By: Dylan Donley, Michael McLaughlin, and Russ Stroud, Fall 2013 Student Interns
Investor Advocacy clinic student interns made a presentation to more than 30 retirees at Huntcliff Summit, a senior living community in northern Atlanta. Student interns Cassandra Bradford, Ryan Browne, and James Gallagher created a presentation specifically targeted to residents of retirement facilities because research indicates that fraudsters frequently target mature investors.
According to Bradford, the intent of the program was to “arm the retirees with the knowledge necessary to protect themselves from unscrupulous brokers.” The presentation titled “How to Avoid SCUM,” detailed the most prominent claims arising out of broker misconduct in FINRA arbitration proceedings—unsuitability, churning, unauthorized trading, and misrepresentation—and provided real life examples of broker and investor interactions through the use of skits (performed by student interns Dylan Donley, Michael McLaughlin, and D. Russell Stroud).
During the skits, the students asked the audience to identify potential red flags they observed in the interactions between the broker and investors, discuss about the potential consequences of those issues, and think about how they might handle similar situations if they ever arose.
The retirees’ participation continued beyond the skits as they asked questions throughout the presentation. The questions ranged from unique observations about their own broker interactions to general questions regarding what protections brokers must or should have to exclusively provide retirees and the elderly. The one-hour event concluded with a wine and cheese mixer provided by Huntcliff Summit in which retirees approached the student interns one-on-one with more questions and comments.
After the conversations, Gallagher remarked that “the folks at Huntcliff Summit are adamant about protecting their hard-earned money, and they were eager to learn what red flags to look for when dealing with a broker.”