image of 3 books and 4 paperclips in red, blue, orange and yellow colorsThe North American Securities Administrators Association (“NASAA”), an organization made up of state and provincial securities regulators in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with a mission that includes protecting investors, announced a model rule for NASAA members to implement continuing education requirements for investment adviser representatives (“IARs”). Unlike other financial industry professionals, such as lawyers and registered representatives, there is no continuing education requirement for IARs to maintain a license through a state securities regulator and advise investor and retiree clients. 

Every 12 months, the model rule requires IARs to complete 6 credits of regulatory and ethics content and another 6 credits of products and practice content. For comparison, lawyers in Oregon must complete 45 continuing legal education credits every three years, and registered representatives regulated by FINRA must complete regular continuing education that involves compliance, regulatory, ethical and sales practice standards, along with training through their broker-dealer.

Image of Gold and its parent company, TMTE, Inc., along with Chase Metals, LLC, Chase Metals, Inc., Barrick Capital, Inc., and its principals Lucas Asher (aka Lucas Thomas Erb, aka Luke Asher) and Simon Batashvili are alleged to have run a nationwide fraud that brought in more than $185 million in money from customers to buy fraudulently overpriced gold and silver bullion. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), along with 30 state regulators who are members of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), filed an enforcement action against these entities and individuals in federal court.

On September 22, 2020, a federal judge entered a restraining order freezing the defendants’ assets. The federal judge appointed a receiver to take control of, Barrick, and a relief defendant named Tower Equity, LLC.

According to the CFTC, the enforcement action against and the other defendants is the largest joint filing with state regulators in the history of the CFTC. The CFTC alleges that for at least the past three years, the defendants fraudulently solicited over $185 million in money from customers. More than $140 million was retirement savings. The defendants targeted elderly people, deceiving them and others into purchasing precious metals bullion at inflated prices that were unrelated to prices on the open market. The CFTC alleges that the overcharges were as high as 300 percent over the market price. An announcement from the CFTC about the lawsuit is available here.