NASAA: Protecting Main Street Investors

With its membership consisting of 67 administrators from United States territories, districts and states, as well as from the provinces of Canada and Mexico, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) has as its main aim the protection of consumers who purchase investment advice and/or securities. To this end, the NASAA has jurisdiction over a wide range of intermediaries and issuers offering securities to members of the public. The Association also facilitates information sharing and multi-state enforcement actions for the state securities agencies it represents, and arranges training and education programs and seminars for securities agency staff at state, district and provincial level. The Uniform Securities Agent State Law Exam, referred to as ‘Series 63’, required as a qualification for securities agents in most states, was formulated by the NASAA and is administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

As part of its service, the NASAA issues up-to-date warnings with regard to investment fraud. While fraudsters take advantage of rapidly advancing technology to find new ways of scamming unsuspecting members of the public, it has been noted that age-old scams are still effective in getting victims to part with their hard-earned cash. The NASAA reiterates the advice that many are familiar with, but tend to forget when offered the possibility of making some easy money – if an investment opportunity sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

State securities regulators have been protecting Main Street investors against fraud for a hundred years, and today more than100 million investors rely on these regulators to continue their protective role. Although securities markets are global, licensed professionals sell securities locally, and are subject to scrutiny by state, federal, and industry regulators to ensure fair markets.

Security regulators in the NASAA‘s Enforcement Section compiled a list of 2013’s Top Ten financial practices and products for investors and small business owners to be wary of, i.e. Private Offerings; Real Estate Investment Schemes; Hi-Yield Investment and Ponzi Schemes; Affinity Fraud; Scam Artists Using Self-Directed IRA’s to Mask Fraud; Risky Oil and Gas Drilling Programs; Proxy Trading Accounts; Digital Currency; Capital-Raising Pitfalls; and Unregulated Third Party Service Providers.