Webinar to Help Raise Awareness of Challenges and Opportunities of Self-Directed IRA Investing

Industry, state securities regulators join forces in investor protection effort

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2012 – The Retirement Industry Trust Association (RITA) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) will conduct a free webinar to help raise public awareness of how to avoid fraud when considering investing in self-directed Individual Retirement Accounts.

The webinar is open to the public and is scheduled for July 18 at 2 p.m. EDST. Registration information is available here

The hour-long webinar will feature Tom W. Anderson, RITA President, founder and Vice Chairman of PENSCO Trust and Matt Kitzi, NASAA Enforcement Section Chair and Missouri Securities Commissioner. The webinar will be moderated by former Texas Securities Commissioner Denise Voigt Crawford.

Among the topics to be discussed are:

  • What are self-directed IRA accounts and why are they useful?
  • What are the warning signs of investment fraud in self-directed IRAs?
  • What should investors do if they suspect fraudulent activity?
  • How do securities regulators help protect investors who use self-directed IRA accounts?

A self-directed IRA is an IRA held by a trustee or custodian that allows investments in a broader set of assets than is permitted by most IRA custodians, such as real estate, promissory notes and private placement securities. Because they include alternative assets, the risk and rewards of self-directed IRAs may be greater than those of traditional IRAs.

According to RITA, self-directed IRAs represent about 2 percent, or about $94 billion, of the $4.6 trillion IRA market and are continuing to attract investors at an “explosive” rate.

Along with the industry’s growth, state securities regulators have noticed an increase in investor complaints of fraudulent schemes that use self-directed IRAs. Federal securities regulators also have brought cases in which promoters of fraudulent schemes steered investors to self-directed IRAs. In 2011, NASAA and the Securities and Exchange Commission issued a joint investor alert to caution investors of the potential risks associated with investing through self-directed IRAs.

“Education is the best defense against investment fraud. Self-directed IRAs can provide a safe path toward retirement, but investors need to be aware of the red flags of fraud,” said Jack E. Herstein, NASAA President and Assistant Director of the Nebraska Department of Banking & Finance, Bureau of Securities.

“Self-directed retirement accounts provide important and unique options to help protect and grow your retirement savings through diversification beyond the stock market. They are also a critical source of private equity capital and have been used to fund thousands of new businesses in the United States. However, it is important that investors understand the risks, and the methods to prevent and mitigate risk including the threat of fraud. This webinar will tell you what you need to know to reduce the possibility that your retirement account will be impacted by fraud,” Anderson said.

NASAA is the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection. Founded in 1919 and based in Washington, DC, NASAA is a voluntary association whose membership consists of 67 state, provincial, and territorial securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, and Mexico.

Founded in 1987, RITA is the national trade association for the self-directed retirement plan industry. Based in Sarasota, Florida, RITA’s members administer a wide variety of retirement accounts, specializing in the administration of alternative investments, which include: non-publicly traded securities, promissory notes, real estate, precious metals, LLCs, tax liens, and partnerships as well as publicly traded securities. For details, visit RITA’s website at www.ritaus.org.

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For More Information:

Mary L. Mohr (RITA)
941-724-0900 | E-mail

Bob Webster (NASAA)
202-737-0900 | E-mail

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