Investor Advocacy Clinic Partners with Secretary of State Office on Investor Education

Beginning this semester, Georgia State University College of Law’s Investor Advocacy Clinic is partnering with Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s office to enhance investor education in Georgia.

“Our partnership is driven by the need for improved and more highly visible investor education,” stated Secretary Kemp. “We want to provide Georgians with dynamic resources that will better enable them to manage their savings investments and avoid being victimized by investment schemes and scams.”

Under the direction of Nicole G. Iannarone, assistant clinical professor and clinic director, students are working with the Securities Division by developing informational resources for investors to make informed investment decisions and avoid investor fraud.

“Our goal is to meet investors where they are with information that is interesting, easy to understand and meaningful,” Iannarone said.

As part of the partnership, clinic students also are helping the division’s attorneys with cases, investigating compliance matters and complaints.

“In the clinic, we historically only represented clients with claims against broker dealers associated with FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority,” Iannarone said. “Now, we can give students a 360-degree view of securities regulation and administration. Our students will explore how regulation affects investment advisers, how investment professionals are overseen and how the state securities framework operates.”

According to Noula Zaharis, director of the Securities Division, the partnership with Georgia State Law is one that could serve as a model for other states and law schools.

“By working with the clinic, we are able to expand our resources for cases and educational outreach efforts,” said Zaharis. “This is also a valuable educational experience for the students.”

Georgia State Law alumni Candice Broce (J.D. ’14) and Benjamin Martin (J.D. ’11) work at the Secretary of State’s office and plan to work with clinic students in various capacities.

“Ben and I both had terrific experiential learning opportunities while at Georgia State Law,” Broce said. “I’m excited that now we can pay it forward by working with current students.”

The Securities Division of the Secretary of State’s Office is charged with the implementation and enforcement of the Georgia Uniform Securities Act of 2008. The Securities Division registers securities offered or sold in Georgia, oversees firms and individuals selling securities or providing investment advice in Georgia, enforces the Securities Act through criminal, civil and administrative penalties, and promotes investor education.