We've interviewed the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission in Philadelphia, Jeff Boujoukos. Now, meet his enforcers.
Kelly Gibson, associate director for enforcement, Philadelphia regional office, gave us a window into the regulators' priorities for the coming fiscal year, especially given SEC Commissioner Jay Clayton's focus on retail investors.
"One of our priorities is looking at firms charging excessive fees" or failing to disclose those fees for Wall Street-sponsored financial products, Gibson said. She's an alum of Cape May County's Middle Township High School, Rowan University for her undergraduate, then Villanova University for law school.
Another is a fairly new cyber unit, which focuses on market manipulation schemes involving false information spread through electronic and social media, hacking, initial coin offerings (similar to IPOs but for cryptocurrencies), and intrusions into retail brokerage accounts.
Some areas of SEC concern for local money managers (in case you're due for your next examination) include: sales of high-fee mutual fund share classes, particularly when less expensive share classes are available for the same fund; lack of transparency in wrap-fee programs; inverse exchange-traded funds (that is, ETFs allowing investors to bet on the price of a security going in the opposite direction); nondisclosure of fees, "churning," and other forms of excessive trading.
For the examinations, the SEC comes in and looks over the books and records and makes sure your broker or money manager is handling everything aboveboard — your money manager may also have the pleasure of dealing with Joy Thompson, associate regional director. Thompson oversees the Philadelphia office's examination program, which is responsible for examining broker-dealers, investment advisers, investment companies, and transfer agents based in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
This month, the SEC Philadelphia office won a judgment against an investor manipulating shares of Integrated Device Technology.
The SEC sued Nauman Aly, who created a phony profile on the agency's EDGAR securities filing database, then submitted a false SEC filing related to the public company. He wanted the filing to artificially boost the price, then trade based on that, earning over $425,000 illegally.
If investors suspect fraud in their accounts, or that of an elderly relative or friend, they can contact the SEC's office in Philadelphia directly by calling 215-597-3100 or sending an email: Philadelphia@sec.gov.
Main Street investors can always contact the SEC's main number at 1-800-SEC-0330 or file a complaint about their adviser online at the website www.sec.gov/tcr. It's also best to contact a local law enforcement office and ask for help.
For complaints about brokers, who are regulated by a different agency (yes, that's deliberate), call FINRA's BrokerCheck toll-free hotline at 800-289-9999.
Midterms and the markets
On Wednesday, the CFA Institute's Philadelphia chapter will host "Mid-term Elections and The Impact on The Economy," a look at how the congressional elections could affect the capital markets, policy coming out of Washington, economic growth, and even which party could end up dominating powerful committees.
Electoral models predict that a strong economy favors the party in power and that a weak economy dooms it to crushing losses. Speakers include Ben Barasky, lobbyist at the Washington office for Vanguard Government Relations; Jonathan Kozy, senior research analyst for U.S. Trust; and Henrietta Treyz, director of Economic Policy Research for Veda Partners.
Lunch is included in the ticket price, and the event takes place at the Racquet Club of Philadelphia, 215 S. 16th St. For more information or to register, visit the CFA's website: www.cfasociety.org/philadelphia or contact Peter Conners, executive director of the CFA Society Philadelphia at 215-320-4980 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vets and jobs
At the Philadelphia Hiring Expo, hosted by the Flyers, Hiring Our Heroes, and Paralyzed Veterans of America, all registered veteran and military-spouse job-seekers who attend may receive two free tickets to attend that evening's hockey game between the Flyers and the Florida Panthers.
The job fair is free and open to any active-duty service members, Guard and Reserve, veterans, and military spouses.
To register, visit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's website: https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/philadelphia-hiring-expo-philadelphia-flyers-0.