Recently, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy translated the October 2013 SEC/USCIS jointly issued investor alert into two three foreign languages: Chinese (View here), Korean (View Here) and Spanish (View Here).
On October 1, 2013 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Office of Investor Education and Advocacy and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) issued a joint investor alert containing 14 specific suggestions that investors can use to undertake due diligence on investment opportunities and affiliated partners to protect the safety of their investment and compliance with immigration and securities laws. You can read the investor alert here.
As the EB-5 Regional Center Industry’s trade association, it is IIUSA’s duty to maintain open and effective communication channels with governmental and regulatory authorities, such as the USCIS, SEC, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and relay information to our members and to the industry at large. Dissemination of information relating to investor education and safety, thanks to thorough due diligence, is key.
In February 2013, IIUSA published several blog posts relating to investment due diligence tools, resources and outreach from both the SEC and FINRA including information on the SEC-developed web portal investor.gov and Broker Check search tool, which allow investors to do background research on FINRA registered brokerage firms and finance professionals.
In March 2013, IIUSA posted about NASAA’s investor education tools to its website. NASAA, which is comprised of State Securities Regulators, is responsible for “licensing securities firms and investment professionals, such as broker-dealers and investment advisers, registering certain securities offerings, reviewing financial offerings of small companies, auditing branch office sales practices and record-keeping, promoting investor education, and most importantly, enforcing state securities laws. In addition to protecting investors, many state regulators also help small businesses raise money and comply with securities laws.”
Lastly, in June 2013, IIUSA’s Best Practices Committee recommended alist of best practices to provide guidance to the industry to promote business practices that will foster the growth and success of the EB-5 program. This list, comprising 38 points on matters from Regional Center Oversight, Securities Issues, Escrow, Agents/Marketing, Immigration attorneys and investors relations are meant to provide guidance to regional centers seeking to enhance their operations and provide protection to themselves, investors and other involved parties.
By providing this information to any and all investors through their various websites, the U.S. government is clearly sending a message to investors from all over the world that they are protected under U.S. securities laws, which exist to deter fraud and punish those who partake in it. It is the responsibility of the investor, however, to perform thorough due diligence on investment opportunities and affiliated business partners. Thanks to U.S. securities laws, and the outreach and resources of the SEC, FINRA and NASAA, the tools are not hard to find.
Combining this guidance with the recommendation provided by IIUSA’s hard working leadership, committees, and membership to promote ethically sound business practices, there is now a robust body of work with several layers for the industry to turn to for guidance.
Other important links provided by Investor.gov pertaining to SEC enforcement actions or investor alerts involving EB-5 include: