Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

News Release

Monday, October 27, 2008

Michael Stevenson, Securities Administrator
PH (360) 902-8797 mstevenson@dfi.wa.gov

Lyn Peters, Director of Communications
PH (360) 902-8731 lpeters@dfi.wa.gov


DFI Adopts Rule To Protect Seniors From Marketing That Uses Misleading Professional Designations

OLYMPIA – On June 19, 2008 the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Securities Division adopted a rule governing the use of professional designations that imply knowledge about issues relating to seniors. The Securities Division adopted the North American Securities Administrators Association’s Model Rule on Senior Designations. Washington was the first state to do so. The rule became effective July 20, 2008.

The purpose of the rule is to protect seniors by prohibiting the misleading use of senior and retiree designations. There has been a proliferation of professional designations that purport to show special knowledge of issues relating to seniors. Some of these designations represent a significant course of study; others are mere marketing devices.

The new rule allows DFI’s Securities Division to take license action against a securities salesperson who uses a senior designation to mislead seniors about the salesperson’s expertise in senior issues. The adoption of the model rule is part of the Securities Division’s comprehensive approach to protecting seniors in investment transactions. DFI also provides investor education outreach to seniors and brings enforcement action against those who take advantage of seniors in investment transactions.

DFI urges investors to check out any person offering investment services or investment opportunities prior to signing any agreements. Consumer should avoid any investment opportunity accompanied by high pressure sales tactics implying the offer won’t last. Before making any investment, consumers should visit www.dfi.wa.gov or call 1.877.RING DFI to verify that an investment company is licensed to do business in the State of Washington.

“Understanding what you’re investing in and who you are investing with is crucial to making sound financial decisions,” DFI Director of Securities Mike Stevenson added. “Make sure you have the information you need to make educated choices before giving anyone any money.”

DFI partners with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to provide investor education and information. Additional information about investment protection for consumers of all ages is available at www.saveandinvest.org.

About DFI
www.dfi.wa.gov ▪ 360.902-8700 ▪ 877.746-4334 ▪ En Espaņol 877.976.4422
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions regulates a variety of financial service providers such as banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers, consumer loan companies, payday lenders, and securities brokers and dealers. The department has won numerous awards for its financial literacy and outreach programs developed to protect consumers from financial fraud. In addition to posting information about licensees and administrative actions, the DFI’s Web site features consumer tips on a variety of financial fraud-related topics.

Division of Consumer Services
www.dfi.wa.gov/sd/ ▪ 360.902.8760 ▪ 888.295.1506
The Division of Securities regulates securities investments, franchises, business opportunities, and off-exchange commodities sold in Washington and the firms and individuals that sell these products or provide investment advice. The Division handles complaints, conducts investigations, and takes appropriate enforcement actions to protect investors and combat fraud.