One of the most important ways investors can protect their hard-earned money from stockbroker misconduct and investment fraud is to review their investments and accounts on a regular basis. As an investment fraud attorney, I recommend at least once a year.
Last week (Oct. 15 – 21) was National Estate Planning Awareness Week, which means many of you probably spent the week digging through paperwork, updating account numbers and beneficiaries, and reviewing financial statements – all activities that serve as perfect preparations for reviewing your investments.
Though it might feel overwhelming, reviewing your investments doesn’t have to be complicated. First and foremost, pay attention to your account statements. Look for suspicious activity, unauthorized transactions, balance discrepancies, and missing information. Also make sure that you look for and can recognize the red flags of investment fraud.
For added protection, you also should take the time to:
Even if you’re been with your advisor or broker for years. Charges of misconduct or fraudulent activity can come to light at any time. Use free online tools, such as BrightScope or FINRA’s BrokerCheck, to look for disciplinary actions or arbitration awards filed against your advisor in the past year.
Make sure the investment strategies, fees, commissions, and risks are in line with what you’ve been told about the investment and that you understand each section.
Your financial objectives and goals for the future may change through the years as your financial situation changes. Review each of your investments’ risks, benefits, objectives, time horizons, and liquidity to ensure they are still suitable.
The information on file with the professional or firm should accurately reflect your age, income, net worth, financial status, long-term goals, and investment objectives. If anything is out of date or incorrect, contact your advisor or broker and ask for it to be corrected immediately.
If you feel you’ve uncovered a problem or that you may have been the victim of investment fraud, contact one of ourexperienced securities arbitration attorneys today.