NASAA Issues Investor Alert Concerning Digital Currencies

The Investor Advocacy Clinic has previously written about digital currencies to ensure that you are an informed investor.  Last fall, James Gallagher gave an overview of Bitcoin and outlined some of the risks here. We also let you know about FINRA’s recent alert concerning Bitcoin, which is available here.  The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) issued an informed investor alert yesterday that provides additional information on digital currency.

If you are thinking of adding digital currencies to your portfolio, be sure to do your homework.  Check out all of these sources of information before you invest.

Interns Engage in Investor Education

presentersOn Tuesday April 29, 2014, Investor Advocacy Clinic student interns Scott Evans, Benjamin Stubbs and Patricia Uceda presented “Guidance for your Investment Journey” to a group of Georgia State University College of Law students.

Stubbs began by discussing the need to create a plan and start to save now. He asked the audience to identify their long term goals, which included paying off student loans, retiring and saving for a house.

studentsEvans then discussed the professionals who can help investors meet their goals. He outlined the different services such professionals can provide and showed the audience how to do research on them by using FINRA’s BrokerCheck tool. Participants also learned how to decode different certifications and learn what they mean by using FINRA’s Professional Designations Database.

Uceda provided an overview of the products investors might consider to reach their goals. After analyzing whether the participants were at risk of fraud, the interns showed them how to be prepared to respond to fraudsters’ tactics and hang up on fraud.

If you or your organization are interested in a custom-tailored investor education presentation, please contact the clinic at (404) 413-9270.

Georgia Court of Appeals Addresses Finality of FINRA Arbitration Award

By: Thomas Abrahamson, Spring 2014 Student Intern

The Georgia Court of Appeals recently entered a decision in a case involving the enforceability of arbitration awards in FINRA proceedings. The case, Berger v. Welsh, shows that Georgia courts enforce agreements to arbitrate, leaving arbitration awards alone in most circumstances.

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GSU Law Students: Be an Informed Investor. Attend the Investor Advocacy Clinic’s Educational Presentation Tomorrow.

LAW_IACApril is financial literacy month, and the Investor Advocacy Clinic’s student interns are making sure that potential investors have the information they need to make wise financial decisions.

On Tuesday, April 29, student interns Scott Evans, Benjamin Stubbs and Patricia Uceda will present “Guidance for Your Investment Journey” at the Georgia State University College of Law to current law students in Room 330 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.  This presentation will help new investors learn how to protect themselves from becoming victims to investment fraud and make wise decisions as they save for their future.

Wondering if There is Something Fishy about Investment Activities in Your Account? What to Do if You Think You Might be a Victim of Stockbroker Misconduct

By Nataliya Nemtseva, Spring 2014 Student Intern

fishyHave you noticed transactions that you did not authorize or understand? Unusually high number of trades in your account? Substantial declines in the value of your investment? These and other signs may point to a broker’s misconduct. If something does not seem quite right about the investment activity in your account, it is worth looking into as it may be the result of a broker’s improper actions. While brokers cannot and should not guarantee the success of your investment, they also may not abuse their position of access or control to serve their own interests. If you suspect your broker of such activity, there are several things you can do.

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Friday’s Fraud – Affinity Fraud: Scammers in Sheep’s Clothing

By Benjamin Stubbs, Spring 2014 Student Intern

sheepWe’ve all heard the story about the wolf who dressed as a sheep to get an easy meal from an unwary lamb. Unfortunately some disreputable brokers, and people acting like brokers, have used this strategy to steal money from unsuspecting investors. This type of scheme is known as affinity fraud.

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Expungement under FINRA’s Rules: Notice to Arbitrators Relating to Expungement

By Dylan Donley, Spring 2014 Graduate Research Assistant

Last week, we discussed some of the reasons why expungements are being granted. This week, our focus is on FINRA’s response to PIABA’s findings. After the PIABA Expungement study was published, on October 16, 2013, FINRA released a statement indicating the next steps it would be taking in order to resolve the concerns raised about the prevalence of expungement relief being granted.

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