NASAA Reminds Investors to Investigate Before Investing

State Securities Regulators Offer Extensive Background Information on Stockbrokers and Investment Advisers

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 6, 2009)—The Madoff Ponzi scheme and other high-profile breaches of trust by financial professionals are strong reminders of the need to check the background of financial professionals before you trust them with your money, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) said today.

“Information is an investor’s best defense against investment fraud,” said NASAA President and Colorado Securities Commissioner Fred Joseph. “The information you need to make an informed choice about who you entrust with your money is right at your fingertips. State securities regulators should be the first call for any investor seeking detailed background information about their stockbroker or investment adviser. And the time to make that call is before you turn over any money.”

State securities regulators offer investors extensive employment, disciplinary and registration information about their stockbroker or investment adviser. As an investor, you can request a public report of background information on any stockbroker, brokerage firm, investment adviser and investment adviser firm.

To receive background information about a stockbroker, call your state securities regulator and ask for all materials from the Central Registration Depository (CRD) about that individual. For similar information about an investment adviser, ask for all materials from the Investment Adviser Registration Depository (IARD). These computerized databases contain licensing and registration information on more than 650,000 stockbrokers and over 260,000 investment advisers. You can also receive information on their employment, examination and disciplinary histories, civil judgments, arbitration decisions, criminal convictions or indictments, bankruptcies, as well as pending complaints, disciplinary actions, arbitration and civil proceedings.

“This information is easy to obtain, and state securities regulators want to help you to make informed decisions before you invest your hard-earned dollars,” Joseph said. “While the vast majority of the stockbrokers, brokerage firms, investment advisers and investment adviser firms are honest and reputable, it pays to remember that just like many other professions, there are those individuals and firms who are not. If you suspect that something is wrong, the sooner you call your state securities regulator, the better. Your call also might help prevent others from being harmed by a fraudulent scheme.”

Contact information for all state securities regulators is available here.

NASAA’s membership consists of the securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico.

For more information:
Bob Webster, Director of Communications

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