NASD Launches Major Public Disclosure, Investor Education Initiative
Reid Walker(202) 728-8243
Washington, D.C.--The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) today launched the first coast-to-coast public service announcement (PSA) television and radio campaign ever undertaken by a national investment marketplace regulator or self-regulator. The new PSAs promote awareness of stockbroker background checks available to the public through the Public Disclosure Program of the Central Registration Depository (CRD), as well as a broader NASD investor education campaign featuring a complete, Web-based training tool for investors at investor.nasd.com.
Available in both English and Spanish, the PSAs are being promoted to almost 7,000 radio, television and cable outlets across the U.S. Among 875 targeted television stations, the NASD has been advised that the public service announcements are likely to air about 15,000 times on 300 stations in 200 markets. In advertising dollar terms, that air time will be worth approximately $2.5 million. The TV PSA packages include three spots, one focusing on the availability of stockbroker background and disciplinary information and two about how to become a smarter investor. The toll-free phone number for the NASD's CRD information service is 800-289-9999.
The PSAs, Web site and related efforts are products of the six-month-old NASD Office of Individual Investor Services (OIIS). NASD Vice President Michael Jones, director of the OIIS, explained: "We've been given a mandate to help focus the attention of the NASD and the industry on the individual investor and we are off to a very fast start. The new PSAs and Web site are just two signs of how seriously the NASD takes this mission. We will also spread the word directly to investors at more than 50 investor forums to be held across the nation this year."
Inside the New NASD Initiative
In order to design its investor education campaign, the NASD commissioned a number of survey questions and focus groups to gauge the extent of investor knowledge. Some of the key findings were as follows:
While 63 percent of Americans know the difference between a halfback and a quarterback, only 14 percent can tell the difference between a growth stock and an income stock.
While 78 percent of Americans can name a character on a television sitcom, only 12 percent know the difference between a "load" and "no-load" fund.
Jones said: "What we learned very quickly is that there is a real need for quality investor education that investors can make use of in the privacy of their own homes. It also became apparent to us very quickly that going out with just PSAs or just a Web site wouldn't be enough. With an investor education effort combining various media, we can be confident that this new effort from the NASD will have a real impact on a significant number of individual investors."
The new Office of Individual Investor Services site supplies investors, particularly newcomers to the markets, with comprehensive tools to learn about investing in securities. The new Web site includes a knowledge test, a primer on how to take control of personal finances, information on working with a broker, and a range of investment calculators. The Web site also features an online version of the new NASD OIIS newsletter, "Investor Insights," which will be supplied directly to individual investors through investment clubs, senior centers, and visits to forums around the nation.
The NASD television and radio public service announcements encourage investors to become better informed and to make use of the Public Disclosure Program information available at no cost from NASD. The script of the recorded radio PSA about the Public Disclosure Program reads as follows:
Even within the most trustworthy professions, occasionally there's someone who isn't.
The problem is, it's not always easy to find out who those individuals are.
Fortunately, one profession, the securities services profession, offers a nationwide network that lets you check on the background of its members at no cost to you, the individual investor.
Through this service, you can get important information about a stockbroker's background. Information that can help you when choosing a stockbroker.
To take advantage of this free service, call 800-289-9999. Or, the identical service is available on-line.
Obviously, we can't tell you there haven't been occasional problems in our industry, but we can tell you who they are.
The National Association of Securities Dealers, Office of Individual Services. Jones said: "We see the PSAs on this topic and others as central to our mission to provide individual investors with the information that they need. As one of the PSAs notes: 'We're not promoting or selling anything ... except perhaps the idea of you becoming a more informed investor'."
In addition to the Web site, the Office of Individual Investor Services is providing a "hard copy" package of investor education materials, which will be available to those who call 1-800-334-0668.