securities and exchange commission

SEC Warns of Social Media Schemes After Fraud Case

Regulators are warning the public to be wary of social media sites that could be offering bogus investment schemes. The warning follows civil charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission against an Illinois-based investment adviser who tried to sell fraudulent securities through Linkedin.

L.A. Radio Host Charged With Ponzi Scheme

An Iranian-American businessman who hosted a popular Persian language radio show called Economy Today has been indicted on charges that he robbed investors of $20 million in a Ponzi scheme than ran for six years.

Is Facebook Finally Ready to IPO?

Facebook may finally be ready to go public in the second quarter of 2012. At an estimated valuation of $100 billion, the social networking giant is probably no longer a ground-floor opportunity -- but could even that number be too low?

'Money Protecting' Investment Carries Hidden Risks

Structured securities products are bonds backed by stocks that allow investors to hedge their risks using options. In theory, this complex sounding setup can provide predictable returns and protection from volatile markets. There's only one catch: SSPs are often a bad idea for most investors.

McDonald's McRib's Deep, Dark Secret: Animal Cruelty

McDonald's reintroduction of the McRib sandwich has made news headlines and mouths water. However, the fans eagerly awaiting the limited-time opportunity to wolf down McRibs may not realize that McDonald's pork products contain a secret, unappetizing ingredient: pain.

Was Kris Humphries Conned By a Financial Scammer?

Kris Humphries may be mourning the death of his brief marriage to Kim Kardashian, but that may not be the only thing he has lost recently. It appears he may have been the victim of financial fraud, losing perhaps several hundred thousand dollars. Let his case be a warning to you: Here's what to watch out for.

Why You Should Care
About the Volcker Rule

This week, the government took a big first step toward shutting down the Can't Lose Room in the Wall Street Casino. It's now one comment period away from enacting the Volcker Rule, which limits the kinds of risky investments banks can make with money insured by the U.S. taxpayer.

How Our Economy Has Changed Since 9/11

Many of the economic problems of Sept. 11, 2001, feel awfully familiar today: Recession, bursting bubbles, low consumer confidence, predatory lending. But of course, it's a whole new world now, so we asked economists what the most significant shifts of the past decade have been. Their responses were enlightening.

SEC Claims Dead Money Manager Sold Fake Bonds

The Securities and Exchange Commission has sued the estate of money manager Joel David Salinas, the president of J. David Financial who died last month, and Brian Bjork, chief investment officer of Select Asset Management, for allegedly selling $50 million of fake bonds.

The Financial Landscape: BAC Settles, FINRA Flexes

Bank of America will soon finalize an $8.5 billion agreement to settle investor claims that Countrywide sold them lousy mortgage-backed securities before the housing bust. Meanwhile, private regulator FINRA is angling to take over the watchdog role for registered investment advisers.

Stock-Based Loans: Quick Cash, but Watch Your Assets

If you need cash and have investments you don't want to sell, a stock-based loan may sound like a good idea. But the unregulated stock-based loan industry can be a risky way to tap into the value of your portfolio, warns the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

The Financial Landscape: Debt Woes, Hedge Fund Regs

Politicians in both Greece and the U.S. are struggling to find the common ground necessary to keep their governments from defaulting on their debts; QE2 hasn't ended yet, and already the Fed is considering QE3; and the SEC finally starts to regulate Wall Street's hedge funds.

Do You Know How Your Financial Adviser Gets Paid?

Most investors don't know how their financial advisers are compensated -- many even think they are getting their advice for free. It's not a trivial matter: How you pay your adviser affects the rules they must adhere to, and the degree to which they have to put your interests first.

With Sokol Out, Who's in Line to Succeed Buffett?

David Sokol, a top executive at Berkshire, left Warren Buffett's empire abruptly on Wednesday. Although the SEC claims not to be investigating the reasons, and he says the choice was personal, its hard not to see a connection to Berkshire's recent purchase of Lubrizol, which was a big windfall for Sokol.

Investor Lawsuits Are Raising the Heat on Bank of America for 'Putbacks'

When Countrywide Financial created deeply flawed mortgage-backed securities, it wasn't just selling bad financial products: It was breaking its contracts. Now some ordinary investors are suing Countrywide's buyer, Bank of America, to force it to repurchase those bad mortgages. That's their right, but there's nothing simple about this case, or its ramifications.

Why Countrywide's Fraudster-in-Chief Isn't Going to Prison

Angelo Mozilo, the former head of Countrywide Financial, isn't going to jail. In fact, he won't even face a trial. Wondering how the most convictable CEO among the titans who brought down the financial system is getting off so easy? The answer lies in the revolving door between Wall Street and its "regulators."

Want to Become a Saver? Check These 10 Best Online Resources

If you wish you could become a saver and investor, but you don't know where to begin, the Alliance for Investor Education wants to help: As part of its America Saves Week, the AIE has released its list of the top 10 online resources to help consumers build up their savings.

Lawyers' Carelessness Was Key to the Mortgage Mess

As multiple lawsuits and SEC actions progress in relation to the nation's mortgage mess, it's becoming clear that the misbehaviors of the lawyers involved at all stages were not isolated incidents: The misconduct was systemic, and it's time to start holding those lawyers accountable.

Financial Meltdown Accountability: Bring On the Class Actions!

The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission's report concludes that ineffective regulators and big banks were the primary causes of the financial meltdown. Next stop: Government and class action lawsuits to recoup some of what we all lost, and (please please please) criminal charges against the worst offenders too.

New SEC Rule Gives Investors a Vote on Executive Pay

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday approved a measure that gives institutional shareholders a vote on executive pay at large corporations, part of regulators' efforts to give investors greater say over top-level salaries that have been described as excessive.

Bank of America Sued for Countrywide's Mortgage Sins, Again

On Monday, a group of institutional investors sued Countrywide and Bank of America over Countrywide's mortgages practices. The bank is accused of issuing vast numbers of loans using methods that went beyond lax standards and into fraud, with the sole goal of repackaging them into securities to resell with inflated ratings.

Will Added Investors Force a Facebook IPO in 2012?

Facebook expects its investor base will exceed 500 this year, a level at which the SEC will require it to disclose its financial results to the public. That may be enough to push the social networking giant into an IPO in 2012 -- but founder Mark Zuckerberg could opt to release that data and keep Facebook private anyway.

What Facebook's Goldman Deal Says About Tech IPOs

Facebook and many other tech startups have realized that the hassles and headaches of an IPO in the U.S. aren't always worthwhile. Thanks to willing venture capitalists and private investors, it's easier than ever to avoid the lure of going public.

SEC Looking Into Social Networking Giants' Stock Trades

The biggest names in social networking -- Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and LinkedIn -- haven't yet gone public, but their stock does get traded by the very rich on private exchanges. Now, some of those transactions have raised the interest of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A Whistleblower Blasts Chase Credit Card Practices

Linda Almonte, a former employee of JPMorgan Chase who is suing the bank for wrongful termination, has just upped the ante by filing a whistle-blower complaint with the SEC. The core allegations charge Chase with grotesque and illegal practices involving its credit card debt processes.

The SEC's Risky Expansion of Insider-Trading Cases

The feds appear to be trying to broaden the notion of insider trading to include the information-gathering of hedge funds as criminal activity. But this could be difficult to prove in court, because there's no statuary definition of insider trading.

FBI Makes First Arrest in SEC Insider Trading Probe

On Wednesday, the FBI arrested Don Chu, an expert on Asian markets for Primary Global Research, setting the tone for the SEC's crackdown on insider trading. Chu was charged with conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Wellington, Janus Eyed for Possible Insider Trading

Wellington Management has received a document request from federal regulators looking into possible insider trading on the part of money managers with the firm, Bloomberg News reported, citing a person familiar with the process. Janus Capital Group also received such a request.

The New Bank Stress Tests Show Just How Serious the Mortgage Mess Is

This week, the Congressional Oversight Panel recommended that the nation's big banks be stress tested again, because if problems with mortgage-backed securities are widespread, the consequences could be dire. Now, the Fed has agreed to run those tests, which it wouldn't do if it wasn't worried.