A Tool for Investors in Distress


By Lauren Young Think you're a victim of investment fraud? Want to check out your financial adviser? Need to report identity theft? A new streamlined Web site from the Alliance for Investor Education, www.helpforinvestors.org, provides direct links to the right government agencies, regulators, and trade groups.

The site is a clearinghouse for all the information an investor in trouble would ever need. It includes content from 14 major organizations throughout the investment community, such as the National Association of Securities Dealers' BrokerCheck, the Security & Exchange Commission's home page for brokers and advisers, and the Federal Trade Commission's identity theft group.

IN THE RIGHT HANDS. Investors also will find guidance on filing arbitration, mediation, and 401(k) claims. The most handy link, however, is to the site of the North American Securities Administrators Assn., which includes all 50 state securities agencies in the U.S. This means you won't have to spend hours trolling through your own state's Web site in search of the right person to complain to about investment fraud.

Members of the Alliance for Investor Education are bigwigs in the investment community, such as the Bond Market Assn., the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Investment Company Institute Foundation, the New York Stock Exchange, and the Securities Investor Protection Corp.

With the SEC and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System on the list of the group's advisers, you can be sure you're in the right hands. It's a page that should be bookmarked by every investor -- just in case you ever need it. Young is a personal finance editor for BusinessWeek in New York


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