News Release

FINRA, FINRA Foundation and First Nations Issue Joint Investor Alert, New Money Coming Into Indian Country: Plan for the Long Term

WASHINGTON—The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the FINRA Investor Education Foundation and First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) have issued a joint Investor Alert called New Money Coming Into Indian Country: Plan for the Long Term. Over the past five years, Indian Country lawsuit settlements totaling more than $3 billion have been reached. This Alert provides recipients and potential recipients of settlement and other new money with helpful tips to help them confidently manage their finances, as well as avoid financial fraud.

"Affinity fraud is real. Recipients of new money should be very wary of someone who claims to share their Native American heritage and tells them about an investment that their friends, family or members of their tribe are investing in. It is vital for all investors to independently verify with the SEC and FINRA that both the investment and the person selling it are properly registered and licensed before handing over a dime," said Gerri Walsh, President of the FINRA Foundation and Senior Vice President for Investor Education at FINRA.

"Settlements and the Land Buy-Back Program are bringing a lot of assets into Indian Country," noted Sarah Dewees, First Nations' Senior Director of Research, Policy and Asset-Building Programs, who heads up the organization's extensive efforts in Native financial education. "This Investor Alert will help people think through their options for managing this money for the long term."

New Money Coming Into Indian Country: Plan for the Long Term focuses on seven key tips to help people get their finances in order, develop a long-term financial plan and protect themselves from financial fraudsters.

  1. View the settlement or payment as a lifelong asset, not a one-time windfall. Your payment may feel like a windfall at first, but understand that it is meant to help you build a secure financial foundation, to supplement or sustain you or your family over your lifetime.
  2. Organize your financial house. Use this time to gather your personal and financial documents together so that you can assess what you have, what you owe, what type of payment you will receive, and what other income you have to cover your day-to-day expenses.
  3. Pay off high-interest debt. Few money-management strategies pay off as well as, or with less risk than, paying off all high interest debt you may have.
  4. Follow steps to set and achieve financial goals. You can create a list of your financial goals on your own or you can work with a financial professional who has experience in this area.
  5. Think about whether you need help. Achieving financial goals is often undertaken with the help of a financial professional, such as a broker, investment adviser, accountant, insurance agent or financial planner.
  6. Ask plenty of questions of financial professionals before you use their services. Questions include:
    • What licenses, professional qualifications or designations do you have?
    • How long have you and your firm been in business?
    • How do you get paid?
  7. Beware of Frauds and Scams. Financial fraudsters set their sights on people who have money, so your payments, especially if they are widely known, may make you a target for scams.

New Money Coming Into Indian Country also links to a variety of helpful tools and resources developed by FINRA, the FINRA Foundation and First Nations.

FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms doing business in the United States. 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 rules, enforcing those rules and the federal securities laws, and informing and educating the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers the largest dispute resolution forum for investors and firms. For more information, please visit www.finra.org.

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools necessary for financial success throughout life. For details about grant programs and other FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit www.finrafoundation.org.

First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For 35 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.