Why Securities Regulators Can't Help Defrauded Investors
A securities lawyer represents you and your interests. Don’t count on government agencies or industry organizations (e.g. the NASD) to fight for you, because that’s not their mission.
The SEC gets 50,000 complaints per year and they take action on less than a hundred. The NASD gets 5000 complaints every year and takes action on only a few hundred. These bodies fine the brokerage firms and/or they reprimand brokers; they do not recover money for investors.
You can complain to the SEC. You can complain to state regulatory agencies. You can complain to industry organizations (for instance the NASD, an organization of securities dealers.) Thousands of people with legitimate complaints contact those regulators every year. And very few get any money back!
Why? The SEC is charged with enforcing laws, not with recovering damages for individuals. SEC regulators can check to see if laws were broken and that correct practices were followed. They can refer cases to prosecutors. But they don't recover money for investors.
The SEC and NASD have small staffs as do state regulatory agencies. Even if the SEC wanted to help you as an individual investor, they are not equipped to do so. Indeed, the SEC website encourages investors to take legal action independently of any regulatory action: http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/howoiea.htm.