The Investor Education Foundation is particularly interested in funding projects that address priority areas identified by NASD’s 2003 Investor Survey . Those priorities include educating women and helping young people set financial goals, since the Investor Survey showed these groups tend to have a weaker understanding of fundamental financial issues, according to NASD.
In addition, the Investor Education Foundation is interested in projects addressing other priority areas. These include:
- Research methods to improve disclosure to investors about investments and financial services.
- Encouraging investors to check the backgrounds of financial professionals prior to doing business with them.
- Better preparing older Americans for handling their finances during retirement.
- Advancing practice, policy and thought in the fields of investor education and investor protection.
- Expanding the body of knowledge and/or provide practical materials that will have a positive impact on investor education or protection consistent with key findings in the 2003 NASD Investor Survey.
“More Americans are participating in the market than ever before, through mutual funds and individual stocks, and through 401(k) and college savings plans,” said NASD Chairman and CEO Robert Glauber. “But many of these investors, particularly new ones, need a better sense of what they should be doing and why. There is clearly a demand for more investor education, as investors realize that financial security depends on making fully informed decisions.”
To fund these projects, the Investor Education Foundation is armed with an initial endowment of $10 million. The first grant application process begins this month and extends through July 2, 2004.
“We are seeing that overall, women and younger investors are not receiving even the most basic messages, and that concerns us greatly,” said Mary Schapiro, NASD Vice Chairman and President of Regulatory Policy and Oversight. “The Foundation offers an ideal opportunity to find effective ways of getting investing information across so that these groups will understand it and be able to use it to secure their financial futures.”
The Investor Education Foundation, established as a separate, non-profit organization last December, has published its grant guidelines and application procedures at http://www.nasdfoundation.org/guidelines.asp .