February 12, 2016
A personal message from Bill Singer, Esq., publisher of the BrokeAndBroker.com Blog:
There is no question about it, and, no, I am not at all apologetic: I am not a fan of most securities-industry regulatory organizations. When I gaze out upon the regulatory landscape, I see far too many self-serving, self-promoting hacks in upper management at federal, state, and self-regulators. Next time there's a televised press conference by some regulatory organization, look behind the big shots hogging the camera at the podium and you may actually see the examiners, the investigators, and the staff lawyers who put the case together and tried it (and that's assuming that those souls were even invited to the presser). As a former regulatory lawyer, I long ago learned that when it comes to regulating Wall Street, the grunts do the dirty work and put in the long hours but are frequently pushed aside by someone whose main skill-set appears to be brown nosing the bosses and taking credit for the efforts of others -- and it's these professional backstabbers who get undeserved promotions, which ultimately cripple the organization with ineptitude and incompetency.
As such, given my dour appraisal of the current state of Wall Street regulation, it is unusual for me to compliment any industry regulator. Singled out for my rare moment of praise is the Texas State Securities Board, which seems to have far more bite in its bark than most of its fellow regulatory organizations. A special compliment to the Texas State Securities Board's Communications and Investor Education Coordinator Robert Elder, who has a knack for sending balanced press releases about meaningful developments. It's nice to know that when something pops up in my email inbox from Robert that it's not fluff or a waste of my time. Unlike many of its regulatory brethren, the Texas State Securities Board regularly publishes comprehensive press releases supported by decisions that are replete with content, context, and rationale. This state regulator just released its 2016 edition of the "Texas Investor Guide: Strategies for Investing Wisely and Avoiding Financial Fraud," which is a wonderful primer on factors to consider when investing and warning signs to look out for:
The Investor Guide cuts through financial clutter with jargon-free explanations of:
- Investing for growth - although investing always carries risk, it's hard to achieve your financial goals otherwise;
- The basics of mutual funds, including target date funds, and how to invest in them;
- Asset classes such as stocks, bonds, CDs, real estate, and cash, and how they generally differ in risk and performance;
- The balance between risk and return and strategies to minimize - not eliminate - risk;
- Understanding and controlling the cost of investments;
- Putting together the pieces of a secure retirement, including IRAs, 401(k)s, and knowing the strategies of claiming Social Security benefits;
- Avoiding scams and high-risk investments, complete with ripped-from-our case-files examples of fraud; and
- Increasing the odds of finding a financial professional you can trust.