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Securities Newsletter

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In this edition, we report that the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) reappointed NC Secretary of State Elaine Marshall as Co-Chair of the NASS Securities Committee and as the organization's representative to the Uniform Law Commission (ULC) Advisory Committee. We also report that the NC Conference of District Attorneys has published the first-in-the-nation handbook for state District Attorneys on prosecuting all forms of elder abuse and exploitation. A representative of the Secretary of State Securities Division was among the many collaborators on this project. The Division is grateful to the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) for granting permission to include information from its enforcement manual with regard to conducting financial investigations. We include an investor alert that was jointly issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and NASAA recommending that investors choose a “trusted contact” so that their financial firms might contact that individual when there are concerns about activity in the investor’s account or if the firm has been unable to reach the investor after numerous attempts. We include information about an upcoming free, virtual program hosted by the SEC entitled, “Money and Markets: Trends and Risks for Retail Investors.” We also include information about the Financial and Investment Education Program PBS Books offers. October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so our Cybersecurity Corner section includes links to resources to help keep individuals and businesses safe. There is also specific cybersecurity information for investment advisory firms. We also include information about the nationwide poster contest the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) is sponsoring for all K-12 students. In our News from the Regulators section, we include information from FINRA about new rules addressing brokerage firms with histories of misconduct; an investor alert from the SEC about cryptocurrency and digital assets scams; and a report on the findings of a joint study undertaken by FINRA, the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Institute for Marketplace Trust and the University of Minnesota examining why some consumers are more vulnerable to scams than others. Finally, we include the latest enforcement actions undertaken by the Securities Division to protect investors.
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In this issue, we focus on cybersecurity and provide many opportunities and resources for individuals and businesses to learn more about ways they can protect themselves, including a Tele-Town Hall featuring NC Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall and Kathy Stokes, AARP’s Director of Fraud Prevention Programs. Be sure to check out this month’s “Cybersecurity Corner” section for links to helpful resources. We also include a link to a “Focus on Business” interview host Lea Strickland conducted with Secretary Marshall. The interview covered the Department’s ongoing historic increase in business creation filings, which is further illustrated by a report Secretary Marshall released showing that there were 96,000 new businesses created between January-June 2021, an 80% increase over the number created during the same period last year. We also include our latest investor alert explaining how expense ratios are calculated and why they are important for investors to understand. We also include information about investor education programs that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) have launched aimed at protecting both new investors and vulnerable seniors. We also include our regular News from the Regulators and Enforcement News sections.
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In this issue, Secretary Elaine F. Marshall invites readers to join her and representatives of AARP North Carolina, FINRA and Mecklenburg County for a virtual “Financial Nightcap” on Tuesday, May 25th. Hosted by AARP North Carolina, the focus will be on reinforcing one’s financial foundation as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is free, but registration is required. See the newsletter for details. We also invite Facebook followers of the Secretary of State’s Office to join in the Facebook Live event focusing on retirement readiness for military families that will stream on the Department’s Facebook page on Friday, May 28th at 1 pm. Produced by the Investor Protection Trust and PBS Books, the event will talk about the steps young servicemembers can take now to prepare for their long-term financial security. We also include a link to FINRA’s latest “Unscripted” podcast, this one dealing with how FINRA’s Advertising Regulation Department helps protect investors by helping ensure that broker dealers’ communications with the public – including their websites, social media and print advertising – are fair, balanced and not misleading. We also feature a report on the 2.5-day long virtual annual conference that the NC Partnership to Address Adult Abuse held this month. Among the many engaging sessions was one that spotlighted the Secretary of State’s involvement in a joint effort with the NC Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Aging and Adult Services on the development of the HelpVul web portal that promotes communication and collaboration between financial institutions, county Adult Protective Services, and the Secretary of State’s Office on suspected cases of financial abuse and exploitation aimed at vulnerable adults. We include links to the recorded session. We also provide information about the SEC’s upcoming 40th Annual Small Business Forum, as well as other information from the regulators. We also include our latest Enforcement News.
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In this edition, we report on the sentencing of Anthony Wayne March of Wake Forest, NC, to 135 months imprisonment for his role in an $8.1 million Ponzi scheme. The NC Department of Secretary of State Securities Division assisted in the investigation and prosecution of March. We also unveil the Top Investor Threats for 2021 as compiled by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and include the link to an investor protection presentation hosted by AARP Western North Carolina. We also feature information about the next installment in the “Boomers to Zoomers” Facebook Live series that will take place at 1 pm on April 23. This series is jointly presented by the Investor Protection Trust, PBS Books and Detroit Public Television and is free to all. The Secretary of State’s Office will stream the conversation on its Facebook page, @NCSecState. We also feature new investor alerts about “SPACS” and “ESG Investing.” What do those initials mean? Learn what they are and how to protect yourself from scams. We also include information relating to and new study by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation) and the Center for Economic and Social Research (CESR) which provides new evidence that repeated exposure to concise, online educational interventions can reduce susceptibility to investment fraud among U.S. adults. Finally, we include our regular Calendar of Upcoming Events, News from the Regulators, our Cybersecurity Corner, and our Enforcement News.
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In this edition, we discuss issues investors should consider before succumbing to hype about certain investments they see on social media platforms. We provide an Investor alert from the SEC about this as well as a link to an NPR Planet Money podcast explaining the recent GameStop "short squeeze." We also inform NC attorneys about our free CLE program. We include another SEC investor alert warning people about how the isolation of the elderly during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the number of investment scams. We include a link to the NC Secretary of State Securities Division's latest Informed Investor Alert about protecting one's online accounts. We include a notice that AARP North Carolina is conducting a Facebook Live event at 10:00 am on March 1 with Secretary of State Elaine Marshall and Attorney General Josh Stein. They will be discussing fraud prevention. Details are included. In our Cybersecurity Corner, we feature FINRA's 2021 Risk Monitoring and Examination Activities Report, which addresses 18 regulatory areas, including cybersecurity for member firms to be mindful of. Finally, we include our regular News from the Regulators and Enforcement News sections.
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