States Reaching Millions of U.S. Investors Through Investor Protection Trust
Aug 02, 2011, 01:00 ET
Data Show Impact of Five Major State-Led Programs Funded by IPT
WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Far-reaching and innovative investor education efforts conducted by state securities agencies and supported by the Investor Protection Trust (IPT) have reached millions of Americans in the last decade, according to new data highlighted today by IPT.
IPT has documented the impact of five major investor education programs conducted under its auspices, including: Investor Education in Your Workplace (which encourages retirement savings and is now in the pilot phase in three states); How Can I Afford Retirement? (library-based seminars carried out by state securities agencies in 20 states); Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation Prevention Program (working with doctors and other partners in 26 states to curb swindles targeting older Americans); MoneyTrack public television series (with its most recent season seen by about 5.5 million Americans on 255 TV stations nationwide); and the Campaign for Wise & Safe Investing (a partnership between AARP and state securities agencies in 35 states).
Don Blandin, president and CEO, Investor Protection Trust and Investor Protection Institute, said: "As IPT approaches its 20-year anniversary, we are taking stock of the major programs that we have helped state securities regulators to undertake in order to help improve the ability of consumers to make informed investment decisions. Our ongoing role as an independent source of unbiased and non-commercial investor education materials provides us with an important opportunity to make a major difference. Not only do we take that opportunity very seriously, we also seek to document our 'real world' impact wherever possible."
Blandin highlighted the following details about the five major IPT investor education programs in recent years:
- INVESTOR EDUCATION IN YOUR WORKPLACE™ -- In the spring of 2009, the Investor Protection Trust funded the first of a series of projects as part of the Investor Education in Your Workplace Program™ (IEiYW). To date, the program has been successfully run in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. The 10-module program, offered through the Educated Investor University, takes an average of 10 hours to complete. In total, over 200 companies and more than 5,000 employees have completed the program since the spring of 2009. Research performed by analyzing pre and post-testing and survey data demonstrates that the IEiYW online investor education program improves employees' investment knowledge and self-reported behavior. Completing the IEiYW program was associated with statistically significant increases in creating a written budget and developing a financial plan of 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively. Additional improvements in behavior are reflected in the increased use of individual retirement accounts (8 percent increase) and the increased likelihood of having saved enough money to cover three months of expenses (5 percent increase).
- HOW CAN I AFFORD RETIREMENT?® -- The "How Can I Afford Retirement?"® program is an investor education and protection program that brings State Securities Regulators' offices together with local public libraries to provide investor education and protection seminars to the community through the library. "How Can I Afford Retirement?"® is targeted towards individuals who are thinking about retirement or are recently retired. The purpose of the program is to provide access to objective, non-commercial information about investing for retirement so individuals can make informed choices, recognize and avoid misleading investment advice and scams, and learn ways to better manage their retirement investments. Each event has several components including a topical presentation by a financial expert, a briefing on library resources; small group facilitated discussions and a question and answer session. IPT began its relationship with public libraries in 2006 by launching a nationwide investor education and protection pilot program in public libraries in partnership with the American Library Association. During the pilot phase of the program, State Securities Regulators' offices partnered with libraries in 20 states to offer free seminars on investment education. For additional information on the How Can I Afford Retirement?® program, visit www.investorprotection.org/learn/?fa=library.
- ELDER INVESTMENT FRAUD AND FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION PREVENTION PROGRAM -- With a grant from the Investor Protection Trust in 2008, the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) and the Texas Consortium Geriatric Education Center (TCGEC) developed a program called the Elder Investment Fraud and Financial Exploitation (EIFFE) Prevention Program. The EIFFE Prevention Program educates medical professionals through continuing medical education (CME) courses to recognize vulnerability to or victimization by investment fraud and financial exploitation in their elderly patients. In 2009, the TCGEC and its affiliates in nine locations in Texas conducted a series of 10 pilot CME programs throughout the state. Based on the results of this pilot project, the IPT secured the participation of state securities offices in a total of now 26 states and jurisdictions to form a coalition to prevent EIFFE. The 26 participating states and other jurisdictions are: Alabama; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; District of Columbia; Georgia; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kentucky; Michigan; Minnesota; Nebraska; North Carolina; New Jersey; New Mexico; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Puerto Rico; Tennessee; Utah; Vermont; and Washington. The IPT and BCM, along with the Investor Protection Institute (IPI), North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA), have teamed to work with such national health-related organizations as the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American College of Physicians, the American Geriatrics Society, and the National Association of Geriatric Education Centers, the National Area Health Education Center Organization and others. For additional information on the EIFFE Prevention Program, visit www.investorprotection.org/learn/?fa=eiffe.
- MONEYTRACK NATIONAL PUBLIC TELEVISION SERIES -- The MoneyTrack television series with hosts Pam Krueger and Jack Gallagher uses stories about real people, their triumphs and mistakes and analysis from expert guests like John Bogle, Warren Buffett, Michelle Singletary, Jonathan Pond, Ben Stein and others. Each episode features a Scam Alert segment that covers a story of investment fraud and serves as a warning for viewers. The series is produced by NETworth Television Productions, Inc., funded by the Investor Protection Trust and distributed nationally to all public television stations by American Public Television. MoneyTrack season three is currently airing and planning for seasons four and five has begun. MoneyTrack Season One was released to all public television stations on April 1, 2005. This premiere season of MoneyTrack consists of thirteen 30-minute broadcast episodes that aired on 187 PBS stations with a total of 3,427,750 viewers that covered 57 percent of all U.S. Nielsen Designated Market Areas (DMAs). MoneyTrack Season Two was released to all public television stations on October 1, 2007. The second season consists of fifteen 30-minute broadcast episodes that aired on 305 total stations with a total of 5,818,553, total viewers and that covered 69 percent of all U.S. DMAs. MoneyTrack Season Two was highly acclaimed as it won two Telly Awards, two Communicator Awards and an AWC Clarion Award. The third season (in High Definition for the first time) was released in September 2009 and has fifteen 30-minute broadcast episodes. It has aired on 250 PBS stations to date with a total of 5,471,920 covering 67 percent of the U.S. DMAs. Note: The viewership numbers presented in this narrative do not include data from airings on educational cable channels around the country. The total number of viewers for all three seasons so far on PBS stations: 13,528,091 (preliminary). For additional information on MoneyTrack, visit www.moneytrack.org.
- CAMPAIGN FOR WISE & SAFE INVESTING® -- In 2006, the AARP Foundation and the IPT teamed up to create The Campaign for Wise and Safe Investing®, a national and state-level partnership between AARP state offices and their local State Securities Regulators in 35 states. The primary goal of the Campaign is to impact older investors and potential investors with research based investor education and protection. To date, 28 AARP state offices and their respective State Securities Regulators have implemented a variety of programs to increase awareness of fraudulent practices and educate maturing investors. Since CWSI's inception, the partnership has conservatively trained nearly 310 volunteer speakers, sponsored almost 660 events that were attended by more than 32,000 people. For additional information on the Campaign for Wise and Safe Investing®, visit www.investorprotection.org/learn/?fa=campaign.
In addition to national programs that work through multiple state securities agencies, IPT also supports state-specific investor education efforts, including:
- The Invest Ed® STARS program - Sponsored by the University of Oklahoma Outreach and the Oklahoma Department of Securities, the Invest Ed® STARS program has completed its sixth year. Participating high school teachers, grades 9-12, have two training options—Saturday workshop or a Teacher Institute. The program conducts eight Saturday workshops during the school year and two four-day Teacher Institutes in June. Also in June, the program conducts two two-day Refresher Workshops to provide participating teachers the opportunity to broaden their knowledge base and share best practices. A subject-matter expert teaches the four June events. The Invest Ed® STARS program was funded initially by the IPT. From the summer 2005 through June 2011, Invest Ed STARS achieved the following results: a total of 69 free teacher training sessions —14 Teacher Institutes, nine Refresher Workshops, and 46 Saturday workshops; and 1,087 teachers trained with 15,515 student participants. See www.investedok.org.
- TAP$ (Troops Against Predatory Scams) --The Troops Against Predatory Scams (TAP$) program began in 2005 as a grant program funded by the Investor Protection Trust. After the grant ended in December 2009, the California Department of Corporations continued to administer the program through its existing resources. Military service members are frequent targets for financial fraud because they receive a guaranteed steady income, are often young and are unsophisticated about finances and investments. Financial readiness in all service branches is a priority for the U.S. Department of Defense, a key TAP$ partner, as financial problems are the most common reason for security clearance denials and revocations. During the entire extended grant cycle spanning the period January 2005 to December 2009, the TAP$ program conducted almost 100 events, distributed over 40,000 booklets and reached approximately 33,000 service members, veterans and military family members. For additional information on the TAP$ programs, visit www.corp.ca.gov/Education_Outreach/taps/default.asp.
ABOUT IPT and IPI
The Investor Protection Trust (www.investorprotection.org) is a nonprofit organization devoted to investor education. The primary mission of IPT is to provide independent, objective information needed by consumers to make informed investment decisions. Founded in 1993 as part of a multi-state settlement to resolve charges of misconduct, IPT serves as an independent source of unbiased and non-commercial investor education materials. IPT operates programs under its own auspices and uses grants to underwrite important investor education and protection initiatives carried out by other organizations. The IPT provides investor education at both the state and national levels.
The Investor Protection Institute (www.protectinvestors.org) is a nonprofit organization that promotes investor protection by conducting and supporting research and education programs.
SOURCE Investor Protection Trust, Washington, D.C.
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