Investor Alert: Advance Fee Fraud

By Geoff Hafer, Spring 2017 Student Intern

The SEC receives thousands of complaints every year describing a scam known as “advance fee fraud.”  An investor will be asked to pay a fee up front before receiving any proceeds, money, stock or warrants.  This up-front fee is often described as a deposit, underwriting fee, processing fee, administrative fee, commission, regulatory fee or tax, or sometimes an incidental expense that will be paid back later.  Unfortunately, in cases of advance fee fraud, once they have your money you can bet you will never hear from them again.

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Opening Your First Brokerage Account: Am I Picking the Right Account Type for My Needs?

By Geoff Hafer, Spring 2017 Student Intern

In the last edition of the five-part series “Opening Your First Brokerage Account” we addressed the question “Do I really know all the fees associated with my account?”  Today, we will attempt to answer the question “Am I picking the right account type for my needs?”   To begin with, most brokerage firms offer at least two types of accounts, a cash account and a margin loan account (known as a margin account).

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Opening Your First Brokerage Account: Did I Ask the Right Questions?

By Geoff Hafer, Spring 2017 Student Intern

In our last edition of the five-part series “Opening Your First Brokerage Account” we addressed the question “Am I Picking the Right Account Type for My Needs?”  In this final edition, we will consider the question “Did I ask the right questions?”   Asking the right questions will help you to invest wisely and avoid potential pitfalls.  No matter what your level of investing experience, don’t be too quick to sign, after all it’s your money!

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Opening Your First Brokerage Account: Do I Really Know all the Fees Associated with My Account?

By Geoff Hafer, Spring 2017 Student Intern

In our last post in this five part series on “Opening your first Brokerage Account,” we tackled the question “Who will be managing my account?”  This week we will be addressing the question “Do I really know all the fees associated with my account?”  Investment and brokerage fees can quickly eat into your investment returns.  Whether they’re tied into the funds you’ve selected as an expense ratio, added on as a brokerage commission when you buy or sell, or charged by an adviser who is helping you sort through it all, it’s important that you know what you’re paying.  Here are some of the more common fees to be aware of:

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Opening Your First Brokerage Account: Who will be Managing My Account?

By Geoff Hafer, Spring 2017 Student Intern

In the first part of the series we answered the question, “Did I pick the right broker?”  Today we will address the next question, “Who will be managing my account?”  To answer this question, one must first understand the difference between discretionary and non-discretionary accounts.

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Opening Your First Brokerage Account: Did I Pick the Right Broker?

By Geoff Hafer, Spring 2017 Student Intern

You are about to open your first brokerage account.  “Let’s make some money,” you think to yourself.  As you are about to put pen to paper, several questions race through your mind.  Did I pick the right broker?  Who will be managing my account?  Do I really know all the fees associated with my account?  Am I picking the right account type for my needs?  Did I ask the right questions?  In this five-part series “Opening your first Brokerage Account”, I will address each of these questions in turn and hopefully better prepare you as an investor to come to the table confident and prepared.

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Investor Advocacy Clinic: My Home Away From Home

By Geoff Hafer, Spring 2017 Student Intern

My final semester of clinic and law school…what a journey.  I can honestly say my experience over three semesters in the Investor Advocacy Clinic was by far my favorite part.  The opportunity to practice our soon to be trade in a firm-like environment with real clients is completely invaluable.  I had no idea what to expect my first semester of clinic.  We had all made it through the first year of law school but had zero experience with actual client interaction.  On the first day of clinic we were all assigned several client matters and were expected to begin work immediately.  It was a bit overwhelming at first.  What if I say something wrong to the client or miss some major issue in the case?  Reflecting back now after three semesters, this is the reality that we must all face at some point no matter where we ultimately end up.  Lawyers have an enormous responsibility to their clients and themselves and it can often times be rather daunting.  But the clinic allowed me to face that reality early in my journey.

Working on a team with fellow colleagues allowed me to see that those initial fears were not my own.  We were able to work through them together, ask questions, seek advice, and share concerns.  It instilled in all of us the confidence needed to hit the ground running when we finally get into practice and are on our own.  Furthermore, we were all able to utilize the advice and guidance of a professor who had real world experience and expertise.  Professor Iannarone acted as a mentor to myself and the other student interns and helped shape us all into the kind of attorneys we aspire to be.

By my third semester, I had handled multiple client matters from start to finish, conducted settlement negotiations, worked with opposing counsel, drafted countless legal documents, but more importantly gained the confidence in myself and my abilities to be the kind of attorney I know I can be.  Although the substantive courses we all have to take in law school are much needed for a general understanding of the law, there is no substitute for the kind of experiential learning you will get from a clinic such as ours.  I would recommend the Investor Advocacy Clinic to anyone and can’t thank Professor Iannarone and my fellow colleagues enough for their support and advice throughout my journey.  The Investor Advocacy Clinic has been my home away from home the last three semesters and the team like a family.  I will miss you all and wish you all the best.