SAN DIEGO (September 10, 2012) – The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced at its annual conference today a new investor outreach initiative to provide investor education resources to Native American and First Nation populations in the United States and Canada.
“Native Americans and First Nations populations historically have been underserved by investor education programs, in part, because of a lack of understanding of cultural sensitivity and frequent geographical isolation, which combine to put them at greater risk for affinity fraud,” said Jack E. Herstein, NASAA President and Assistant Director of the Nebraska Department of Banking & Finance, Bureau of Securities.
Herstein said NASAA’s Investor Education Section developed the Native American Outreach initiative to help raise investor awareness and reduce the risk of investment fraud following two recent billion-dollar settlements reached between Native American plaintiffs and the federal government.
In May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a $3.4 billion settlement between the U.S. government and Native American tribes whose land trust royalties were mismanaged by the federal government. The U.S. Department of Justice announced a separate $1 billion settlement with 41 American Indian tribes in litigation over the mismanagement of assets held in trust by the federal government.
“Con artists follow the headlines and know that billions of dollars are being prepared for distribution as a result of these settlements,” Herstein said. “As a result, Native Americans could become even greater targets for unscrupulous securities promoters.”
Herstein said the new outreach program not only addresses the specific needs and concerns of the Native American and First Nations audience, but offers specific training and instructions for outreach coordinators. As part of the initiative, each NASAA member received a Native American Outreach Toolkit at NASAA’s Annual Conference, where the initiative was launched.
“In order to reach greater Native American and First Nation audiences with our investor education message, NASAA is encouraging its members to strengthen or establish partnerships with tribal leaders in their jurisdictions,” Herstein said, noting that a number of state and provincial securities regulators already have long-standing investor outreach programs for native populations.
NASAA is the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection. Its membership consists of the securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada and Mexico.
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Bob Webster, Director of Communications