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Investors Need More Protection

It’s an idea that may be long overdue following the recent rash of Ponzi schemes and failed private placement deals: Revisiting the protections afforded to investors by the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

The SIPC, which is the public corporation charged with aiding victims when their brokerages fail or file bankruptcy, took center stage on March 7 at a Congressional hearing titled The Securities Investor Protection Corporation: Past, Present, and Future.

Steven Caruso, a partner with Maddox, Hargett and Caruso, P.C. testified at the hearing. His recommendations for improving the SIPC include increasing investor protection from $500,000 to $1.3 million and indexing that amount to the rate of inflation moving forward.

Currently, brokers pay an annual premium to fund the SIPC. Should SIPC coverage be expanded in the future, however, these same brokers may be tapped for additional funds.

Proponents of the idea say it enhances accountability, forcing brokers to improve their due diligence of the products and investments they market and sell to clients.

During the March 7 hearing, Caruso also suggested that investment advisers and brokers/dealers be required to purchase insurance given that they are entrusted with billions of dollars in investment funds.

“There is no free lunch in this world,” Caruso said in a March 7 Investment News article.

“When we have a fiduciary who is out there as an investment professional, requiring insurance will go a long way to helping potential [fraud] victims.”

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