Do you really know who’s managing your retirement savings?
That’s the question on a lot of people’s minds these days. Most recently, the SEC issued an Investor Alert focusing on how easily retail investors can be duped by phony financial advisors. With various kinds of broker background checks just a click or two away, it’s not just prudent it’s easy now to conduct a thorough background check on your current or prospective financial advisor. Incredibly enough, most Americans seem to spend more time checking out reviews of a possible restaurant choice for dinner Saturday evening than they do digging around on the person responsible for managing their life-savings…
According the SEC, the most common ploys used by fraudsters to deceive you into turning over your money to them include:
- Misrepresenting their education.
- Lying about awards that they have not received or that do not even exist.
- Advertising certain professional titles that they do not hold or that do not represent the expertise or qualifications they pretend to.
- Promoting “specialities” such as managing the money of senior citizens
- Using guest appearances on the radio or TV to misrepresent themselves to investors
- Using new media such as the internet, blogs, or social media to build a public online profile that lends them a false air of authority
- Pretending to hold a certain position or title at a company that may or may not exist
- Inflating their professional experience beyond what is ethical
Doing a Background Check on Your Financial Professional
Both the SEC and its industry regulatory body, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, offer searchable database containing the professional history of registered advisors. Most importantly, FINRA’s BrokerCheck contains information about customer complaints and disciplinary actions against financial advisors. Before signing your account opening documents with that exciting new stock broker you saw on TV or heard from a friend was a pure money-maker, do your own due diligence and go beyond Google by running a BrokerCheck.
If you or anyone you know has been the victim of broker misconduct or investment fraud, please contact our securities attorneys immediately to discuss your legal rights by calling toll-free 1-855-462-3330 or by using our online contact form.