Hello, everyone. I am pleased to join you on this roundtable co-hosted by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).
These state-level regulators as well as securities regulators across all 50 states do such important work protecting you: investors. We at the SEC benefit from working in close partnership with them—as law enforcement partners, as securities-regulator partners—including through forums like today’s event.
You just heard from our hosts—Leslie [Van Buskirk], Cristina [Martin Firvida], and Andrew [Hartnett]. In a moment, you’ll hear from my fellow Commissioner and colleague Mark Uyeda.
You’ll then hear from six Wisconsin investors who experienced fraud, and the investigators who worked on those cases.
As securities regulators, whether at the state level or the national level, our mission—our charge—are clear.
For us at the SEC, we have a three-part mission, focused ultimately on making sure that the markets—broker-dealers, the investment advisers, so-called intermediaries in the middle of the market—they serve investors like you and issuers raising money in the markets.
It’s not the other way around; it’s not that you serve the broker-dealers and the investment advisers.
You, too, are partners in this work. The investing public helps us do our jobs. We benefit from hearing your voices and your stories—in events like this and beyond.
We also benefit in two other ways, though.
We benefit when you weigh in on what’s called our regulatory agenda. When we from time to time update the rules of the road, we put those out for public comment. Hearing from you, the investing public, truly helps us. You better believe we’re hearing from the large broker-dealers and the large trade associations. It’s good also to hear directly from investors.
Further, you help us in our enforcement work. If you have something to alert us about—a tip, a complaint, or a referral—please do not hesitate to go to <https://www.sec.gov/tcr>.
While there are many good actors in the world, there are also bad actors in the markets, trying to prey on our hope for a better future. I understand that some of that which is about to be discussed—these six cases—what played out in a number of the cases was something called affinity fraud, where a bad actor posed as a trusted member of a community to defraud other members of that community. Beware of that.
Secondly, if an investment opportunity feels too good to be true, that might be what it is. It might just be too good to be true. Beware of that as well.
When the two may come together—where it’s somebody who’s pretending to be a member of your community or a trusted member, and trying to prey upon you—beware.
We have resources you can turn to at the SEC. You can go to <https://www.investor.gov> to help you do your due diligence and detect common patterns of fraud.
Once again, I’d like to thank all of you for raising your hand and raising your voices. I’d also like to thank our colleagues—our law enforcement partners, our regulatory partners at the state level, securities regulators—for everything that they do.
I wish you all a productive roundtable.