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: 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 Bulletin: Regulation A
The SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy is issuing this Investor Bulletin to educate investors about Regulation A. The SEC has recently amended Regulation A in order to implement the part of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act that makes Regulation A a more compelling option for smaller companies to use to raise money.
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:Investor Education and Advocacy
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:Investor Education and Advocacy
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:Investor Education and Advocacy
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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Auction Rate Securities
Category:Agency-Wide
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
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