WHEN IT COMES TO PERSONAL FINANCES YOU OWE A DUTY TO YOURSELF: When Was the Last Time You Read Brokerage Account Statements? By Angela Morisco, Esq., Becker & Poliakoff

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B oard members and management companies are engaged to oversee and maintain the financial well-being of community associations and to imple- ment financial policies that contribute to the financial health of the community. Board members regularly review aged owner balance reports to ensure that assessments are being collected and that money is being spent prudently. Condominium assessments have been described by courts to be the financial lifeblood of an association. Similarly, your brokerage account may be the lifeblood to your retirement and investment savings plan. As such, you have a responsibility to yourself to understand your brokerage account statements. As the self-regulatory organization that oversees the bro- kerage industry, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) asks this seemingly simple question on its web-

taking an active role in the management and protection of investment accounts. Although to some a brokerage account statement may appear to be intimidating, investors should be aware of the information it contains. All bro- kerage firms and most other financial institutions provide customers with periodic statements 1 which contain various types of information about the holdings, activity, and value of the account at the statement ending date. Although there are almost as many different forms of account statements as there are brokerage firms, certain basic information is featured in almost all of them. Investors should carefully review this information. Investors have a right to clear, concise and accurate information about investments. Prior to investing, education on how to evaluate and measure risks and conflicts of interest is critical. It is also important to understand the level of of discretion a financial professional should can have over an account and to be able to understand and access account statements. First, determine if the personal information is accurate, i.e. the account title (names of person, entity, trust, or company), address, and most importantly, the investment objectives. Second, for most individuals a review of

site: “When was the last time you read your broker- age account statements?” Investor literacy is import- ant to ensure that financial goals can be achieved. Investors should under- stand the importance of

"Investor literacy is important to ensure that financial goals can be achieved."



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