Investor Protection & Securities:: Investor Education


Investor Education

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft appointed the Securities Commissioner, who is responsible for the Securities Division.  They seek to protect Missouri investors from fraud.  The Securities Division enforces the securities laws of the state with a focus on restitution for investors.  The Securities Division is organized into three sections:  Investor Education, seeking to prevent and reduce investor harm by educating investors about the risks of investing; Registration, seeking to assure that investment professionals are qualified to provide investment advice and services while fostering capital formation through offerings that are fair, just and equitable; and Enforcement, conducting investigations and initiating actions to remedy violations through restitution, civil penalties, suspensions, revocations and criminal referrals. The Securities Division seeks to serve all Missourians from investors to investment professionals.   

Check out your Broker or Adviser

In addition to using our toll-free Hotline to check the credentials and professional history of your broker or adviser, you may wish to check with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA,” formerly the NASD).  FINRA’s BrokerCheck program, allows investors to check the registration and professional background of FINRA-registered firms and agents on-line. Because of the limited nature of information that is contained on this on-line search, investors may wish to call the Investor Protection Hotline at 1-800-721-7996. The Securities Division will provide additional information about your broker, including regulatory actions that have been taken against the broker and investor complaints that have been reported to the Central Registration Depository.

To find out about an investment firm, broker or adviser, you may go to the SEC website.

Helpful Information for Investors

The Securities Division of the Missouri Secretary of State's Office offers "Protecting Your Investments", which is a comprehensive guide intended to help investors protect themselves against fraudulent investment schemes along with understanding the risks associated with investing.

More information on a variety of topics is available under Helpful Information for Investors

View the Securities Division's "Protecting Your Investments".

Complaints and Enforcement

The Enforcement Section of the Securities Division of the Secretary of State receives and investigates complaints from Missouri investors. These investigations involve alleged violations of the registration and antifraud provisions of the securities law. Each year the staff receives numerous complaints from investors.

These investigations may result in administrative actions or court orders that prohibit further violations of the law. As part of civil enforcement, the secretary of state can seek civil penalties, victim restitution and an award for the state’s investor education fund. In addition, the commissioner may refer matters for criminal prosecution to local prosecutors, the attorney general, or the U.S. Attorney. 

You can learn how to file a complaint with the Securities Division and download the complaint form to expedite the process.