Securities / Investments Complaint
Important Reminders: You have may have civil remedies under the Tennessee Securities Act of 1980; however, these remedies are governed by statute of limitations that may prevent you from recovering your losses if you do not act in a timely manner. You should consult a private attorney for further individual advice.
Any action the Securities Division takes on your complaint will be to enforce the Securities Act and Rules, not to recover investor funds. The Division does not legally represent individual interests and cannot compel anyone to return your money.
What Financial Services Investigation Unit (“FSIU”) cannot do? Act as your lawyer or give legal advice.
What is a security?
- A security is broadly defined to include a wide array of investments such as stocks, bonds, notes, debentures, limited partnership interests, oil and gas interests, and investment contracts.
- Generally, if an investment of money is made in a business with the expectation of a profit to come through the efforts of someone other than the investor, it is considered a security.
What is not a security?
- Currency, a check (whether or not certified), draft, bill of exchange, or bank letter of credit.
- A note or other evidence of indebtedness issued in a mercantile or consumer transaction, rather than an investment transaction.
- An interest in a deposit account with a bank or savings and loan association.
- An insurance policy, endowment policy, or annuity contract under which an insurance company promises to pay money either in a lump sum, periodically for life, or for some other specified period. Common characteristics of unregistered securities:
- They are represented as safe investments.
- They are represented as no risk investments.
- They are represented as guaranteed return investments.
- They offer returns on investment that are greater than the prevailing market.
- The sales commissions paid to sales agents are much higher than those for traditional products.
How do I file a complaint? You can file a complaint online, over the phone, or in person. The most convenient and expeditious way to file a complaint is to fill out a complaint form located on our website at https://www.tn.gov/commerce/securities/investors/file-a-complaint.html. Select the form for Securities/Investments Complaint.
What documentation do I need to file a complaint? Relevant documentation such as insurance policies, certificates of insurance, sales literature, account statements, cancelled checks, confirmations, correspondence, or anything else that might be pertinent to proving or disproving allegations. Generally, the more relevant documentation you supply, the easier it is to investigate your complaint.
Can I file a complaint anonymously? Yes, however, without knowing the source of the complaint, it is often difficult to effectively investigate the allegations.
I have filed a complaint. What happens next? After your complaint has been received by the Division, it will be reviewed and assigned to an investigator for further evaluation to determine whether an official investigation is recommended. An investigator may contact you for more facts and information. You may also be asked to give a formal interview or statement. If necessary, you may be asked to testify at an administrative hearing.
What happens if FSIU determines that fraud has occurred? If the investigation concludes that fraud has occurred, FSIU will recommend the appropriate administrative action be taken by our Legal Division. Such action could include fines, suspension, or revocation of license. If legal action is initiated, the outcome will be determined in a hearing before an administrative law judge. In certain situations, FSIU will refer the investigation to the appropriate law enforcement authorities for possible criminal prosecution.
Where can I go to get more information on investor education? Visit our website at https://www.tn.gov/commerce/securities/investors/investor-education-program.html