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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Understanding Margin Accounts
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is publishing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about the use of margin accounts to buy securities, including the related risks.
Category:Investor Education and Advocacy
Trading and Markets
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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
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