Financial seminars are a marketing tool often used by broker-dealers and other entities to attract prospective clients. These seminars may be invitation-only or they may be advertised in local papers or on the internet. Financial seminars are often held at hotels or restaurants and may offer enticements such as free meals, books, or trips for attendees. At these seminars, participants are provided with a sales pitch and sales materials that describe possible investment strategies. These seminars sometimes offer unsuitable sales of securities for attendees.
Almost half of these investment seminars contain misleading or exaggerated information. Investors should keep in mind that most seminars are designed to sell a product, and remember that a well-presented presentation does not necessarily mean good deals. Investors should never substitute information received from these seminars with their own research or research from a independent party.
For more information, see:
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA): http://www.finra.org/InvestorInformation/InvestorAlerts/FraudsandScams/FreeLunchInvestmentSeminars-AvoidingtheHeartburnofaHardSell/P036745 FINRA’s investor alert on “free lunch” investment seminars. http://www.finra.org/Investors/Subscriptions/Podcasts/p085923 FINRA’s investor podcasts on "Free Lunch" Investment Seminars—Avoiding the Heartburn of a Hard Sell.
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/seniors/nofreelunch.pdf SEC’s warning to seniors about “free lunch” investment seminars.
- North American Securities Administrators Association: http://www.nasaa.org/Investor_Education/Investor_Alerts___Tips/7181.cfm NASAA’s investor alert on free meal seminars.