Investor Protection How the SEC Can Help


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  • Our “Spotlight” page features information on important cases and issues.
  • We’ve made some improvements to our EDGAR search features. EDGAR, of course, is our electronic library of all public company filings.
  • On the EDGAR search page, we have a couple of new features. First, we’ve improved the “Companies and Other Filers” page.
  • To find a company, enter a name.
  • You can now search on a company and obtain ONLY the Forms 3, 4 and 5, or exclude them.
  • And we now post our filings real-time.
  • We have two different data bases within our “Fast Answers” feature. We have a pre-loaded data base of questions and answers. The most frequently asked questions appear on the bottom of the screen. While we can hard-code particular questions there, we rarely do that.
  • We have a lot of information under our “Fast Answers” feature.
  • We also have created other websites, which are fake scams. This one promises that if you invest in this company, which we made up, you will be very, very wealthy.
  • We provided contact information for our fake company. When investors write or call us about McWhortle, we respond.
  • We have created four fake scam sites. Of course, if you click to invest in any of them, you will get this kind of warning about on-line investment fraud.
  • This site is a fake prime bank site.
  • Old Glory is a fake mutual fund that promises to make you rich.
  • Our newest, GRDI, is a fake hedge fund. We created it because a lot of people have begun to be interested in hedge funds, which they believe will give them better returns than traditional investments. GRDI promises unbelievably high returns.
  • We get a lot of good publicity from our fake scams. People who visit tell us they like the idea.
  • Investor Protection How the SEC Can Help

    1. 1. Investor Protection How the SEC Can Help Jack McCreery, staff attorney Office of Investor Education and Assistance
    2. 2. The Usual Disclaimer The Securities and Exchange Commission, as a matter of policy, disclaims responsibility for any private publication or statement by any of its employees. The views expressed in this presentation are those of Mr. McCreery and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SEC, its Commissioners, or other members of the SEC’s staff.
    3. 3. Who We Are and What We Do <ul><ul><li>Created in 1934 following the Stock Market Crash of 1929 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Administer the federal securities laws </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oversee brokerage firms and other investment service providers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Review filings by most public companies </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. How the SEC Protects Investors <ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Assure that the securities markets are open, fair, and honest </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Require companies to disclose information </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Catch wrongdoers and impose punishment ranging from fines to kicking them out of the industry </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    5. 6. How the SEC Helps Investors Help Themselves <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Show investors how to research investments and the people who sell them </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Make information about publicly traded companies available to the public </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Answer questions and handle complaints </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Provide free educational materials </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    6. 7. SEC Web Resources Where can I find… <ul><li>Special collections of information, such as updates on Enron, WorldCom </li></ul><ul><li>Financial statement filings from EDGAR </li></ul><ul><li>Fast answers library and our glossary </li></ul><ul><li>Calculators </li></ul><ul><li>Hot stock recommendations! </li></ul>
    7. 10. Who Must File Reports <ul><li>A company must file reports if: </li></ul><ul><li>It has 500 or more investors and $10 million or more in assets, or </li></ul><ul><li>It lists its securities on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>American Stock Exchange </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Boston Stock Exchange </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chicago Stock Exchange </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cincinnati Stock Exchange </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>International Securities Exchange </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nasdaq Stock Market </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New York Stock Exchange </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pacific Exchange </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Philadelphia Stock Exchange, or </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3. Its securities are quoted on the OTCBB </li></ul>
    8. 14. Tips for Searching EDGAR <ul><li>Ticker symbol search for 9400 largest     publicly traded companies </li></ul><ul><li>To a find a company named for a person (e.g., John Doe Widget Maker, Inc.), search last name first: Doe John </li></ul><ul><li>For most searches, “Company Search” will do For complex queries, use the “Archives” search </li></ul>
    9. 15. <ul><li>Registration Statements (S-1, SB-1, F-1) </li></ul><ul><li>Periodic Reports (Form 10-K for annual info, Form 10-Q for quarterly results) </li></ul><ul><li>Current Reports (Form 8-K) </li></ul><ul><li>Proxy Statements (known in EDGAR as Form DEF 14A) </li></ul>Sources of Company Info:
    10. 16. What You’ll Find in a 10-K: <ul><li>Item 1: Business </li></ul><ul><li>Item 2: Properties </li></ul><ul><li>Item 3: Legal proceedings </li></ul><ul><li>Item 4: Submission of matters to a vote </li></ul><ul><li>Item 5: Market for securities </li></ul><ul><li>Item 6: Selected financial data </li></ul><ul><li>Item 7: MD&A </li></ul><ul><li>Item 7A: Market risk </li></ul><ul><li>Item 8: Financial statements </li></ul><ul><li>Item 9: Change in accountants </li></ul><ul><li>Item 10: Directors & executive officers </li></ul><ul><li>Item 11: Executive comp </li></ul><ul><li>Item 12: Ownership (insiders) </li></ul><ul><li>Item 13: Relationships & related transactions </li></ul><ul><li>Item 14: Accounting Fees & services </li></ul><ul><li>Item 15: Exhibits </li></ul><ul><li>Signatures & Certifications </li></ul>
    11. 17. What You’ll Find in an 8-K: <ul><li>Section 1--Registrant's Business and Operations - Entry or termination of a material agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Section 2--Financial Information Acquisition or Disposition of Assets, Creation of a Direct Financial Obligation, Material Impairments </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Section 3--Securities and Trading Markets Notice of Delisting, Material Modification to Rights of Security Holders  </li></ul><ul><li>Section 4--Matters Related to Accountants and Financial Statements Change of Accountants, Non-Reliance on Previously Issued Financial Statements  </li></ul><ul><li>Section 5--Corporate Governance and Management Changes in Control, Departure of Directors or Principal Officers </li></ul><ul><li>Section 6--Reserved (for future use) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>Section 7--Regulation FD Disclosure   </li></ul><ul><li>Section 8--Other Events Other Events (material, but not specified in 8-K instructions) </li></ul><ul><li>Section 9--Financial Statements and Exhibits Financial Statements and Exhibits </li></ul><ul><li>Companies have four days to file a Form 8-K for the events specified in the items in Sections 1-5 and 9 above. However, if the issuer is furnishing a Form 8-K solely to satisfy its obligations under Regulation FD, then the due date might be earlier. </li></ul>
    12. 18. <ul><li>Form 3: Insiders must file no later than the effective date of the registration statement, or, if the issuer is already registered, within ten days of becoming an officer, director, or beneficial owner. </li></ul><ul><li>Form 4: Changes in ownership must be reported within two business days. Limited categories of transactions are not subject to the two-day reporting requirement. </li></ul><ul><li>Form 5: Insiders use this form to report any transactions that should have been reported earlier on a Form 4 or were eligible for deferred reporting. </li></ul>Stock Ownership Forms
    13. 21. Helpful Materials at <ul><li>On-line publications </li></ul><ul><li>Calculators </li></ul><ul><li>Check out Brokers & Advisers </li></ul><ul><li>Complaint Center </li></ul><ul><li>“Fast Answers” to securities questions </li></ul>
    14. 30. Ways to Diversify <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use a mix of cash, bonds, and stocks in your portfolio </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Investing in mutual funds can provide diversification by company size, by industry sector, and sometimes by both </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be sure you know your time horizons and risk tolerance before investing </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    15. 31. Watch Out for Costs <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ask your broker about commissions </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Remember, your broker gets a commission whether you buy or sell, and whether you make money or lose money </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Be aware of account fees, margin fees, wrap fees, minimum balances, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Use the SEC’s online Mutual Fund Cost Calculator </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    16. 32. Research Your Broker! <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Find out your broker’s background </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Check out your broker with the NASD online at Call 1-800-289-9999 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Check with the state securities regulators online at or give your state’s regulator a call </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>You owe it to yourself to know with whom you are doing business </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    17. 33. Research Your Adviser! <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Investment advisers who manage $25 million or more in client assets generally must register with the SEC </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Check the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website under “Investment Management” on our website </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Advisers with less than $25 million must register with the state securities agency where the principal place of business is </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    18. 34. Research Any Investment! <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Read everything you can about a company </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Check out company filings through the SEC’s website ( ) & “EDGAR” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If you don’t understand an investment product, don’t buy it </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    19. 35. Psst-want a hot stock tip? <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> (a very hot IPO opportunity) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> (a fabulous prime bank site) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> (a glorious mutual fund) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li> (a hedge fund you shouldn’t miss) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    20. 47. SEC Contact Information <ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Website: </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Phone: 1-800-732-0330 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Email: [email_address] </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Mail: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission 100 F Street, NE Washington, DC 20549-0213 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>