Mind Your Money – Your Rights as an Investor

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Mind Your Money – Your Rights as an Investor

Investing your money for the first time is a big step. While there are legitimate avenues for investing your money you must also be aware that there are also  scams, con artists, and improper investment procedures all aimed at taking your hard-earned money, and if you’re not careful you may become a victim.

 You ultimately have the right to know where your money is, who is looking after it and how accessible it is to you. As an investor or potential investor you have the right to be aware of all avenues that exist to safeguard your money.

 Before investing ensure you are aware of and exercise the BARR principle:

 Be Informed – All investors have the right to receive truthful information about any product they intend to purchase. You have a right to information about

  • The organisation’s history, expertise and advisers;
  • Complete information about the risks, obligations, benefits and costs of any potential investment;
  • Investment advice that is consistent with your personal objectives and your risk tolerance.

 Ask Questions – Once you have the information you need, you will obviously have some questions. Some of these may be concerning:

  • The broker-dealer – its history, competence/expertise and whether they are registered with the Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • The background of any securities industry professional with whom you intend to conduct business
  • Information on the entity’s performance and track record
  • Information about the security – the prospectus, the amount of risk

 Review, Verify and Choose – Some of these financial institutions may not provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. As such the onus is on you to conduct your own research to verify the information and also to ensure all legal requirements have been met, before choosing your investment product.

  • Check the TTSEC’s website for a list of individuals and companies registered to offer various investment products;
  • Verify that the investment intermediary (broker-dealer) with which you are dealing, is registered with the TTSEC;
  • Review the prospectus of every investment opportunity thoroughly and ensure you understand the investment product;
  • If you’re still left with unanswered questions, it’s your right to revert to asking questions. It is your money and you have the right to be comfortable with the investment to ensure that it is best suited to you;  
  • Always compare competing alternatives and explore all options;
  • Once you have done your research, choose the investment product and provider that best meets your goals;

 Redress – Now that you have done your due diligence and purchased your investment product, your rights don’t stop there. If things do go wrong whether procedurally or operationally, you are entitled to seek redress. This includes:

  • Your right to receive information on the process for raising and resolving complaints regarding the provision of investment advice;
  • Your right to receive information about alternatives available if the entity is unable to resolve a dispute to your satisfaction;
  • Your right to change investment advisers if you are dissatisfied with the service you have received;
  • Your right to lodge a complaint with the TTSEC in relation to any securities matter.

 With all complaint matters there is a process:

  1. Firstly you consult with the entity so that your concern is addressed;
  2. If this fails, then the TTSEC should be informed. Once the complaint is legitimate*, the TTSEC may settle the matter in accordance with the Securities Act, 2012.

*A loss on your investment due to prevailing market conditions does not constitute a legitimate basis for a complaint.

 The TTSEC exists as a regulator within the securities industry to protect investors like you from fraud and abuses arising from market manipulation, insider trading, conflicts of interest and unfair or improper practices. The TTSEC operates within the bounds of the Securities Act, 2012 and its subsequent By-Laws. Part of its mandate involves the education of investors and potential investors and the provision of pertinent information regarding the securities industry – the benefits, risks and liabilities associated with investing in securities.