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High-Pressure Sales

Many financial services firms sponsor sales seminars and offer a free meal to entice attendees. While these seminars are advertised as educational workshops at which “nothing will be sold,” they are actually held to get attendees to open accounts and buy investment products, if not at the seminar itself, then in follow-up contacts. In a 2006-2007 study of these seminars by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and state securities regulators, it was found that about half featured exaggerated or misleading advertising claims and about one-quarter involved unsuitable investment recommendations. Attendees need to understand that these seminars are primarily sales events and that all claims and recommendations should be evaluated with great care before taking any actions.

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