The State of Blue Sky Laws

By Thomas Abrahamson, Spring 2014 Student Intern

blue skySecurities regulation in the United States has several levels. First, regulations take place on a federal level through Congress and administrative agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Then after these federal regulations you have state legislatures and commissions. It is these state level regulations that are referred to as “blue sky” laws.

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Investor Advocacy Clinic Comment Highlights Importance of Protecting Investors’ Confidential Information

The  Investor Advocacy Clinic is dedicated to protecting investors’ interests. One way in which we accomplish this is by closely monitoring rule changes that may affect individual investors.

FINRA periodically revises its arbitration rules to update or improve the arbitration process. Before any new rules or changes to rules may be adopted, the proposed rule is provided to the public for comment. Comments are reviewed and taken into consideration when deciding whether to modify an existing rule or adopt/reject a new rule. As such, the Investor Advocacy Clinic endeavors to participate in this critical process to protect investors.

The Proposal: SR-FINRA-2014-008

FINRA proposal SR-FINRA-2014-008 suggests changes to how confidential investor information is handled in certain aspects of arbitration proceedings. The changes include requiring parties to redact or remove parts of personal identifiers, such as social security numbers, and gives investors thirty days to correct redaction mistakes and resubmit properly redacted versions.

The Clinic’s Comment

On March 14, 2014, the clinic submitted its comment on the proposed rule change. Overall, the clinic expressed support for the proposal’s goal, but recommended broadening the rule to cover more confidential information in every situation where investors’ confidential information is being exchanged. Federal courts have similar rules requiring the redaction of sensitive information and the proposed rule change seeks to move FINRA proceedings in the same direction, though the clinic noted the FINRA proposal could go further, mirroring the protections available in federal courts. The clinic feels our proposed additions will better protect investors’ personal information.

Protecting investor information is important to the clinic, and we will continue to submit comments to other rules that impact investor interests.

The primary student author, Natalya Nemtseva, was assisted by student interns Timothy Guilmette and Thomas Abrahamson in drafting the clinic’s comment.

Preparing to Invest: Get Your Financial House in Order

By: Thomas Abrahamson, Spring 2014 Student Intern

Dollar SignMaking the decision to start investing is a big step, but before you jump in and start buying stocks and bonds you must get your financial house in order.  This is much easier said than done in most cases.  Today we are focusing on the first and possibly the most important step to take place before you start investing.  This step is to determine your budget. Continue reading

Meet Student Intern Thomas Abrahamson

abrahamsonThomas Abrahamson is a student intern in the Investor Advocacy Clinic’s spring 2014 semester.  From Suwanee, Georgia, Abrahamson is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, with a degree in business administration with a finance concentration.

According to Abrahamson, the Investor Advocacy Clinic

“provides a much needed service to investors who otherwise would not be able to afford a lawyer.  These investors have lost money, often their life savings, and whether it is $100 or $1 million, they should have access to legal services to help make them whole again.”

Spring 2014 Students Start in Clinic

The Investor Advocacy Clinic kicked off its spring 2014 semester with six new student interns.  Our spring 2014 class includes students Thomas Abrahamson, Scott Evans, Timothy Guilmette, Nataliya Nemtseva, Benjamin Stubbs and Patricia Uceda.  This semester, former fall 2013 student intern Dylan Donley will serve the clinic as a Graduate Research Assistant. Continue reading