First SEC Investor Advocate Appointed
As part of the Dodd-Frank law signed in July 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has set up the Office of the Investor Advocate and appointed the current deputy general counsel for the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), Rick A. Fleming, to head up the new department, starting February 24. The new investor advocacy office aims to educate members of the public who are considering making investments, by making investment information and decision making tools freely available. As stated on their website: “The SEC cannot tell you what investments to make, but we can offer unbiased information about investing.” Topics covered by the SEC include Introduction to the Markets; Investing Basics; Researching and Managing Investments; Employment and Retirement; and Life Events.
Rick Fleming has been deputy general counsel at NASAA since October 2011, where his duties included advocating for investors and representing the organization before federal agencies, such as the SEC, as well as Congress. NASAA was founded in 1919, making it the oldest international investor protection organization. The membership of NASAA consists of 67 administrators from the various states, territories and districts of the United States, as well as the provinces of Canada and Mexico. The main aim of NASAA is to protect consumers who buy securities or seek investment advice, while it has jurisdiction over a range of intermediaries and issuers selling securities to members of the public. It also issues warnings regarding investment fraud.
Prior to his post at NASAA, Fleming worked in the Office of the Securities Commissioner in Kansas where he represented the state of Kansas in various proceedings taking disciplinary measures against dishonest investment advisers and broker dealers, among other duties relating to securities fraud. He majored in finance and economics for his bachelor’s degree from Washburn University, and holds a law degree from Wake Forest University.
In a published interview, Fleming said that he considered it to be a great honor to be appointed as the first Investor Advocate at the SEC, noting that he would be working alongside many talented professionals who have dedicated their careers to the protection of investors. He stated that he was looking forward to helping ensure that investors are always heard and treated fairly.