Secretary of State Brian Kemp visited the College of Law's new Investor Advocacy Clinic offices along with Tom Zagorsky and representatives from the Division of Securities to discuss opportunities for collaboration with Clinic Director Doug Yarn, Assistant Clinical Professor Nicole Iannarone and clinic students on Sept. 5.
As Georgia's commissioner of securities, Kemp is "responsible for the enforcement of the Georgia Uniform Securities Act and the regulation of the securities business in the state of Georgia." His office receives consumer complaints and helps educate investors.
"I was impressed with the Investor Advocacy Clinic and look forward to working with the clinic's staff and students to advance our common goals of investor protection and investor education," said Zagorsky, securities division director.
The relationship between Kemp's office and the clinic is significant because "while they can file enforcement actions to prevent brokers from taking advantage of consumers, they generally can't help individuals who have already been harmed recover their losses," Iannarone said.
Students in the clinic, under faculty supervision, represent investors who have suffered losses because of broker misconduct. Students also will help educate Georgia's investors on how to protect themselves financial fraud through outreach initiatives like a forthcoming clinic blog with investment information and resources.
The secretary of state and Division of Securities were instrumental in establishing the clinic, which is made possible by a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. The groups helped the college in preparing the grant application, providing letters of support and other assistance. The clinic is the only one of its kind in the state.
"I knew that our work is important because Georgia is second in the country for fraud complaints, said Dylan Donley (J.D. '14). "But there is definitely a greater sense of gravity attached to the program, when I realized that the secretary of state and his office are supporting our work. Having their support shows that the issues we are targeting really are a big problem."