FINRA, International Foundation Partner on Resources for Companies, Employees to Guard Against Early Retirement Seminar Scams
Washington, D.C. — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans today launched a partnership to broadly disseminate two online resources to help companies and their older workers protect themselves from early retirement scams.
The resource for companies, Help Your Employees Achieve Their Retirement Dream: Tips for Spotting Early Retirement Scams, offers tips on how to evaluate the financial professionals involved in early retirement seminars and the seminar materials such as invitations, slides, handouts and scripts. Company representatives may also refer early retirement seminar materials to FINRA for review if they have concerns. FINRA staff will review all seminar materials referred and inform the company whether the materials are consistent with applicable standards.
A second resource, Early Retirement Seminars 101: Smart Tips for Spotting Retirement Scams, alerts employees to the pitfalls of early retirement schemes. The resources are a two-pronged investor education initiative in the wake of two major FINRA enforcement actions that involved multi-million-dollar fines and tens of millions of dollars in restitution to employees. Additional investigations are currently underway.
"After helping employees lay the groundwork for financial independence in retirement through company-sponsored plans, companies don't want to unwittingly help scamsters lure their employees into an early - and financially perilous - retirement," said FINRA CEO Mary L. Schapiro, who is also a member of the President's Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. "While many third-party seminars offer solid information, others - especially those that promote early retirement - may include misleading, even fraudulent promises of big financial returns and the dream of a comfortable, but ultimately unsustainable, retirement lifestyle."
The International Foundation, an independent global source of employee benefits, compensation and financial literacy education and information, is making the FINRA resources available to its members on its Web site at www.ifebp.org/FinancialLiteracyResources.
"We believe this program helps employee benefits professionals prepare their employees for a financially stable retirement," said Michael Wilson, CEO of the International Foundation. "Partnering with FINRA is a logical step as we work toward fulfilling our vision to ensure the future security of the American worker and retiree."
Help Your Employees Achieve Their Retirement Dream: Tips for Spotting Early Retirement Scams and Early Retirement Seminars 101: Smart Tips for Spotting Retirement Scams are available at www.finra.org/investor and at www.ifebp.org/FinancialLiteracyResources.
For more information about FINRA enforcement actions regarding early retirement seminars, see Citigroup Global Markets to Pay Over $15 Million to Settle Charges Relating to Misleading Documents and Inadequate Disclosure in Retirement Seminars, Meetings for BellSouth Employees and NASD Fines Securities America $2.5 Million, Orders $13.8 Million in Restitution in Investment Scheme Aimed at Exxon Retirees in the Press Room section of FINRA's Web site, www.finra.org.
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest non-governmental regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. Created in 2007 through the consolidation of NASD and NYSE Member Regulation, FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity through effective and efficient regulation and complementary compliance and technology-based services. FINRA touches virtually every aspect of the securities business-from registering and educating all industry participants to examining securities firms; writing and enforcing rules and the federal securities laws; informing and educating the investing public; providing trade reporting and other industry utilities; and administering the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and registered firms. For more information, please visit our Web site at www.finra.org.
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to being a leading objective and independent global source of employee benefits, compensation, and financial literacy education and information.