I have written before about my own fantasy for consumer securities regulation, which would solve all of these problems but which would probably face some political hurdles in getting enacted. It goes roughly like this:
1. Anyone can invest all they want in a diversified portfolio of approved investments (non-penny-stock public companies, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds with modest fees, insured bank accounts, etc.).
2. Anyone can also invest in any other dumb investment; you just have to go to the local office of the SEC and get a Certificate of Dumb Investment. (Anyone who sells dumb non-approved investments without requiring this certificate from buyers goes to prison.)
3. To get that certificate, you sign a form. The form is one page with a lot of white space. It says in very large letters: “I want to buy a dumb investment. I understand that the person selling it will almost certainly steal all my money, and that I would almost certainly be better off just buying index funds, but I want to do this dumb thing anyway. I agree that I will never, under any circumstances, complain to anyone when this investment inevitably goes wrong. I understand that violating this agreement is a felony.”
4.Then you take the form to an SEC employee, who slaps you hard across the face and says “really???” And if you reply “yes really” then she gives you the certificate.
5. Then you bring the certificate to the seller and you can buy whatever dumb thing he is selling.
6. If an article ever appears in the Wall Street Journal in which you (or your lawyer) are quoted saying that you were just a simple dentist, didn’t understand what you were buying and were swindled by the seller’s flashy sales pitch, then you go to prison.
With our past data it seems certain that many totebagers qualify as accredited investors. Do any of you invest in anything unusual? Do you have any investment tips or concerns?