to encourage investors to take money from their 401(k)s or traditional IRAs, not for current emergency financial needs, but to buy investments (often riskier ones) in an account at a firm the promoter recommends or in the investor’s existing account.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Frauds Targeting Main Street Investors -- Investor Alert
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and the Division of Enforcement’s Retail Strategy Task Force are issuing this Alert to educate Main Street investors about current investment frauds, including scams related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Please Consider Adding a Trusted Contact to Your Account
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) are issuing this Investor Bulletin to urge you to consider adding a “trusted contact person” to your brokerage account.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Look Out for Coronavirus-Related Investment Scams - Investor Alert
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about investment frauds involving claims that a company’s products or services will be used to help stop the coronavirus outbreak.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs) – Investor Alert
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this alert to urge investors to use caution before investing in so-called “initial exchange offerings” through online trading platforms.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Beware of Spoofed Websites Offering Phony Certificates of Deposit – Investor Alert
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about phony Certificates of Deposit (CDs) promoted through internet advertising and “spoofed” websites – websites that mimic the actual sites of legitimate financial institutions. Investors should be extremely cautious when purchasing CDs from sites found only through internet searches.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Don’t Buy Into an Investment Scam – Investor Alert
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and Retail Strategy Task Force (RSTF) urge investors to look for red flags of fraud before paying for investments by credit card or wire transfer.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Don’t Fall for an Investment Scam – Investor Alert
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and Retail Strategy Task Force (RSTF) want Main Street investors to be aware of tactics fraudsters use to lure investors into scams. This Alert presents actual videos that defendants in SEC enforcement actions allegedly used as part of their investment frauds.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Three Tips for World Investor Week 2019: Investor Bulletin
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) are issuing this Investor Bulletin to highlight key messages from World Investor Week 2019, a global campaign to raise awareness about the importance of investor education and protection. From October 1-7, 2019, investors, investment professionals, teachers, parents, researchers, and others are encouraged to make a special effort to promote investor education. Here are a few key messages for Main Street investors.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Watch Out for Scammers Posing as SEC Employees – Investor Alert
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors that fraudsters sometimes pose as SEC employees. Do not send money, or personal information, to anyone claiming to be from the SEC without verifying their identity using the steps described in this Alert.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Don’t be Fooled by Fraudsters Offering “Charitable” Investments -- Investor Alert
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) warns investors not to fall for investment scams claiming to help charitable causes. Supporting a good cause while investing your money may sound like a win-win situation. But be aware that fraudsters may try to exploit your desire to help others by using charitable causes as a way to draw victims into investment scams.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Seven Ways to Use Investor.gov
Investor.gov is the SEC’s website for Main Street investors, designed to help you better understand investing. Use the informative tools and resources on Investor.gov to make a plan, learn important questions to ask, and get tips to avoid investment fraud.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Saving and Investing for Military Personnel
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this updated Investor Bulletin to help military personnel make informed savings and investing decisions and avoid common scams. Here are ten suggestions that can help you understand the basics and protect your hard-earned money.For more, check out Investor.gov/military.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Have Something in Common with Someone Selling an Investment? It May Make You a Target for Fraud.
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and the Division of Enforcement’s Retail Strategy Task Force warn investors not to make investment decisions based solely on common ties with someone recommending or selling the investment.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Questions to Ask when Hiring an Investment Professional
Before investing in stock or other securities, you may decide to seek the help of an investment professional. Selecting this investment professional is an important decision. This Investor Bulletin provides you with questions you should ask before hiring any investment professional.
Category:Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Regulation A
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about Regulation A. Regulation A is an exemption from registration under the Securities Act that allows companies to raise money from the public in securities offerings of up to $50 million.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Beware of Claims That the SEC Has Approved Offerings
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors of misrepresentations about SEC “approvals” of offerings.
Category:Corporation Finance
Enforcement
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Watch Out for Fraudulent Digital Asset and “Crypto” Trading Websites
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Office of Customer Education and Outreach (CFTC) warn investors to scrutinize investment opportunities through websites purporting to operate advisory and trading businesses related to digital assets. These websites often contain “red flags” of fraud including claims of high guaranteed returns and promises that the investments carry little or even no risk.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Social Sentiment Investing Tools —Think Twice Before Trading Based on Social Media
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) are issuing this Investor Bulletin to inform investors about social sentiment investing tools and highlight their risks. This Bulletin provides tips to consider before using tools that analyze or aggregate information from social media sources to make investment decisions or attempt to predict changes in the stock market’s direction or in the price of a security.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: The Escheatment Process
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide basic information about the escheatment process for investment accounts.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Trading Suspensions – What Happens When They End?
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to answer some of the questions we receive from investors about what happens at the end of a trading suspension.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: 10 Investment Tips for 2019
Whether you are a first-time investor or have been investing for years, here are 10 tips from the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy to help you in 2019.
Category:Corporation Finance
Enforcement
Investment Management
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Accredited Investors
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.”
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Scammers May Try to Take Advantage of the California Wildfires
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors, including individuals who may receive lump sum payouts from insurance companies and others as a result of damage from the California wildfires, about fraudulent investment scams.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Variable Life Insurance
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about variable life insurance and how it works. This bulletin provides a general description of variable life insurance. The features of each policy may vary by product and by state.
Category:Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Variable Annuities
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about variable annuities and how they work.
Category:Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Be Vigilant for Investment Scams Related to Recent Hurricanes
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors, including individuals who may receive lump sum payouts from insurance companies and others as a result of damage from recent hurricanes, about fraudulent investment scams.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Watch Out For False Claims About SEC And CFTC Endorsements Used To Promote Digital Asset Investments
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Office of Customer Education and Outreach warn investors to watch out for false claims about agency actions and endorsements related to digital assets. Fraudsters may use false claims to lure investors into purchasing digital assets and to artificially raise their value. “Digital assets” include crypto-currencies, coins, and tokens such as those offered in so called initial coin offerings (ICOs).
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: World Investor Week 2018
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, FINRA, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) are issuing this Investor Bulletin to highlight key messages from World Investor Week 2018.
Category:Corporation Finance
Enforcement
Investment Management
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Don’t Invite Investment Scams to Find You
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and Retail Strategy Task Force (RSTF) warn investors that providing your phone number and email address in response to an online investment promotion may make you a target for fraud.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Marijuana Investments and Fraud
Scam artists often exploit “hot” industries to trick investors, including by making false promises of high returns with low risks. The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and Retail Strategy Task Force are warning investors about these kinds of investment schemes involving marijuana-related companies.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Check the Background of Anyone Selling You an Investment
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) urges investors to check the background of anyone selling or offering them an investment. No matter how good an investment may sound, verify that the person is currently registered or licensed and check his or her background by using the free and simple search tool on Investor.gov.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Self-Directed IRAs and the Risk of Fraud
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors of risks associated with self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts (self-directed IRAs).

Self-directed IRAs allow investment in a broader—and potentially riskier—portfolio of assets than other types of IRAs. While a broader set of investment options may have appeal, investors should be mindful that investments in self-directed IRAs raise risks including fraudulent schemes, high fees, and volatile performance.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Smart Beta, Quant Funds and other Non- Traditional Index Funds
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to inform investors about features and potential risks of non-traditional index funds.
Category:Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Index Funds
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors basic information about index funds.
Category:Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: How Victims of Securities Law Violations May Recover Money
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about how they may be able to recover money if they have been harmed by a violation of the federal securities laws.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Is Your Broker Selling You Investments Approved for Sale Through the Firm?
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and Retail Strategy Task Force are warning investors about red flags that a broker may be running a side business offering investments that are not approved for sale through the broker’s firm.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: 10 Questions to Consider Before Opening a 529 Account
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to answer questions that may arise when investing in a 529 plan account. Please also see our companion Bulletin, An Introduction to 529 Plans, for background information on the plans.
Category:Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors information about health savings accounts. We encourage you to also consult Internal Revenue Service (IRS) guidance before making investment decisions about a health savings account, because receiving favorable tax treatment is an important part of a health savings account.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Ponzi Schemes Targeting Seniors
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and Retail Strategy Task Force are warning investors about Ponzi schemes that prey on senior investors.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: SEC Impersonators Pretend to Help Investors Buy Stock
(Listen to Audio)

The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) is warning investors about investment schemes where fraudsters misrepresent that they work for the SEC and pretend to help investors purchase stock or confirm trades – but really just steal investors’ money. If you receive an email or phone call claiming to be from the SEC to “confirm” your purchase of a security or to help you trade a stock, it is likely a scam. Do not send them money or give them your account information.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Top Tips for Selecting a Financial Professional
Choosing a financial professional is an important decision. This updated Investor Bulletin provides a few key tips to help you make a well-informed choice. A number of questions you should consider asking before you hire a financial professional are listed at the end of this Bulletin. Should you have any questions for us, feel free to call our toll-free investor assistance line at 1-800-SEC-0330 or use our online question web form at https://www.sec.gov/oiea/QuestionsAndComments.html.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Investment Clubs
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to answer some common questions investors ask us about investment clubs.
Category:Corporation Finance
Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Credit Cards and Investments – A Risky Combination
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this alert to inform investors about the risks in using credit cards to purchase an investment or to fund an investment account.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Municipal Bonds – Asset Allocation, Diversification, and Risk
The SEC’s Offices of Investor Education and Advocacy and Municipal Securities are issuing a series of three Investor Bulletins to help educate investors about the municipal securities market. This Bulletin provides a general overview on asset allocation and diversification in an investment portfolio, with a focus on the role of municipal bonds.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: The Municipal Securities Market
The SEC’s Offices of Investor Education and Advocacy and Municipal Securities are issuing a series of three Investor Bulletins to help educate investors about the municipal securities market. This Bulletin provides an overview of the municipal securities market, including the different types of municipal issuers, how the municipal securities market is regulated, and what types of disclosures investors may be able to obtain about municipal securities.
Category:Corporation Finance
Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Municipal Bonds – An Overview
The SEC’s Offices of Investor Education and Advocacy and Municipal Securities are issuing a series of three Investor Bulletins to help educate investors about the municipal securities market. This Bulletin provides an overview of municipal bonds, including the different types of municipal bonds, what information an investor should review before investing in municipal bonds and where investors can find information about them.
Category:Corporation Finance
Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: An Introduction to ABLE Accounts
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about ABLE accounts.
Category:Corporation Finance
Investment Management
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Top 10 of 2017
With 2017 coming to a close, here are the SEC Office of Investor Education and Advocacy’s top 10 most popular Investor Alerts and Bulletins for the year. These resources, all available on Investor.gov, can help you make more informed investment decisions – and avoid investment fraud – in 2018. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at help@sec.gov, our online question form, or on our toll-free investor assistance line at (800) 732-0330.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Suggestions for How Individual Investors Can Comment on SEC Rulemaking
From time to time, the SEC seeks comment from the public on a number of matters, including on the SEC’s rulemakings. The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help explain the rulemaking process and to help promote greater individual investor input in Commission rulemaking proceedings.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Investment Adviser Sponsored Wrap Fee Programs
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors information about investment adviser sponsored wrap fee programs. This bulletin provides basic information about wrap fee programs and some questions to consider asking your investment adviser before choosing to open an account in a wrap fee program.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Beware of Paid-To-Click (PTC) Scams
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is warning investors about investment scams conducted through online paid-to-click (PTC) programs.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Master Limited Partnerships – An Introduction
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help investors understand Master Limited Partnerships, or MLPs. Because investing in an MLP may be unfamiliar, investors should carefully consider potential benefits – and risks – before making an investment decision.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Celebrity Endorsements
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) is warning investors not to make investment decisions based solely on celebrity endorsements.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Be Vigilant for Possible Investment Scams Related to the California Wildfires
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to alert investors, including individuals who may receive lump sum payouts from insurance companies and others as a result of damage from the California wildfires, to investment scams that may take advantage of the disaster.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: The ABCs of Credit Ratings
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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: World Investor Week
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority), and NASAA (the North American Securities Administrators Association) are issuing this Investor Bulletin to highlight the key messages of World Investor Week, a week-long, global campaign promoted by International Organization of Securities Commissions to raise awareness about the importance of investor education and protection. During World Investor Week (October 2-8, 2017), individual investors, investment professionals, teachers, parents, researchers, and other interested individuals, firms, regulators, and organizations are encouraged to make a special effort to communicate these key investor education messages:
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Opening an Investment Advisory Account
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide tips on what to consider when opening an investment advisory account. Investment advisory accounts differ from brokerage accounts, which generally are governed by different rules and regulations. For information on opening a brokerage account, please see our bulletin: How to Open a Brokerage Account.

Before opening an account with any financial professional, you should always remember to check the individual or entity’s background and disciplinary history. You can do this using the IAPD database found at Investor.gov.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Financial Professionals’ Use of Professional Honors – Awards, Rankings, and Designations
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate individual investors about the professional awards, rankings, and designations that financial professionals often use to market themselves to prospective clients.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Trading in Cash Accounts
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors regarding the rules that apply to trading securities in cash accounts and to highlight the 90-day account freeze which may arise with certain trading activities in these type of accounts.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Be Vigilant for Investment Scams Related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma
The SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to alert investors, including individuals who may receive lump sum payouts from insurance companies and others as a result of damage from Hurricanes Harvey or Irma, to investment scams that may take advantage of the disaster.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Public Companies Making ICO-Related Claims
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is warning investors about potential scams involving stock of companies claiming to be related to, or asserting they are engaging in, Initial Coin Offerings (or ICOs). Fraudsters often try to use the lure of new and emerging technologies to convince potential victims to invest their money in scams. These frauds include “pump-and-dump” and market manipulation schemes involving publicly traded companies that claim to provide exposure to these new technologies.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: New “T+2” Settlement Cycle – What Investors Need To Know
On March 22, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission amended Exchange Act Rule 15c6-1 to shorten the standard settlement cycle for broker-dealers transaction from “T+3” to “T+2,” subject to certain exceptions. The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) is issuing this investor bulletin to explain the new “T+2” settlement cycle and how it will affect certain transactions you place with your full-service or online brokerage firm.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Fraudsters May Target Federal Government Employee Retirement Plan Participants
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and Broker-Dealer Task Force are warning the more than 5 million Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) participants, and investors in other federal government employee retirement plans, that investment scam artists may pretend to be affiliated with a government agency.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Initial Coin Offerings
Developers, businesses, and individuals increasingly are using initial coin offerings, also called ICOs or token sales, to raise capital. These activities may provide fair and lawful investment opportunities. However, new technologies and financial products, such as those associated with ICOs, can be used improperly to entice investors with the promise of high returns in a new investment space. The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to make investors aware of potential risks of participating in ICOs.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Retirement Investing Through 403(b) and 457(b) Plans
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors with educational information about the basics of retirement investing through 403(b) and 457(b) plans.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Stop, Stop-Limit, and Trailing Stop Orders
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about the difference between using “stop,” “stop limit” and “trailing stop” orders to buy and sell stocks.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Understanding Order Types
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about the different types of orders they can use to buy and sell stocks through a brokerage firm.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Crowdfunding for Investors
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about a new investing opportunity in the form of securities-based crowdfunding.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Be Cautious of SAFEs in Crowdfunding
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about a type of security, often described as a SAFE (a “Simple Agreement for Future Equity”), that may be offered in crowdfunding offerings.
Category:Corporation Finance
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Help for Adult Protective Services (APS) Workers Encountering Senior Investor Fraud
It can be tricky to tell if a senior has been a victim of investment fraud or to know what to do when it happens. The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help Adult Protective Services (APS) workers and others identify when a senior has been a victim of investment fraud and to explain what APS workers and others can do about it.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Crowdfunding Investment Limits Increase
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to advise investors about the inflation-adjusted increase in the investment limits for securities-based crowdfunding.
Category:Corporation Finance
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Protecting Your Online Investment Accounts from Fraud
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help investors protect their online investment accounts from fraud. As with all web-based accounts, investors should take precautions to help ensure that their online brokerage accounts remain secure. These online security tips can help.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Investor Complaints
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) is issuing this Investor Bulletin to inform investors about how OIEA handles investor complaints and other ways investors may be able to resolve a securities-related dispute.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Beware of Stock Recommendations on Investment Research Websites
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors that seemingly independent commentary on investment research websites may in fact be part of paid stock promotion campaigns.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Ten Ways to Use Investor.gov
Whether you are investing on your own, working with a financial professional, planning your retirement, or just interested in learning more about investing generally, here are ten ways you can use Investor.gov to become a more informed investor and avoid fraud.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Robo-Advisers
The last few years have seen the growth in availability and popularity of automated digital investment advisory programs (often called “robo-advisers”). These programs allow individual investors to create and manage their investment accounts through a web portal or mobile application, sometimes with little or no interaction with a human being with the potential benefit of lower costs than traditional investment advisory programs. The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about these programs, and to help investors using robo-advisers to make informed decisions in meeting their investment goals.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Alternative Mutual Funds
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to inform you about features, and some potential risks, of alternative mutual funds.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: Focus on Money Market Funds
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about money market funds, including money market funds’ investment objectives and risks. For additional assistance, investors can call the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy at 1-800-SEC-0330, or ask a question using this online form.
Category:Investment Management
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Excessive Trading at Investors’ Expense
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and Broker-Dealer Task Force are jointly issuing this Investor Alert to help investors identify excessive trading in their brokerage accounts and to educate investors about steps they should take if their brokerage firm notifies them of a high volume of trade activity in their accounts.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: 10 Investment Tips for 2017
Whether you are a first-time investor or have been investing for years, here are 10 tips from the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy to help you make better informed investment decisions and avoid common scams in 2017.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Broker-Dealer/Customer Arbitration
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about the arbitration and mediation processes involving a customer dispute with a broker-dealer.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Binary Options Websites May Be Used for Fraudulent Schemes
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors that fraudsters may conduct investment schemes through purported online binary options trading platforms. While some binary options are listed on registered exchanges or traded on a designated contract market that are subject to oversight by U.S. regulators such as the SEC or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, respectively, this is only a portion of the binary options market. Much of the binary options market operates through Internet-based trading platforms that are not necessarily complying with applicable U.S. regulatory requirements. For a comprehensive overview of binary options, including information about investing in binary options that are subject to U.S. regulatory oversight, read our Investor Alert: Binary Options and Fraud.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Investment Scams Involving Fake Forms 4
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about potential investment schemes in which fraudsters send fake Forms 4 to investors who paid for the purported purchase of shares.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Microcap Stock Basics (Part 3 of 3: Risk)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing a series of three Investor Bulletins to provide investors with important information to consider before investing in microcap stocks, often known as penny stocks. The Bulletins provide a general overview of microcap stocks and their marketplaces, a list of sources to research microcap stocks, and a list of “red flags” of fraud and other important factors to consider before making an investment in microcap stocks.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Microcap Stock Basics (Part 2 of 3: Research)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing a series of three Investor Bulletins to provide investors with important information to consider before investing in microcap stocks often known as penny stocks. The Bulletins provide a general overview of microcap stocks and their marketplaces, a list of sources to research microcap stocks, and a list of “red flags” of fraud and other important factors to consider before making an investment in microcap stocks.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Be on the Lookout for Investment Scams Related to Hurricane Matthew
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 as a result of damage from Hurricane Matthew, about investment fraud.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Tick Size Pilot Program – What Investors Need To Know
Beginning October 3, 2016, a new National Market System (NMS) Plan to implement a Tick Size Pilot Program (the “pilot”) will widen the minimum quoting and trading increment —sometimes called the “tick size” — for some small capitalization stocks. The goal of the pilot is to study the effect of tick size on liquidity and trading of small capitalization stocks.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) are issuing this investor alert to explain the pilot and how it might affect certain orders you place with your full-service or online brokerage firm. We also provide some background on the pilot and why it is being implemented.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Microcap Stock Basics (Part 1 of 3: General Information)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing a series of three Investor Bulletins to provide investors with important information to consider before investing in microcap stocks, often known as penny stocks. The Bulletins provide a general overview of microcap stocks and their marketplaces, a list of sources to research microcap stocks, and a list of “red flags” of fraud and other important factors to consider before making an investment in microcap stocks.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Bulletin: How Fees and Expenses Affect Your Investment Portfolio
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this updated bulletin to educate investors about how fees can impact the value of an investment portfolio.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Publicly Traded REITs
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this bulletin to educate investors about investing in publicly traded REITs.
Category:Corporation Finance
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Performance Claims
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about investment performance claims. If you are in the market for an investment, you will likely come across sales and marketing materials that describe an investment’s performance. You should know that performance information can be presented in many different ways. Before making a decision, always make sure you understand how any performance claim is calculated and presented – and whether or not the claim is reliable and applies to your particular circumstances. Here are a few things to consider.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Alert: Be on the Lookout for Investment Scams Related to the Recent Historic Rain and Flooding
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 the recent historic rainfall and flooding in and around South Carolina, about investment fraud.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: What You Should Know About Asset Recovery Companies
Third party asset recovery companies solicit victims of scams, including investment frauds, with promises to file complaints with regulatory agencies and to help recover victims’ money for a fee. The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to urge investors and fraud victims to think carefully before paying money for asset recovery services that may be fruitless.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Mutual Fund Classes
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors information about mutual fund classes. This bulletin addresses some of the fees that may apply to certain common mutual fund classes, but please note that mutual funds may have other fees and expenses that you should take into account when making an investment decision. For more information on mutual fund fees and expenses, read our Investor Bulletin: Mutual Fund Fees and Expenses.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Alert for Seniors: Five Red Flags of Investment Fraud
Older Americans are often targets of investment fraud. The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Updated Investor Alert to help seniors identify signs that what is offered as an investment may actually be a fraud. Below are five “red flags” seniors should look out for when making an investment decision.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Variable Annuities-Should You Accept a Buyout Offer?
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about some of the pros and cons of variable annuity buyout offers. This bulletin will provide information to help you consider whether a buyout is right for you.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Beware of Government Impersonators Targeting Fraud Victims
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) is issuing this Investor Alert because we are aware of communications, including official looking documents, that falsely claim to be issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission and seek money from investors who have already been victims of fraud.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Form ADV – Investment Adviser Brochure and Brochure Supplement
Investment advisers provide a wide range of advisory services and play an important role in helping individuals and institutions make significant financial decisions. To allow clients and prospective clients to evaluate the risks associated with a particular investment adviser, its business practices, and its investment strategies, it is essential that clients and prospective clients have clear disclosure that they are likely to read and understand. Part 2 of Form ADV requires investment advisers to provide new and prospective clients with a brochure and brochure supplements written in plain English. The requirements of Part 2 are designed to provide new and prospective clients with clearly written, meaningful current disclosure of the business practices, conflicts of interest, and background of the investment adviser firm and the firm’s employees who provide advice.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: How to Read a Mutual Fund Prospectus (Part 1 of 3: Investment Objective, Strategies, and Risks)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing a series of three Investor Bulletins to help inform investors about key information in a prospectus. You should note, however, that a prospectus contains additional information that may assist investors in making an investment decision.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: How to Read a Mutual Fund Prospectus (Part 2 of 3: Fee Table and Performance)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing a series of three Investor Bulletins to help inform investors about key information in a prospectus. You should note, however, that a prospectus contains additional information that may assist investors in making an investment decision.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: How to Read a Mutual Fund Prospectus (Part 3 of 3: Management, Shareholder Information, and Statement of Additional Information)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing a series of three Investor Bulletins to help inform investors about key information in a prospectus. You should note, however, that a prospectus contains additional information that may assist investors in making an investment decision.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Alert: Fraudulent Stock Promotions
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this updated Investor Alert to warn investors about fraudsters who promote a stock to drive up the stock price and then sell their own shares at the inflated price, making money at investors’ expense.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Zika Crisis May Give Rise to Investment Scams
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about potential investment scams involving companies that claim their products or services relate to the Zika virus.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Alert: 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 scams that make phony claims of endorsement by senior officials at the SEC.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: 10 Investment Tips for 2016
Whether you are a first-time investor or have been investing for years, here are ten tips from the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy to help you make more informed investing decisions and avoid common scams in 2016.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Securities-Backed Lines of Credit
An increasing number of securities firms are marketing and offering securities-backed lines of credit, or SBLOCs, to investors. SBLOCs can be a key revenue source for securities firms, especially in times of solid market returns and growing investment portfolios, when investors may feel more comfortable leveraging their assets. Firms market SBLOCs as a type of financing and liquidity strategy that can unlock the value of your investment portfolio. Between 2012 and 2014, one large brokerage firm that offers these programs reported a 70 percent increase in its securities-based lending business, while another firm reported an over 50 percent increase.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) are issuing this investor alert to provide information about the basics of SBLOCs, how they may be marketed to you, and what risks you should consider before posting your investment portfolio as collateral. SBLOCs may seem like an attractive way to access extra capital when markets are producing positive returns, but market volatility can magnify your potential losses, placing your financial future at greater risk.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about exchange-traded notes (“ETNs”). ETNs are unsecured debt obligations of financial institutions that trade on a securities exchange. ETN payment terms are linked to the performance of a reference index or benchmark, representing the ETN’s investment objective. You should understand that ETNs are complex and involve many risks for interested investors, and can result in the loss of your entire investment.
Category:Corporation Finance
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Updated 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: An Introduction to Short Sales
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin for investors to provide them with the basics, including some of the potential risks, of short sales.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Be on the Lookout for Investment Scams Related to the Recent Historic Rain and Flooding
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 the recent historic rainfall and flooding in and around South Carolina, about investment fraud.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Investment-Related Radio Programs Used to Defraud
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to provide investors with an overview of fraudulent schemes that may be carried out through radio programs.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Identity Theft, Data Breaches and Your Investment Accounts
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to provide investors with important steps to take regarding their investment accounts if they become victims of identity theft or a data breach. Investors should always take steps to safeguard their personal financial information (e.g., social security number, financial account numbers, phone number, e-mail address, or usernames and passwords for online financial accounts). However, if identity theft or a data breach compromises your personal financial information, here are some important steps to take immediately.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Non-traded REITs
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this bulletin to educate investors about investing in non-traded REITs.
Category:Corporation Finance
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: 10 Things to Know About Receivers
The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help investors understand the role of receivers in SEC cases.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: An Introduction to The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – Rulemaking and Laws
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors with an overview of the SEC’s rulemaking functions and a brief description of the laws that govern the securities industry.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: An Introduction to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission – Organization and Mission
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to provide investors with a general overview of the SEC’s mission, responsibilities, and organizational structure.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Alert: SEC Warns of Government Impersonators Demanding Money
SEC staff is issuing this updated Investor Alert because we are

aware of fraudulent communications, including official looking documents

such as bogus subpoenas, that purport to be from the Securities and

Exchange Commission demanding money for fictitious securities law

violations.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Beware of Fantasy Stock Trading Websites Offering Real Returns
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about fantasy stock trading and other similar websites that may violate federal securities laws designed to protect investors from abuses in the swaps market.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert for Seniors: Five Red Flags of Investment Fraud
Older Americans are often targets of investment fraud. The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help seniors identify signs that what is offered as an investment may actually be a fraud. Below are five “red flags” seniors should look out for when making an investment decision.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Beware of False or Exaggerated Credentials
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors that fraudsters may misrepresent their backgrounds and experience to lure investors into investment schemes. Before investing, investors should verify that any person who tries to sell them an investment product or service is properly licensed or registered and should not make investment decisions based solely on assertions regarding the person’s credentials or professional experience, including claims found on the Internet or in traditional media sources.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin and Consumer Advisory: Planning for Diminished Capacity and Illness
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and the CFPB’s Office for Older Americans are issuing this bulletin to help investors and consumers understand the potential impact of diminished capacity on their ability to make financial decisions and to encourage investors and consumers to plan for possible diminished financial capacity well before it happens.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Updated Investor Alert: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: Automated Investment Tools
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) are issuing this alert to provide investors with a general overview of automated investment tools.
Category:Investment Management
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Updated Investor Alert: Beware of Companies Using the SEC Seal
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this updated Investor Alert to help investors identify fraudsters’ unauthorized use of the SEC seal as a way to convince prospective customers that a fraud, including an advance fee loan scam, is legitimate.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Bankruptcy for a Public Company
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about what happens when a publicly traded company declares bankruptcy.
Category:Corporation Finance
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: An Introduction to Options
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education is issuing this investor bulletin to help educate investors about the basics, including some of the potential risks, of options trading. Options trading may occur in a variety of securities marketplaces and may involve a wide range of financial products, from stocks to foreign currencies. This bulletin focuses on the basics of trading listed stock options.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Opening an Options Account
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education is issuing this investor bulletin to help you to understand what to expect when opening an options trading account with your broker-dealer.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Roth TSP for Uniformed Services Members
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate uniformed services members about the Roth Thrift Savings Plan.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Alert: “Prime Bank” Investments Are Scams
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy (OIEA) is issuing this Investor Alert to warn investors about fraudulent investment schemes involving purportedly high-yield, risk-free international finance programs.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: Structured Notes
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to inform investors of features – and some potential risks – of structured notes. While structured notes may enable individual retail investors to participate in investment strategies that are not typically offered to them, these products can be very complex and have significant investment risks. Before investing in structured notes, you should understand how the notes work and carefully consider their risks.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: Investor Bulletin: 15 Investment Tips for 2015
Whether you’re a first-time investor or have been investing for years, here are fifteen tips to help you make more informed financial decisions and avoid common investment scams in 2015.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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).
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investment Management
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Enforcement
Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Enforcement
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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."
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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).
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Investment Management
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Enforcement
Date: Title: 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...
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investment Management
Date: Title: SEC Warns of Government Impersonators (Updated)
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investment Management
Date: Title: 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...
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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).
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: Hedge Funds (PDF)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate individual investors about hedge funds.
Category:Investment Management
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.”).
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investment Management
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: DTC Chills and Freezes
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.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: CMKM Diamonds Investors
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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).
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: Investors Beware of Government Impersonators
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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....
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Investment Management
Date: Title: 12 Saving and Investing Tips for 2012
Some suggestions on how to become a smarter investor in 2012.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Investment Management
Date: Title: Investment Seminars –- Trading Seminar Fraud
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Auction Rate Securities
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: 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).”
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: Early Retirement Seminars: Smart Tips for Spotting Retirement Scams
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Spotlight on Proxy Matters
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: 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.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Trading Basics (PDF)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors about the different types of orders they can use to buy and sell stocks through a brokerage firm. The following are general descriptions of some of the common order types and trading instructions that investors may use to buy and sell stocks. Please note that some of the order types and trading instructions described below may not be available through all brokerage firms. Furthermore, some brokerage firms may offer additional order types and trading instructions not described below. Investors should contact their brokerage firms to determine which types of orders and trading instructions are available for buying and selling as well the brokerage firms’ specific policies regarding such available orders and trading instructions.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Say on Pay and Golden Parachute Votes (PDF)
The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help investors -understand new rules about shareholder votes on Say-on-Pay and golden parachutes.
Category:Corporation Finance
Date: Title: Margin Rules for Day Trading (PDF)
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate investors regarding the margin rules that apply to day trading in a Regulation T margin account and to respond to a number of frequently asked questions we have received.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: New Rules Give Customers Option of All Public Arbitration Panels
The Securities and Exchange Commission approved amendments to FINRA’s rules on January 31, 2011, that will provide customers in all FINRA arbitrations an option of selecting a panel comprised entirely of public arbitrators to serve in customer dispute cases.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Top 11 Tips for 2011 (PDF)
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: Money Market Funds: Staff Responses to Questions about Information Filed on Form N-MFP
Category:Investment Management
Date: Title: Life Settlements
The Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to highlight information about life settlements and some of the risks these types of transactions may pose for investors. Individual investors considering a life settlement transaction may wish to keep the following points in mind and seek guidance from an unbiased financial professional who will not receive a commission or any other financial benefit from the transaction.
Category:Agency-Wide
Date: Title: BP Payout Recipients: Be on the Lookout for Investment Scams
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Alert to help educate investors, including individuals and small businesses receiving lump sum payouts from BP related to the oil spill in the Gulf, about potential investment frauds that target recipients of lump sum payouts.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Investor Warning Regarding Web-Based Scheme Defrauding Deaf Investors
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has charged an Internet-based investment company, Imperia Invest IBC (“Imperia”), with securities fraud for soliciting several million dollars from U.S. investors and promising guaranteed annual returns in excess of 1.2% per day while in reality siphoning the funds into foreign bank accounts and not paying any money back to investors.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Focus on Municipal Bonds
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to help educate individual investors about municipal bonds.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Trading in Stock After an SEC Trading Suspension -- Be Aware of the Risks
Investors should be very cautious when considering trading in stock after the SEC has suspended trading in the shares. An SEC trading suspension is a “red flag,” often indicating the SEC has concerns about the information that the company has been providing to the public. By law, an SEC suspension usually ends after ten business days, even if the company has not provided current, accurate information about itself. However, when a company does not provide current, reliable information about itself and its finances, trading its shares can be very risky.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: New Rule to Curb “Pay to Play” Practices
The Securities and Exchange Commission approved a new rule on June 30, 2010 to curbso-called “pay to play” practices in which investment advisers make campaign contributions to elected officials in order to influence the award of contracts to manage public pension plan assets and other government investment accounts.
Category:Investment Management
Date: Title: New Rules Improving Municipal Disclosure
The Securities and Exchange Commission approved rule changes on May 26, 2010 designed to improve the quality and timeliness of information available to investors about municipal bonds.
Category:Trading and Markets
Date: Title: Investors Beware of Entity Calling Itself "U.S. Securities and Equities Administration"
The staff of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is issuing this Investor Alert about an entity calling itself the “U.S. Securities and Equities Administration” and other similar names, including the “U.S. Securities Administration” or the “U.S. Securities Bureau.”
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Oil Spill Stock Scams - Don't Get Cleaned Out by False Cleanup Claims
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico poses more than an environmental and economic threat to the region. It also poses a financial threat to investors in the form of scams promising financial gains from investments in companies that claim to be involved in cleanup operations.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Target Date Retirement Funds
Investing for retirement can be complex. When deciding where to invest, you may need to make a variety of decisions, including how to balance the risk of losing money with the desire to increase your returns, keeping in mind that inflation may reduce the purchasing power of your savings and you or your spouse or partner may live longer in retirement than you expect. Recognizing this, a number of companies offer “target date retirement funds,” sometimes referred to as “target date funds” or “lifecycle funds.”
Category:Investment Management
Date: Title: Investor Warning Relating to Eric V. Bartoli, Enrico Orlandini, and DT Analysis a/k/a and Dow Theory Analysis SAC
The staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has received credible information suggesting that an individual named Eric Bartoli, who was previously sued by the SEC for securities fraud, may currently be located in Peru and engaged in securities solicitations of investors, using the alias Enrico Orlandini.
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: SEC Investor Alert on Phony SIPC "Look-Alike" Website Targeting Madoff Victims
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Information for Reserve Primary Fund Investors
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Information Concerning Malaysian Restitution Fund for SwissCash Investors
This Alert concerns a restitution fund established by the Securities Commission Malaysian (“Malaysian SC”) in a settlement involving various entities operating under the name “Swisscash”, including “Swiss Mutual Fund (1948),” and through websites encompassing variations on the names “Swisscash” and “SwissMutualFund.”
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: SEC-FINRA Investor Alert on Leveraged and Inverse ETFs
The SEC staff and FINRA are issuing this Alert because we believe individual investors may be confused about the performance objectives of leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
Category:Investment Management
Date: Title: Prime Bank Fraud Information Center
Category:Enforcement
Date: Title: Financial Navigating in the Current Economy
Category:Agency-Wide