The annual meeting of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association took place between Oct. 18 and 21 in San Diego. Following that event, on October 29, the Alliance for Investor Education (AIE) held its inaugural National Investor Town Hall Meeting (2016), also in San Diego.

We spoke with Jason Doss about the Town Hall Meeting. Mr. Doss is a former President of PIABA, a lawyer located in Atlanta, Georgia, and the current President of the PIABA Foundation. He is also Vice President of AIE and spoke at the Town Hall Meeting.

Who Participated?

The PIABA Foundation is one of AIE’s Members and was a co-host with AIE of the Town Hall event. Other AIE Members are the Association for Individual Investors, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc., the CFA Institute, FINRA, the Investment Company Institute, the Investor Protection Trust, the National Endowment for Financial Education, NFA, the Options Industry Council, and the Society for Financial Education and Professional Development, Inc. Advisers to the Alliance are the CFTC, the FTC and the SEC. Both FINRA and the SEC participated in the Town Hall Meeting, which was an all-day event broken into four sessions with a luncheon and Keynote Speaker (Pamela Meyer: Author, LieSpotting) in the middle.

What Was Discussed?

The four plenary sessions, each 45 minutes long, dealt with retirement planning, managing investment risk, checking out investments and financial professionals, and advice for victims of investment fraud. The final session, which was moderated by Mr. Doss, featured speakers from the SEC, Investors Protection Trust, PIABA Foundation and the Investor Advocacy Clinic, Georgia State University.

What Made It Special?

To raise awareness of the Meeting among public investors, the sponsors used social media, a promotional video and other means; the promotional video racked up 75,000 views, according to Mr. Doss. The turnout was “OK,” he said, enough so that he viewed the event as a “great success,” something he hopes AIE and its Members will do again in the years to come. This was a unique event for the PIABA Foundation, he emphasized, the first time the Foundation has conducted a “public outreach” to investors and the first time the Foundation has worked with other agencies and organizations “to educate investors in how to combat financial fraud.”

(ed: *We’ve heard of AIE before. It may become a force in the field of investor education, if this Town Hall concept catches interest. The AIE Website has a lot of educational material, focused on specific products and general investment themes. **Under “Best Resources” frame, AIE has a button for “Getting Help.” We clicked on that, found “Arbitration and Mediation,” but got a “404” error message.) (SAC Ref. No. 2016-41-01)

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