Moreover, the information may not be available in English. Investors should learn as much as they can about an investment, and about a broker-dealer or an investment adviser, before they invest. Tracking down information on international investments may require extra effort, but it will make investors more informed. One of the most important things to remember is to read and understand the information about an investment before investing.
Here are some sources of information to consider:. SEC reports. Foreign companies listed on U. Investors can get the prospectus for a particular U. Many of these funds also have websites and phone lines to assist investors that may provide helpful information about international investing.
In addition, prospectuses of U. A broker or investment adviser may have research reports on particular foreign companies, individual countries or geographic regions. Ask whether updated reports are available on a regular basis. A broker or investment adviser also may be able to provide investors with copies of SEC reports and other information. Foreign companies. Foreign companies often prepare annual reports, and some companies also publish an English language version of their annual report.
Some foreign companies post their annual reports and other financial information on their websites. Foreign regulators. Many foreign securities regulators post information about issuers and registrants on their websites, including audited financial statements. Foreign regulators sometimes post warnings about investment scams and information about their enforcement actions that can be useful to investors. IOSCO also publishes investor alerts that it receives from its securities regulator members on the Investor Protection page on its website.
Many financial publications and international business newspapers provide extensive news coverage of foreign companies and markets. Internet Resources. Various government, commercial, and media websites offer information about foreign companies and markets. For tips on how to spot and avoid Internet fraud, please visit Investor.
In the United States, we have access to information and products from all over the world. Foreign companies can achieve the status of household names in the United States without public awareness that these companies are domiciled outside of the United States, or they may conduct a majority of their business operations abroad. In addition, many U. Investors should conduct a review of their holdings, including any U.
While investing in any security requires careful consideration, international investing raises some special issues and risks. These include:. Access to different information. In some jurisdictions, the information provided by foreign companies is different than information provided by U.
The nature, amount and frequency of disclosures required under foreign law may also be different from that required of U. Information foreign companies publish may not be in English. Moreover, the financial statements of publicly listed companies in the United States, whether based in the United States or abroad, must be audited by an independent public accounting firm subject to oversight by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board PCAOB. The financial statements of a foreign company that is not publicly listed in the United States may or may not be subject to analogous auditing and auditor oversight arrangements.
Costs of international investments. International investing can be more expensive than investing in U. In some countries there may be unexpected taxes, such as withholding taxes on dividends. Investors also should be aware of the potential risks and effects of currency conversion costs on an investment. Working with a broker or investment adviser. If investors are working with a broker or investment adviser, they should make sure the investment professional is registered with the SEC or for some investment advisers with the appropriate state regulatory entity.
It is generally against the law for a broker, foreign or domestic, to contact a U. Investment advisers advising U. Details on a U. Changes in currency exchange rates and currency controls. A foreign investment also has foreign currency exchange risks.
When the exchange rate between the foreign currency and the U. In fact, it is possible that a foreign investment may increase in value in its home market but, because of changing exchange rates, the value of that investment in U. In addition to exchange rates, investors should be aware that some countries may impose foreign currency controls that restrict or delay investors or the company invested in from moving currency out of a country.
These controls could affect the value and liquidity of an investment. Changes in market value. All securities markets can experience dramatic changes in market value. One way to attempt to reduce the impact of these price changes is to be prepared to hold investments through adverse times and sharp downturns in domestic or foreign markets, which may be long lasting.
Political, economic and social events. Depending on the country or region, it can be more difficult for individual investors to obtain information about and comprehensively analyze all the political, economic and social factors that influence a particular foreign market. These factors may provide diversification from a domestically-focused portfolio, but they may also contribute to the risk of international investing.
Watch for more on the process. Check out an investment professional's registration status and background at Investor. Check Your Investment Professional. Check out updates on the SEC open data program, including best practices that make it more efficient to download data. Search SEC. Securities and Exchange Commission. Chair Gensler spoke with Lloyd M. Johnson Jr. Spotlight On. June 16, June 14, E-mail Updates.
We Inform and Protect Investors. Protect Your Money! Advance Fee Fraud. Form K. Variable Annuities. Extended-Hours Trading: Investor Bulletin. June 6, May 31, The Ombudsman will listen to your inquiries, complaints, and issues, review the information you provide, and help identify procedures, options, and resources. The Ombudsman is also available to clarify certain SEC decisions, policies, and practices, and serve as an alternate channel of communication between retail investors and the SEC.
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