Based on a major study conducted since 1995 on the performance of savings and investments, keeping your cash in a best-buy savings account can often provide better returns than investing in stocks.

So, which is really better?

The research which was done by financial journalist Paul Lewis (not related to Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com), showed that most investment periods in the last 21 years, stashing money in best-buy cash savings accounts would have given a saver more than a FTSE 100 shares tracker (following the index of shares in the biggest 100 firms on the London Stock Exchange directory).

Traditionally, investments in shares has remained the best way to build your wealth; however, that does not seem to be the case now according to the research, which likewise emphasizes the stark reality of losing money through investing.

What did the research really confirm?

The study compared gains from a simple HSBC tracker fund (which 'tracks' the FTSE 100 index of shares) with cash put yearly into a best-buy one-year deposit account with a bank or building society – also referred to as a 'one-year bond'. It assumed that dividends were invested back while the cash was also invested back yearly together with earned interest. The study showed the following:

Savings accounts overtook the overall gains on the tracker in 57% of the 192 five-year investment periods commencing monthly since 1 January 1995. On the other hand, the tracker scored only 43% of the same durations.

Over longer time durations, the difference was even more pronounced. For instance, in more than 84 14-year periods from 1995, cash-savings handily overran investments in shares with an impressive 96% score.

When considering a various periods of investment since 1995, such as from one to 11 years, the study found investments in funds that follow the FTSE 100 would have ended up losing money up to 33% of the time. However, keeping your money in a savings account assured you a gain over the original amount, a virtually risk-free proposition.

Nevertheless, savings accounts did not win in each situation. The research showed that throughout the full 21-year period from 1995 to 2016, best-buy savings accounts would have delivered an average 5 % “annual compound return” (rate-of-return on your investment) against the 6% HSBC tracker fund would have produced.

But while shares led over the entire period, this finding is still remarkable. Although investors are ordinarily told an average 'risk premium' (which is the extra gain you expect to get by 'risking' an investment in a tracker instead of keeping a bank savings account) of 3% to 8%; however, this study seems to point to a slight gain near 1%.

In short, best-buy savings accounts are more advantageous than investing in the stock market since savings account will never be lost while investments in shares may disappear.

So, how was the research undertaken?

Paul Lewis, who presents Radio 4's Money Box program, acquired data from best-buy cash records since 1995 from Moneyfacts, a financial information publisher.

He states, "This new study of the data proves that people who choose to keep their cash safe in savings accounts have a higher rate of winning over those who prefer tracker funds in most of time periods.

"Likewise, it verifies that the risk of incurring losses on stock investments is quite real. Over any investment period of one up to five years from 1995 to 2015, about one out of four chances or more resulted in the investment’s failure. For longer periods of nine or ten years, the chance of failing was about one out of ten. Only a few financial consultants are aware of such odds and even fewer tell their clients about them.

"For so long, I have long assumed that the value of cash was played down by conventional study which tend to put out poor cash rates in comparison with overstated gains in stocks investments."

So, should we then do away with investing in shares?

It really depends on one’s risk capacity. Whereas this study sheds new light on the issue, whether you invest or save, it is an individual’s choice wholly dependent on one’s outlook on risk; hence, if you are comfortable with taking risks, you may find your fulfillment in shares.

Lewis's study discovered periods when shares gave a higher gain than cash, such as from 1 November 2008 to 1 September 2009; and during the entire 21-year-period, shares enjoyed a slight advantage.

In general, however, for investment periods of five years or more, cash savings gave a better return over shares: 38 against 24, respectively.

Moreover, Lewis says: "In every situation, cash may not be right for everyone. However, for a cautious investor over long periods of time of up to two decades, this study points to the advantage of well-managed active cash over a FTSE 100 tracker in most cases. The clincher for people who look for a sure winner is that a cash account will produce more money than what they put in."

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The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission currently employs over 50 staff. This is a mixture of permanent staff and fixed term contract staff. Temporary staff and specialist technical staff are also contracted as and when our business needs determine. As an independent statutory body the staffs of the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission are Federal Agents and salaries on the GS (General Schedule) scale.

What’s in it for you?

We like to think that our staffs are some of the best in the international regulatory environment. We provide a long term commitment to personal development. Career opportunities within the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission are diverse and your long term career prospects in the finance sector generally can benefit greatly from your experience with the institution.

What’s it like to work at the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission?

You may have already formed a perception of what it might be like to work for the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission. Perhaps from what you have read in the press, your experience of working for a regulated entity or being a consumer of financial services. The following should help you decide whether a career at the institution is for you.

Commission culture

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission culture is one of professional excellence fostering employee development and encourages them to meet their full potential in order to maximize successes. The atmosphere is exciting and creates an environment in which employees are engaged, challenged and motivated. We are proud of the part we play in sustaining the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission’s position as an international financial center.

Training and development

We are committed to ensuring that staffs achieve continuous professional development and we provide the opportunity to undertake a range of relevant professional qualifications. We place the power, to shape your future through personal and professional development, in your hands.

Equal Opportunities

It is the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission policy to promote equal opportunities in the workplace. The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission seeks to select the most suitable person for the post, subject to the provisions of the Control of Employment legislation. The selection process is undertaken without discrimination and regardless of age, gender, disability, marital status, ethnic background or religious beliefs.

Investors In People

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission has achieved recognition by the Investors in People standard. The standard has helped the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission improve performance and communication and realize objectives through the management and development of our people.

What type of people are we looking for?

Our people are at the very center of our organization and core to our strategy to meet our goals. The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission seeks individuals who can make a valuable contribution to its work. People with a real interest in our objectives who can communicate effectively, individuals with flair, creativity and the ability to drive and complete projects and people who are well informed and great team players.

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission’s success depends upon the performance of its people. We work in a professional environment where staff are engaged and contribute to the business, working closely with the industry, Government and international bodies.

Rewards & Benefits Package

Financial Benefits

•A competitive salary

•Contributory pension scheme

•Death in service benefit

•Car parking space (after a qualifying period)

Holidays

•Minimum of 25 days annual leave (rising to 30 days after a qualifying period)

•Flexible working scheme – up to 12 days can be accrued each year

Training & Development

•Sponsorship and support for relevant professional studies

•Technical and vocational training

Health & well-being

•Annual health/lifestyle checks

•Enhanced maternity and paternity provisions

•Subsidised social events

•Fresh fruit provided weekly

•Discounted gym membership

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As a reputable international financial center with full access to global markets, it is essential that the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission retains the confidence of its counterparties through the adoption and implementation of high regulatory standards. The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission therefore attaches great importance to making sure that its policies and procedures conform to internationally accepted best practice.

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission is a member of the Offshore Group of Banking Supervisors and of IOSCO. The IOSCO are the main bodies responsible for the setting of international standards in the banking and securities sectors respectively.

A number of official international organizations have devoted much time to the assessment of offshore centers generally. This has been mainly to assess their practices against global standards to ensure that they do not present a weak link in the financial system generally. The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission welcomes this scrutiny, and indeed has benefited from the subsequent findings.

In 2002 the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission conducted an assessment of the institute's regulatory arrangements under its OFC program. The Report confirms that the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission "complies well" with international standards for the regulation and supervision of financial services. It concludes that the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission has a "high level of compliance" with international standards in such areas as banking, insurance, securities, anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism.

It commends "the proactive approach of the regulators to achieve high standards in the financial services sector".

Following the independent report prepared in 1998, which commented favorably on regulatory practices in the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission, the Financial Action Task Force has completed its own review of International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission defenses against money-laundering. Its positive report concluded that the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission has measures in place which are close to full adherence with FATF recommendations. The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission has in place Memoranda of Understanding with a number of jurisdictions to underpin this, and wider issues of, co-operation.

Meanwhile the Financial Stability Forum has also considered the effect which offshore centers generally can have on global financial stability and in April 2000 issued its Report of the Working Group on Offshore Centers. It canvassed opinion among major countries on the strength of regulatory practice in the different centers, and it was very pleasing to note that the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission was placed in the top group of centers reviewed. This type of independent confirmation of how the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission regulatory system is perceived to be working in practice is an important test of effectiveness and compliance.

More recently a far reaching, five year fiscal strategy for the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission was announced in the Summer of 2012 and played a major part in addressing many of the concerns raised by the OECD and in achieving such a positive outcome.

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission has received confirmation that it has been moved to a list approved by the US Internal Revenue Service under its new Withholding Tax legislation. Broadly, the legislation requires local financial institutions to apply for Qualified Intermediary Status if they wish to invest in US securities and claim exemption from US Withholding Tax for their clients.

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The Boardof International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission

The InternationalFinancial Securities Regulatory Commission is a Statutory Board. The roleand responsibilities of a Statutory Board and its members are set out in theStatutory Boards Act 1987 (except where this Act is varied by the FinancialServices Act 2008). Appointments to the Board of Commissioners are approved bythe Homeland Security and/or Congress.

The Board of the International FinancialSecurities Regulatory Commission consists of not less than seven qualifiedpeople appointed by Treasury and approved by Homeland Security and/or Congress.The Board currently comprises a Non-Executive Chairman and Non-Executive DeputyChairman, the Chief Executive and a further four Non-Executive.

Commissioners

The quorum of the Board is three Commissioners.

Commissioners normally go out of office fiveyears after appointment and their remuneration is set down by Order.

Routine meetings of the Board are held monthly,generally on the last Thursday of a calendar month and additionally on an adhoc basis as required. Quorums of the Board also meet as necessary to: hearlicense applications; review risk and internal control matters (RICC); agreestaff remuneration; determine appeals relating to complaints; and hold licenseholder disciplinary reviews.

The constitution of the International FinancialSecurities Regulatory Commission and its functions are described in Schedule 1to the Financial Services Act 2008. This Act provides that the Treasury mayspecify policies and strategies for the International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission and the International Financial Securities RegulatoryCommission must, so far as is reasonably practicable, act in a way whichpromotes any policy or strategy specified by the Treasury. The InternationalFinancial Securities Regulatory Commission Board members are responsible to theTreasury for the proper operation of its regulatory powers and its compliancewith the requirements of the Financial Services Act.

CorporateGovernance

As a regulator the International FinancialSecurities Regulatory Commission is subject to challenge in carrying out itsfunctions, and is financed out of public funds. These factors impose a strongresponsibility on the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commissionto demonstrate that it is acting properly at all times, in the same way thatInternational Financial Securities Regulatory Commission expects a similarbehavior from its license holders.

The International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission operates under a Corporate Governance Framework whichincorporates the requirements of the International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission Corporate.

Memorandumof Understanding

The International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission Treasury and the Commodity Market Regulatory Commissionare parties to a Memorandum of Understanding. It sets out the framework forco-operation between the Treasury and the International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission. In particular, it establishes arrangements to ensurethat the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission isaccountable to Treasury for its actions, and clarifies the circumstances inwhich liaison and dialogue can flow between both parties.

Accountabilityand scrutiny

The International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission is accountable and subject to scrutiny in the followingareas:

•The Homeland Security and/or Congress:appointment of Commissioners, Corporate Plan, new legislation;

•Government and Treasury: strategic objectives,legislative policy and proposals, budgeting and funding, establishmentheadcount;

•Industry: consultation on regulatory andsupervisory proposals;

•Home regulators of licensed institutions.

The International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission regulatory and supervisory approach is also subject toongoing review by standard-setting organizations including the InternationalMonetary Fund and the FATF.

Transparency

The International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission endorses the principles of openness and transparencycontained in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information and, infulfilling its functions, the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commissionendeavors to be as open and transparent as possible without compromisingconfidentiality.

Finance

The International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission operates within a budget agreed with Treasury, and withina headcount restriction set down centrally within Government. InternationalFinancial Securities Regulatory Commission revenue and expenditure is auditedannually by the Government’s external auditors, and the International FinancialSecurities Regulatory Commission is subject to review by the Government’sinternal audit department.

The International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission publishes its financial statements each year as part ofits Annual Report.

DelegatedAuthorities

The Board has put in place a delegation ofresponsibility framework within the International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission management system. This framework identifies the personsresponsible for developing and exercising control procedures and for promotinga compliance culture within the International Financial Securities RegulatoryCommission.

The powers delegated to the Chief Executiveinclude:

•Changes in license conditions attached to alicense

•Extensions to licenses to include new schemes etc.

•Surrender of lapsed licenses

•Restructure of organizations and sale or mergerof license holders

•Approving recognition of collective investmentschemes

The Chief Executive in turn delegates certainmatters within the Executive.

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Aggressive Stock Promotions Target Unwary Investors

Aggressive Stock Promotions Target Unwary Investors

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission is warning investors to watch out for unsolicited investment offers, after receiving complaints about aggressive telephone stock promotions. Typical complaints describe high-pressure sales tactics and verbal promises that the stock will soon be listed at a higher price.

High-pressure sales tactics are a warning sign to investigate before you invest; a great investment opportunity should stand up to the test of further research. Federal securities law is designed to maintain fair and efficient capital markets. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals closely scrutinize the laws, looking for new ways to exploit unsuspecting investors.

One example of this is the "pump and dump" schemes that operated in the late 1990's. These operations used aggressive sales tactics to sell penny stocks to investors at inflated prices. After maximizing their own profit by creating an artificial market for the stocks, they left those same investors holding worthless shares. The penny stock dealers defended their actions by pointing out that sellers are free to ask any price for their securities on the open market - it is up to the buyer to decide what price they want to pay. While this philosophy is a cornerstone of the free market economy, these companies were not upholding the spirit of the law. The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission established that the "pump and dump" operators were "not acting in the public interest" and the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission put them out of business.

In a more recent example, the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission has received complaints about abuse of the "Accredited Investor" exemption.

Generally, a prospectus must be issued before a registered representative can sell shares to the public, however there are exemptions to these requirements. The exemption allows a company to sell to qualifying investors without a prospectus.

Some unscrupulous salespeople have persuaded investors who do not meet the criteria to sign a form stating they are accredited, and invest in high-risk ventures.

They do this by suggesting that the government unfairly allows wealthy people to take advantage of the really great investment opportunities. The reality is that the exemption rule is in place to make it easier for small businesses to access capital, and provide protection to investors.

To protect your money:

•Be wary of unsolicited offers received over the Internet or by telephone.

•Check the registration and background of the person or company offering you the investment - you can call the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission for additional information.

•Never sign documents you have not read, or do not accurately reflect your financial situation. If someone asks you to fill out a form with false information, ask yourself if this is the kind of person you should rely on for investment advice.

Investors Beware of Certain Stock Promotion Practices

Investors Beware of Certain Stock Promotion Practices

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission is warning investors to beware of promoters who advise them to make misrepresentations about their financial status in order to qualify to invest in high risk exempt market securities. The concerns stem from increasing evidence of these practices in the market.

In a typical scenario, a potential investor receives a telephone call, often from a stock promoter or salesperson that they do not know. Investors should be particularly wary of investment advice given by total strangers, particularly when the advice comes in a "cold call" or over the Internet. The promoter may recommend a particular stock, and note that the investment is limited to accredited investors but that this is a technical requirement, and that an exception will be made for this investor. This advice would see the investor lie about their financial situation to qualify to buy the securities.

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission advice to break the law should be a further red flag for the potential investor - after all, if the promoter is recommending that one rule be broken, what assurance does the investor have that other rules will not also be broken, resulting in financial loss?

The reasoning behind this exemption is that if you meet these criteria, you can afford professional advice and can afford to take on a higher risk with your investment activities. If you do not meet the criteria, the investment likely carries more risk than you can afford.

Often, the promoter also makes statements about the stock's likelihood to make investors rich, either because its value is destined to increase dramatically or because it is about to be listed on a stock exchange. Those statements are further violations of the Securities Act.

Pump and Dump and Stock Swap Scam

Pump and Dump and Stock Swap Scam

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission is warning investors of a two-stage stock scam involving worthless stock, "swaps" and salespeople claiming to represent legitimate companies.

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission has received complaints concerning this scam from various investors.

Stage One: The Pump and Dump

In a typical "pump and dump" scheme, an investor is approached by a brokerage house's salesperson, and offered an incredible deal on a stock described as a once-in-a-lifetime investment.

The stock is likely to be a US-based, over-the-counter, smaller company stock worth fractions of a cent. The brokerage house, while holding a large block of the stock, actively promotes the stock so that the price is driven significantly upward.

Once a sufficient number of investors have overpaid for the stock, the brokerage house ceases to support the market for the stock and the value of the stock falls dramatically, usually to less than one cent per share.

The "brokerage house" promptly closes up shop, and the victim is left holding worthless stock for which there is apparently no demand.

Stage Two: The Stock Swap

Still holding worthless stock, the investor is approached by someone posing as a sales representative of a legitimate-sounding company. It is important to note that the company named was not involved in the scam. The scam artist simply used the name of a legitimate company to make his pitch believable.

The sales representative told the victim that he represented a group of clients trying to acquire stocks that had recently declined, in order to receive tax cuts. The sales representative proposed that the victim swap the worthless stock for recognized blue chip stock held by the tax-burdened clients.

For the purposes of the swap the victim's stocks would be valued at the price(s) that the victim paid.

Since the blue chip stock was priced higher than the value of the victim's stock, the victim was required to pay the difference in the value of the stocks. In one case, a victim submitted US$ 15,000 to an international bank where the suspect held an account. The victim did not actually receive the blue chip stock, but instead was swindled a second time.

Approach Mini-Tenders with Caution

Approach Mini-Tenders with Caution

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission, concerned that investors might be selling stock at below-market price based on misleading information, reminds investors to carefully review any offer for their shares. Firms or individuals who seek to buy shares at below-market price should warn shareholders that the offer price is below the market price and clearly calculate the final price to be paid for the shares. In addition, they should describe investors' right to withdraw from the offer, known as a mini-tender.

How do mini-tenders work?

Shareholders receive an offer for their shares, usually at a price that is much lower than the market price of the shares. The mini-tender offer or tries to buy less than 20% of the target company's shares so they don't have to file documents with the securities commissions, or communicate with shareholders. They profit by selling the shares on the open market at a higher price.

Mini-tenders should not be confused with take-over bids, which involve larger numbers of shares. Once you agree to a mini-tender you are normally locked into the deal, but in a take-over bid you may be able to change your mind. Another difference between mini-tenders and take-over bids is that the target company doesn't need to tell its shareholders about the mini-tender offer. In a take-over bid the company must notify all shareholders.

What are the risks?

You may misunderstand the offer and feel pressured to sell the shares at the offer price, or not realize that the offer price is lower than what you could get by selling the shares on the open market. Offer or that rely on such misunderstandings may be violating the anti-fraud provisions of federal securities laws. The offer or can terminate its offer at any time, delay payment for the shares, and change the offer. They may decide not to buy the shares at the last minute. Mini-tenders usually benefit the offer or at the expense of investors.

Why would anyone participate in a mini-tender?

You might participate to avoid brokerage commissions that would make selling the shares very costly, such as when you sell a small number of shares, or when the shares are hard to sell. Check with your adviser to see if a mini-tender is in your best interests.

Some tips:

•Understand how it works, before you sign. Is the offer a mini-tender or a take-over bid?

•Check the market price of your shares. Compare the market price with the offer price.

•Don't give in to high pressure sales tactics. Research the offer and the current value of your shares.

Be on the Alert for Boiler Room Tactics

Be on the Alert for Boiler Room Tactics

If you get an unsolicited telephone call about an investment opportunity, be alert to the signs of fraud, warns the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission. You might be a target of a boiler room operation. Boiler room operations wear many disguises, and they are once again rearing their ugly head in. Boiler room operators hope to give you a false sense of security with promises of quick profits - but the only ones that profit are the scam artists, at your expense.

They may be located in the financial district near reputable firms, but their address may be nothing more than a rented space tucked away from the public eye. Rarely, if ever, are the offers they peddle to your benefit. Why would a complete stranger call to offer you a no-risk, high-return investment? It is too good to be true.

To gain your trust, the salesperson may boast of a business idea that sounds probable - perhaps a company in the medical industry with a new technological breakthrough for detecting cancer. The pitch is that with your investment, the company could go public on the stock exchange and make you more money. The scam artist may also try to play on your sympathies - he or she may know that cancer has taken the life of someone dear to you. Or perhaps they know that you are a busy professional, with extra income to invest, and little time to do your own research. Regardless of the background, the investment opportunity will be sold on the promise of quick profits.

If the offer is really such a great deal, there should be no need for a broker to cold call strangers to promote it. Ask yourself why they are calling you.

To avoid becoming a victim of a boiler room, watch out for:

Unsolicited phone calls. Don't be afraid to tell a salesperson not to call again, or simply hang up.

High pressure sales tactics and repeat callers. Take the time to research any investment opportunity and get a second opinion.

Promises of high returns with no risk. Any investment that offers returns higher than the bank rate has risk. If you invest in a high-risk investment, you must be financially prepared to lose your money.

Setups. With the first call, the scam artist may only try to gain your trust by offering information about the company and their alleged success. This is a setup for future calls, when you will be pressured to buy.

Unregistered salespersons. Check the registration of the person offering you the investment by contacting the International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission.

The Pitfalls of Ponzi Schemes

The Pitfalls of Ponzi Schemes

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission is warning investors to steer clear of Ponzi-style investment schemes; many con artists use this process to get your money.

The first known Ponzi scheme was operated by Carl Ponzi himself. In 1920's Boston, Ponzi collected $9.8 million from 10,550 investors, including 75% of the Boston Police force. Ponzi then delivered $7.8 million to his investors as "return" on their investments and spent the rest of the money. Ponzi's original investors were please with their "returns" that they happily helped him find more investors. The Ponzi scheme thrived until the media took notice; Carl Ponzi was finally arrested and ended up in bankruptcy court. In the end everyone lost money; the bankruptcy trustee sued the individuals who made gains from the Ponzi scheme so Carl Ponzi's debts could be paid to his creditors.

How did Ponzi lure so many people into his scheme? Investors were attracted to Ponzi's plan because he guaranteed high returns over a short period of time - profits of 50% every 45 days. Unfortunately, these returns were paid from the investors' own money and the contributions of other investors. The essence of the Ponzi scheme is that money is ‘borrowed from Peter to pay Paul.'

Today's Ponzi schemes look like real investment opportunities. These schemes work well because:

•Investors receive "interest" checks (which are really the return of their own money), and they encourage their friends and family to invest;

•Investors regularly receive account statements that show profits (which are not real);

•Investors rarely research the investment, or check the background of the person offering the investment.

•The Ponzi operator often convinces investors to put their ‘profits' back into the Ponzi; ultimately they lose their original investment plus any profits they may have earned. Ponzi schemes spread by word of mouth. As more people hear of the apparently profitable investment, more investors want to get in on it. Early investors are paid out of money from new investors, at times for many years until the Ponzi collapses. The Ponzi scheme comes to an end when the number of new investors inevitably falls. With fewer new investors, there is no new money to pay the returns. If you lose your money to a Ponzi scheme, chances are you will not get your money back.

Although a Ponzi scheme can be difficult to spot, the following tips will help you protect your money from con artists:

•Watch out for investment promotions that offer guaranteed high returns and low risk. If an investment has a high return, you are taking a large risk with your money.

•Check the registration of the investment, and the person or company offering it. Many Ponzi operators are not registered to sell securities, nor is the investment itself registered.

Is it Independent Research or Paid Promotion?

Is it Independent Research or Paid Promotion.

The International Financial Securities Regulatory Commission is encouraging the public to consider the difference between marketing publications and investment advice. Unsolicited investment newsletters are commonly sent out by fax and e-mail by firms that are paid to promote investments. Before you act on the material, consider that it may not give you a balanced picture.

Promotional Language:

•Headings such as "Hot Tip" and "Special Alert" will attract your attention to information that seems authoritative and professional, but may not provide the whole story.

•Statements like "the potential to make our readers wealthier than they ever imagined"- potential is not a guarantee.

•Claims that other smart investors are already following this advice - in the hopes that you will follow the crowd.

What you should watch out for:

•Fine print that contradicts what's promised in the newsletter. Look for statements like "The reader assumes all risk as to the accuracy and the use of this document."

•Free stock research that you didn't ask for. Chances are that someone who doesn't know anything about you or your investment objectives doesn't have your best interests in mind.

•Promotions for companies that are not listed on a stock exchange. These companies may be subject to less regulation and have fewer disclosure requirements - which means higher risk.

•References to current events like commodity shortages and global terrorism to create a sense of urgency. These are high-pressure sales tactics.

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InvestorResource

Amerger occurs when one firm assumes all the assets and all the liabilities ofanother. The acquiring firm retains its identity, while the acquired firmceases to exist. A majority vote of shareholders is generally required toapprove a merger. A merger is just one type of acquisition. One company canacquire another in several other ways, including purchasing some or all of thecompany's assets or buying up its outstanding shares of stock.

Ingeneral, mergers and other types of acquisitions are performed in the hopes ofrealizing an economic gain. For such a transaction to be justified, the twofirms involved must be worth more together than they were apart. Some of thepotential advantages of mergers and acquisitions include achieving economies ofscale, combining complementary resources, garnering tax advantages, andeliminating inefficiencies. Other reasons for considering growth throughacquisitions include obtaining proprietary rights to products or services,increasing market power by purchasing competitors, shoring up weaknesses in keybusiness areas, new geographic regions, or providing managers with newopportunities for career growth and advancement. Since mergers and acquisitionsare so complex, however, it can be very difficult to evaluate the transaction,define the associated costs and benefits, and handle the resulting tax andlegal issues.

"Intoday's global business environment, companies may have to grow to survive, andone of the best ways to grow is by merging with another company or acquiringother companies," which in some cases are multibillion-dollarcorporations.

Whena small business owner chooses to merge with or sell out to another company, itis sometimes called "harvesting" the small business. In thissituation, the transaction is intended to release the value locked up in thesmall business for the benefit of its owners and investors. The impetus for asmall business owner to pursue a sale or merger may involve estate planning, aneed to diversify his or her investments, an inability to finance growthindependently, or a simple need for change. In addition, some small businessesfind that the best way to grow and compete against larger firms is to mergewith or acquire other small businesses.

Inprinciple, the decision to merge with or acquire another firm is a capitalbudgeting decision much like any other. But mergers differ from ordinaryinvestment decisions in at least five ways. First, the value of a merger maydepend on such things as strategic fits that are difficult to measure. Second,the accounting, tax, and legal aspects of a merger can be complex. Third,mergers often involve issues of corporate control and are a means of replacingexisting management. Fourth, mergers obviously affect the value of the firm,but they also affect the relative value of the stocks and bonds. Finally,mergers are often "unfriendly."

TheInternational Financial Securities Regulatory Commission is established topromote investor confidence in the securities and capital markets by providingmore structure and government oversight. The mission of the InternationalFinancial Securities Regulatory Commission is to protect investors and maintainintegrity of the securities industry, overseeing major participants in theindustry, including stock exchanges, broker-dealers, investment advisors,mutual funds, and public utility holding companies. The International FinancialSecurities Regulatory Commission is concerned primarily with promotingdisclosure of important information, enforcing securities laws, and protectinginvestors who interact with these various organizations and individuals.

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The InternationalFinancial Securities Regulatory Commission was established to promoteinvestor confidence in the securities and capital markets by providing morestructure and government oversight. The mission of the International FinancialSecurities Regulatory Commission is to protect investors and maintain integrityof the securities industry, overseeing major participants in the industry,including stock exchanges, broker-dealers, investment advisors, mutual funds,and public utility holding companies. The International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission is concerned primarily with promoting disclosure ofimportant information, enforcing securities laws, and protecting investors whointeract with these various organizations and individuals.

Crucial to theInternational Financial Securities Regulatory Commission's effectiveness is itsenforcement authority. Each year the International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission brings more enforcement actions against individuals andcompanies that break the securities laws. Typical infractions include insider trading,accounting fraud, and providing false or misleading information aboutsecurities and the companies that issue them.

Aside fromadministering and enforcing federal securities laws in order to maintain fair,honest, and efficient markets, the International Financial SecuritiesRegulatory Commission has continuously committed itself to disseminating informationto the investing public in a timely and efficient manner, one channel of whichis through its website that offers the public a wealth of informationalresources.

Fighting securitiesfraud, however, requires teamwork. At the heart of effective investorprotection is an educated and cautious investor. While it is the primaryoverseer and regulator of the securities markets, the works closely with manydifferent institutions, including other Federal departments and agencies, theself-regulatory organizations, State securities regulators, and various privatesector organizations.

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