Former SEC Enforcement
Branch Chief Utilizes Expertise to Protect
from Broker Fraud and Scams
ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Enforcement Branch Chief and consumer advocate Pat Huddleston announces the launch of Investor’s Watchdog, a company that arms investors with intelligence and expertise designed to protect them from broker misconduct, excessive risk and professionally-disguised investment scams.
“With the Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, America is headed for an investor fraud crisis on a scale we haven’t seen since 1929,” said Huddleston, CEO of Investor’s Watchdog. “I’ve seen firsthand what happens when people lose their savings to crooked or reckless brokers or investment scams. It is devastating.”
Vulnerable Groups: Boomers, Seniors and Their Children
According to Huddleston, Americans lose $40 billion annually at the hands of commission-hungry brokers and scam artists, many of whom are employed by reputable brokerage houses. Huddleston believes that investment fraud is set to reach unprecedented levels, given the coming boom in retirees and senior citizens, many of whom have built significant resources.
“The consequences of a single senior citizen losing his or her life savings spread outward like ripples on a pond,” Huddleston says. “They reach the adult children who may have to care for those seniors, and even grandchildren who watch as their grandparent struggles emotionally to deal with the misplaced guilt and shame that come with being the victim of investment fraud.”
Current Method for Checking a Broker’s Record is Flawed
Huddleston warns all investors that the advice most often given for how to check a stockbroker’s background is somewhat flawed. Many consumer reporters and even the SEC recommend that investors contact the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), formerly known as the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), for a background check on a broker. FINRA will send out such a report for free, but Huddleston warns investors not to rely on it.
“If you are looking at a report from FINRA that shows a broker with a clean disciplinary record, you have no idea whether that record is clean or only whitewashed,” said Huddleston. “That broker might have half a dozen customer complaints in his background. People need to remember that FINRA is an organization of brokerage firms.”
According to Huddleston, the illusion of transparency that the industry perpetuates is dangerous because it leads people into a false sense of security in which they trust stockbrokers to look out for their best interests. People are trusting an organization of stockbrokers (FINRA) to tell them, if they ask, whether their broker is dangerous.
Investor’s Watchdog Resources: How Do Brokers Score?
Investor’s Watchdog provides consumers with complete, detailed, easy-to-comprehend information about individual brokers, the employing firm’s reputation for supervising its brokers, and the promoters of unregistered investments that are often professionally disguised scams. What’s more, the Investor’s Watchdog Web site (www.investorswatchdog.com) provides visitors with a multitude of educational resources designed to deliver practical advice and information related to protecting investments.
Huddleston has applied his SEC expertise to creating two proprietary systems. The Investor’s Watchdog Broker Safety Rating is a scoring system that blends Huddleston’s SEC-trained analysis with brokers’ education, employment history and disciplinary record. The Investor’s Watchdog Database includes actions against stockbrokers that will not appear on reports issued by the FINRA, including actions expunged from a broker’s FINRA file and the results of customer surveys completed by other Investor’s Watchdog customers who have used the same broker. Unaffected by politics, conflicting constituencies or kickbacks, Investor’s Watchdog provides the following services to consumers:
BrokerSnapshot™ report - provides a one-time, complete background of the broker. It includes the Investor’s Watchdog Broker Safety Rating.
QualifEye™ report - provides background and recommendations to anyone considering a hedge fund, limited partnership or other non-registered investment.
Winnow™ service - provides quarterly updates and Broker Safety Rating reports that can reveal troubling broker behavior before it reaches the client’s account.
WinnowPlus™ service - provides immediate phone and/or e-mail communication to discuss red flags that are uncovered in the quarterly Winnow report.
Constant Patrol™ subscription - provides monthly Broker Safety Rating reports, one QualifEye analysis per year, daily searches of the Investor’s Watchdog database, and instant notification of new information about the broker.
About Investor’s Watchdog
Investor’s Watchdog (www.investorswatchdog.com) provides investors with intelligence and analysis designed to protect them from broker misconduct, excessive risk and professionally-disguised investment scams. Offering an insider’s look at the securities industry, Investor’s Watchdog does not provide investment advice. Instead, Investor’s Watchdog arms its clients with the truth about those with access to their life’s savings. Based in Atlanta, Investor’s Watchdog is led by former SEC Enforcement Branch Chief and consumer advocate Pat Huddleston.
Gary Budd for Investor’s Watchdog
404-214-0722 x. 118