Investor Watch: Making informed investment decisions during market turmoil

September 29, 2008

The uncertainty in today’s financial markets is on the minds of many investors who are worried about their savings. With international media outlets covering the political and economic situation in the United States on a minute-by-minute basis, you may also be anxious about your investments and financial future.

No matter how you are feeling, acting on emotion or hype is a bad idea. It is important to make well-informed investment decisions in order to ensure you meet your long-term financial goals. Before you make an investment decision, you may want to talk to a financial adviser because sudden moves based on media stories or unsound advice can have devastating consequences on your savings.

It is also important to remember that fraud artists follow the news too. These people use current events to design no-risk, high-return investment pitches to separate you from your hard-earned savings. Remember, if an investment sounds too good to be true, you need to stop and evaluate the offer and investigate the person selling it to you. Also, keep an eye out for the five red flags to investment scams. They can help you spot a possible fraudulent investment scheme.

Don’t let fear or worry pressure you into a unsuitable investment. Before investing, do your homeworkThoroughly evaluate each investment opportunity, and report suspicious investments to the British Columbia Securities Commission.

The North American Securities Administrators Association published a similar warning to American investors: NASAA Cautions Main Street Investors Against Making Uninformed, Sudden Decisions Amid Wall Street Crisis . Give it a read.

Stay informed. Pass this information along to family and friends. Help them avoid scams. Remember, investment fraud not only hurts individual victims, but also their family, friends, and communities.

The BCSC is the independent provincial government agency responsible for regulating trading in securities within the province. If you have questions or concerns about an investment or individual, contact the BCSC inquiries group by calling 604-899-6854 or 1-800-373-6393 (toll free in BC & Alberta). You can also send and e-mail to [email protected].