What Information Investors Should Have

What Information Do I Need?

Especially if you are investing on your own, be sure to research each investment opportunity thoroughly and ask questions - about both the company itself and the person or entity promoting it. These simple steps can help you make an informed investment decision:

   1. Research the Company:   If you can't find the company on EDGAR, be sure to contact your state securities regulator. Read carefully the most recent reports the company has filed with its regulators. Make sure you understand the company's business and its products or services. And pay attention to the company's financial statements - particularly if they are not audited or not certified by an accountant. If the company does not file reports with the SEC, be sure to ask your broker for what's called the "Rule 15c2-11 file" on the company. That file will contain important information about the company.
   2. Know the Owners:   Contact your state securities regulator to check out the people running the company. Be sure to find out whether they have a history of investor complaints or fraud charges. It pays to know whether the company's management has made money for investors in the past - or not.
   3. Check Out Your Broker:   Make sure the broker and his or her firm are registered and licensed to do business in your state. And ask your state securities regulator whether the broker and the firm have ever been disciplined or have complaints against them.

When you ask these questions, write down the answers you received and what you decided to do. If something goes wrong, your notes can help to establish who said what and when. Let your broker or investment adviser know you're taking notes. They'll know you're a serious investor and may tell you more - or give up trying to scam you.