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Financial News from Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)

  • Can You Ace This Quiz? Test Your Financial Literacy Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Thu, Jul 21, 2016 1:00 PM EDT
    Can You Ace This Quiz? Test Your Financial Literacy

    Findings from the National Financial Capability Study (NFCS), released this month by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation), reveal that many Americans demonstrate relatively low levels of financial literacy and have difficulty applying financial decision-making skills to real-life situations.

  • The Many Faces of America’s Financial Capability Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Thu, Jul 14, 2016 9:15 AM EDT
    The Many Faces of America’s Financial Capability

    The financial circumstances of Americans have improved over the last several years—but some groups, including woman, millennials, African-Americans and Hispanics—are struggling. These findings come from the National Financial Capability Study, released this month by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation.

  • Online Dating and Investment Fraud: Always Check Your Sources Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Thu, Jul 7, 2016 11:00 AM EDT
    Online Dating and Investment Fraud: Always Check Your Sources

    There are certain risks that go along with online dating. But did you know that investment fraud is one of them? Do some checking before you trust someone with your heart—or your money.

  • "Brexit" and Market Risk: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Tue, Jun 28, 2016 11:15 AM EDT
    "Brexit" and Market Risk: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

    The vote by Britain to leave the European Union was quickly felt the world over, creating market uncertainty and spiking volatility. In our investor alert, we outline the different types of market risks your investments may be exposed to and to describe steps you can take to minimize or manage those risks.

  • Summer Study: Understanding 529 College Savings Plans Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Wed, Jun 22, 2016 8:00 AM EDT
    Summer Study: Understanding 529 College Savings Plans

    Another school year has come to an end. For many parents, it’s a time when they realize that their child is one year closer to going to college, which, in turn, means it is a year closer to having to pay for higher education expenses. One way to save for college is to open and fund a 529 College Savings Plan.

  • Car Title Loans Can Take You for a Ride Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Tue, Jun 14, 2016 5:15 AM EDT
    Car Title Loans Can Take You for a Ride

    According to a new report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), one in five borrowers from auto title loan companies have their vehicles seized when they fall behind on repayment of their loans. The CFPB report illustrates just how difficult it is for many borrowers to avoid getting caught in the title-loan …

  • 5 Tips for Avoiding Viral Disease Stock Scams Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Tue, Jun 7, 2016 7:45 AM EDT
    5 Tips for Avoiding Viral Disease Stock Scams

    Dramatic news coverage of viral outbreaks often catch the interest of stock scammers looking to capitalize on fears of a potential pandemic. Investors should be wary of promotions touting stocks that claim to protect against the spread of viruses or other harmful diseases.

  • 5 Questions to Ask When Your Broker Changes Firms Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Thu, Jun 2, 2016 8:00 AM EDT
    5 Questions to Ask When Your Broker Changes Firms

    It can be a surprise to learn that the broker you have worked with over the years is leaving your current firm. If you’re thinking about whether to follow your broker or stay with your current firm, examine the key issues that will help you make an informed decision.

  • Hurricane Season Could Blow in Disaster-Related Stock Fraud Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Thu, May 26, 2016 7:45 AM EDT
    Hurricane Season Could Blow in Disaster-Related Stock Fraud

    Hurricane Season officially starts next week. While it may not be possible to predict when the next hurricane or other natural disaster will take place, here are some to help you protect against stock scams that tout the promise of huge gains in the wake of the next "big one."

  • Crowdfunding and the JOBS Act: What Investors Should Know Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Mon, May 16, 2016 7:00 AM EDT
    Crowdfunding and the JOBS Act: What Investors Should Know

    Investors can now buy securities through crowdfunding. This advisory is designed to help the public understand the crowdfunding rules and processes so they can make informed decisions about the risks and rewards of investing in these early-stage businesses.

  • Should You Exchange Your Variable Annuity? Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Thu, May 12, 2016 7:30 AM EDT
    Should You Exchange Your Variable Annuity?

    FINRA fined MetLife Securities, Inc. (MSI) $20 million and ordered it to pay $5 million to eligible customers for making negligent material misrepresentations and omissions on variable annuity (VA) replacement applications. FINRA’s enforcement action offers an opportunity to take a closer look at the VA exchange decision …

  • Emotions Increase Susceptibility to Fraud in Older Adults Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Thu, May 5, 2016 8:30 AM EDT
    Emotions Increase Susceptibility to Fraud in Older Adults

    New research suggests that seniors may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of heightened emotions on decision making. Researchers at the Stanford Center on Longevity, FINRA Foundation and AARP found that inducing emotions, such as excitement and anger, in older adults increased their intention to buy falsely advertised …

  • 5 Tips for Saving for Retirement—Automatically Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Tue, Apr 26, 2016 9:15 AM EDT
    5 Tips for Saving for Retirement—Automatically

    Automatic features make saving simple, but auto-saving isn’t the same as putting things on autopilot. These tips will help you make the most of your company’s automatic retirement savings features.

  • What You Should Know About Reverse Mortgages Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Tue, Apr 26, 2016 6:00 AM EDT
    What You Should Know About Reverse Mortgages

    Ads for reverse mortgages can give the false impression that they are an easy, cost-free way for retirees to finance vacations and leisurely lifestyles. But reverse mortgages aren't free money. Misusing them—or misunderstanding how they work—can jeopardize your financial future.

  • What You Should Know About Automated Investment Tools Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Mon, Apr 25, 2016 8:00 AM EDT

    While automated investment tools may offer clear benefits—including low cost, ease of use, and broad access—it is important to understand their risks and limitations before using them. 

  • Managing the Financial Impact of Unexpected Job Loss Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Wed, Apr 20, 2016 9:45 AM EDT
    Managing the Financial Impact of Unexpected Job Loss

    Rarely a day goes by that you don't hear about some company that has down-sized or closed its doors. It's a sober economic reality. You may not be able to control if or when your company decides to make some cuts—but you can plan ahead and take steps to manage the financial impact of those events.

  • How Confident Are You About Retiring Comfortably? Financial Industry Regulatory Authority - Wed, Apr 13, 2016 9:00 AM EDT
    How Confident Are You About Retiring Comfortably?

    Chances are, you’re more confident about your prospects for a comfortable retirement today than you were between 2009 and 2013, when retirement confidence was in the doldrums. According the recently released Retirement Confidence Survey, published annually by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the percentage of workers …

  • Required Minimum Distributions: Common Questions About IRA Accounts

    Every year, around tax time, FINRA receives questions from investors about required minimum distributions, or RMDs. In a nutshell, an RMD is the amount you must take out of your traditional retirement savings plan to avoid tax penalties, once you've reached the mandatory age for making withdrawals, usually 70½. The IRS …

  • How Investors Can Avoid Getting Fooled FINRA - Thu, Mar 31, 2016 5:30 PM EDT
    How Investors Can Avoid Getting Fooled

    April 1st is a day to indulge in silly hoaxes and pranks. 1. Know with whom you're dealing. When choosing a financial advisor, consider your financial needs and goals, and what types of people or firms you could work with. 2. Understand how to work with your advisor. Be clear and honest about your investment goals and …

  • Power of Attorney and Your Investments—10 Tips FINRA - Wed, Mar 23, 2016 3:15 PM EDT
    Power of Attorney and Your Investments—10 Tips

    One solution is to grant a power of attorney (POA) for your investment account assets to your spouse, sibling, adult child or close friend—someone you trust to act wisely and in your best interest. FINRA is issuing this alert to provide tips and information when considering a POA for your investment account assets.

  • What You Need to Know About Financial Planners FINRA - Thu, Mar 17, 2016 3:24 PM EDT

    As you seek out a financial professional, you are apt to come across individuals who call themselves financial planners. Here's what you need to know about financial planners. What Are Financial Planners?

  • Filing an Investor Complaint FINRA - Thu, Mar 10, 2016 9:17 AM EST
    Filing an Investor Complaint

    Most business in the securities industry is conducted fairly, efficiently and in a manner that satisfies everyone involved. If you believe that a sales person, brokerage firm or other industry professional has treated you unfairly, you can file a complaint with FINRA.

  • 5 Things to Know About Transferring a Brokerage Account FINRA - Tue, Mar 1, 2016 11:37 AM EST
    5 Things to Know About Transferring a Brokerage Account

    When investors transfer securities account assets between broker-dealers, the process runs smoothly for the vast majority of the thousands of accounts transferred each year. Here are 5 things you should know about the account transfer process. Most customer account assets can be transferred through an automated proce …

  • 5 Ways to Buy a Muni Bond FINRA - Wed, Feb 24, 2016 1:20 PM EST
    5 Ways to Buy a Muni Bond

    A helpful new resource from the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, or MSRB, lays out a number of ways you can participate in the municipal bond market. 1. Use the services of a broker-dealer or a bank department that is a municipal securities dealer. At a full-service broker-dealer, a broker who primarily deals with …

  • For Military Families, This Pledge Is Worth Taking FINRA - Thu, Feb 18, 2016 10:16 AM EST
    For Military Families, This Pledge Is Worth Taking

    There are plenty of days in the month of February that mark special occasions, from Super Bowl Sunday to Valentine's Day. February 22 – 27 is America Saves Week and Military Saves Week, a time when the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) joins forces with participating organizations and military installations to encourage …

  • High-Yield CD Offers Can Be Bait for High-Commission Investments

    If you inquire about the certificate of deposit (CD), you may find yourself listening to a sales pitch and ultimately owning a very costly, potentially risky investment—something much different than a CD. FINRA is issuing this alert based on calls to its Securities Helpline for Seniors (1-844-57-HELPS (1-844-574-3577)) …

  • Cost Basis and Your Taxes—Brokerage Firms Assist, But Filing and Record Keeping Is In Your Court

    To figure out whether you need to report a gain—or can claim a loss—after you sell, you need to know the cost basis for that investment. For stocks or bonds, the cost basis is generally the price you paid to purchase the securities, including purchases made by reinvestment of dividends or capital gains distributions, plus …

  • Stock Market Got You Down? Tips for a Turbulent Market FINRA - Tue, Jan 26, 2016 9:59 AM EST
    Stock Market Got You Down? Tips for a Turbulent Market

    The stock market is off to a rocky start this year. 1. Revisit your financial goals. Setting clear, prioritized goals—each with steps to achieve the goal, a price tag and a time frame—will help guide your investment approach.

  • Disaster Planning—5 Things to Put in Your Financial Emergency Kit

    You rarely have much advance warning to prepare for most natural catastrophes, which is why it's important to assemble a financial emergency kit now, ahead of a crisis. Before we go into the contents of your financial emergency kit, here are a few pointers. You can get started on the planning process by going to the Department …

  • Lessons for All Investors from FINRA's Senior Hotline FINRA - Tue, Jan 12, 2016 12:50 PM EST
    Lessons for All Investors from FINRA's Senior Hotline

    The FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors TM (1-844-57-HELPS (1-844-574-3577)) has fielded more than 2,500 calls and helped investors recover nearly $750,000 in voluntary reimbursements from firms since its launch in April 2015. FINRA fielded calls—and subsequently issued investor alerts—related to fraud centering on taxes, …

  • You’ve Decided to Hire a Financial Professional. Now What?

    According to a study by the Society of Actuaries, less than half of pre-retirees, and 55 percent of retirees, reported paying an investment professional to help them plan their financial future. Once you've identified some potential candidates (start by asking friends, family and colleagues who already invest for the names …

  • Are Your Investments Ready for the New Year? FINRA Offers 6 Tips for 2016

    The dawn of a new year is an ideal time to assess your progress toward your investment goals, and make any needed adjustments. Setting clear, prioritized goals—each with steps to achieve the goal, a price tag and a time frame—will help guide your investment approach. Yes, the Fed raised the federal funds rate and might …

  • An increasing number of securities firms are marketing and offering securities-backed lines of credit, or SBLOCs, to investors. SBLOCs can be a key revenue source for securities firms, especially in times of solid market returns and growing investment portfolios, when investors may feel more comfortable leveraging their …

  • 3 Things to Keep in Mind if the Fed Raises Rates FINRA - Tue, Dec 15, 2015 1:00 PM EST
    3 Things to Keep in Mind if the Fed Raises Rates

    As media stories report on a potential hike in the federal funds rate by the Federal Reserve, here are three things to keep in mind. First, while it is generally true that bond prices fall when interest rates rise, a rate change will likely mean different things to different investors. A rate hike generally depresses …

  • What You Should Know About Bitcoin FINRA - Wed, Dec 9, 2015 1:10 PM EST
    What You Should Know About Bitcoin

    Bitcoin and other digital currencies continue to garner attention in media reports and elsewhere. Earlier this month, on December 1, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged two Bitcoin mining companies—GAW Miners and ZenMiner—and their founder with conducting a Ponzi scheme by purporting to offer shares …

  • Don't Go Holiday Shopping With Your 401(k) FINRA - Wed, Dec 2, 2015 1:15 PM EST
    Don't Go Holiday Shopping With Your 401(k)

    If you find yourself thinking about tapping your 401(k) for extra funds, you may want to think again. A 401(k) is where many Americans build their retirement nest egg, and that of course is the primary function of a 401(k) account. While taking a loan may help solve an immediate financial need, there can be consequences …

  • Wake Up and Smell the Pump and Dump FINRA - Tue, Nov 24, 2015 10:30 AM EST
    Wake Up and Smell the Pump and Dump

    The SEC alleges that Jammin' Java's former CEO Shane Whittle orchestrated the scheme with three others who live abroad and operate entities offshore. Using a reverse merger to secretly gain control of millions of Jammin' Java shares, Whittle spread the stock to the offshore entities controlled by a trio of international …

  • How to Stay Out of the Red on Black Friday FINRA - Tue, Nov 17, 2015 2:45 PM EST
    How to Stay Out of the Red on Black Friday

    When it comes to taking control of holiday spending this year, a recent survey by Deloitte offers insight on where to start if you want to stay in the black on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and beyond. Just ...

  • Military Ties Can Be Used to Commit Financial Fraud FINRA - Wed, Nov 11, 2015 10:35 AM EST
    Military Ties Can Be Used to Commit Financial Fraud

    While there, he formed many enduring bonds and friendships, including with fellow Marine Clayton Cohn. Clayton also reached out to his friends, family members and other fellow veterans as potential investors. Clayton repeatedly told James that his investments were doing great.

  • IRS Scam Uses Tools of the Fraud Trade: Phones and Emotions

    According to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, over 4,500 taxpayers have been victimized since October 2013, handing over some $23 million to the fraudsters. If not, report the incident to the IRS and to Treasury Inspector General along with the phone number that you may have retrieved during the  …

  • Binary Options: These All-Or-Nothing Options Are All-Too-Often Fraudulent

    Trading binary options can be an extremely risky proposition. Unlike other types of options contracts, binary options are all-or-nothing propositions. When a binary option expires, it either makes a pre-specified amount of money, or nothing at all, in which case the investor loses his or her entire investment.

  • Don't Get Fooled by a Lottery Scam FINRA - Mon, Oct 19, 2015 2:40 PM EDT
    Don't Get Fooled by a Lottery Scam

    FINRA is issuing this alert to warn investors about scammers who contact investors with promises of significant cash, prizes and lottery winnings. Through its recently launched FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors – HELPS™, FINRA has received a number of calls from investors who were contacted by individuals offering …

  • What to Expect When You Open a Brokerage Account FINRA - Thu, Oct 15, 2015 4:30 PM EDT
    What to Expect When You Open a Brokerage Account

    Planning to open a brokerage account? Here’s what to expect if you decide to open a brokerage account. This will include a new account application, which brokerage firms may also call a new account form, account opening form or something similar.

  • 3 Things to Know About Financial Planners FINRA - Tue, Oct 6, 2015 4:20 PM EDT
    3 Things to Know About Financial Planners

    As you seek out a financial professional, you are apt to come across individuals who call themselves financial planners. Here are three things you need to know about financial planners. Financial planners can come from a variety of backgrounds and offer a variety of services.

  • Is It Time to Rebalance Your Portfolio? FINRA - Wed, Sep 30, 2015 10:55 AM EDT
    Is It Time to Rebalance Your Portfolio?

    As you say goodbye to the dog days of summer, and hello to the cool air and changing leaves of autumn, consider checking in with your asset allocation to see whether it is still achieving the balance you intended. If not, it may be time to consider rebalancing your portfolio. What Is Asset Allocation?

  • Smart Beta—What You Need to Know FINRA - Wed, Sep 23, 2015 2:00 PM EDT
    Smart Beta—What You Need to Know

    Many investors are familiar with index funds, which are mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that seek to track the performance of a particular benchmark index. Most other widely known indices, including the S&P 500, NASDAQ 100 and Russell 2000, use a company's market capitalization to determine how much weight …

  • Your One-Minute Guide to Stock Volatility FINRA - Wed, Sep 16, 2015 12:00 PM EDT
    Your One-Minute Guide to Stock Volatility

    If you've seen the jagged lines on charts tracking stock prices lately, you know that prices fluctuate throughout the day and week, sometimes significantly. You'll see short-term fluctuations as the stock's price moves within a certain price range, and longer-term trends over months and years, in which that short-term …

  • Market Risk: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You FINRA - Thu, Sep 10, 2015 2:35 PM EDT
    Market Risk: What You Don't Know Can Hurt You

    The recent decline in the Chinese stock market was quickly felt the world over, sending other markets tumbling and spiking volatility. Most investors know that investing involves risks as well as rewards and that, generally speaking, the higher the risk, the greater the potential reward. What Is Market Risk?

  • Messaging Apps Are Latest Platform for Delivering Pump-And-Dump Scams

    FINRA is issuing this Alert to warn investors to be wary of stock promotions sent through popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp that allow users to almost instantly exchange messages. The messages could be coming from fraudsters looking to trick unsuspecting investors. In recent weeks, scammers have been using messaging …

  • Custodial Accounts Are Another Way to Save for College FINRA - Wed, Aug 26, 2015 9:45 AM EDT
    Custodial Accounts Are Another Way to Save for College

    There are many ways to save for college, from relatively recent products such as 529 plans to putting money away the old-fashioned way with U.S. Savings Bonds. There's another option to consider: custodial accounts, which include Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) accounts and Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts. …

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