IRC Provides Financial Education Services to South Florida Investors
In addition to providing pro bono legal services to investors who may have claims against their brokers but cannot otherwise obtain legal representation, the University of Miami School of Law Investor Rights Clinic (“IRC”) seeks to make an impact in the community by providing educational outreach programs on financial literacy, investing, and avoiding investment scams.
IRC students Julianne Bisceglia and Caitlin Wilcox offered financial education tips to Empowered Youth Miami on November 10, 2012. The Empowered Youth members in attendance also participated in a financial education game which awarded prizes corresponding to the value of the question correctly answered. The IRC presentation focused on the importance of making good financial decisions with an emphasis on credit and savings.
Meanwhile, on November 26, 2012, IRC students Danielle Zelinski and Zack Knoblock educated students at Viera High School’s Academy of Business and Finance on the importance of savings and credit. Zelinski and Knoblock discussed ways to improve credit scores, the true costs of making purchases on credit, and how compound interest can substantially grow savings over time.
On November 13, 2012, IRC student interns Angela Bousalis and Kenneth Rosen conducted a presentation to University of Miami undergraduate students at Mahoney Residential College. Bousalis and Rosen educated the undergraduates on managing debt, establishing credit, budgeting, saving, and investing. The students also participated in an interactive team exercise designed to demonstrate the importance of budgeting based on hypothetical income, expense, debt, and discretionary spending factors. The students in attendance consisted of residential assistants (“RAs”) at UM. At the end of the presentation, the RAs received written materials on financial literacy prepared by the IRC for distribution to other students residing on campus.
On November 16, 2012, IRC students Ryan Hashmi, Victor Velarde, and Adam Zhamukhanov spoke to senior citizens at Miami Springs Senior Center in Miami Springs, Florida, about basic investment concepts and ways to detect and avoid broker fraud targeted to senior investors, such as Ponzi schemes, boiler rooms, unregistered investments, and “free lunch” scams. The IRC students also warned the seniors about potential red flags to look out for, including performance guarantees, unrealistic historic returns, hard-to-understand investment strategies, missing documentation, and overly aggressive sales tactics.
In other Fall 2012 outreach activities, IRC students Ann Marie Brodarick, James Galvin, and Alex Lewis created the IRC blog, which publishes posts on investment news and developments in securities law targeted to the investing public, as well as general IRC news. The IRC blog also provides basic investment information and links to investor resources. Please continue to visit the IRC blog to stay up to date on investment news, developments in securities arbitration, and IRC activities.
The Fall 2012 IRC outreach events described above form part of an ongoing series of community service programs designed by the IRC to promote financial literacy and to educate potentially vulnerable investors. These activities are in addition to the IRC’s representation of investors of limited means who have suffered losses as a result of broker misconduct. For more information on IRC availability for an outreach program targeted to your organization or group, please contact the IRC at (305) 284-8234.