Is There Ever Really Such a Thing as a “Free Lunch”?


80% of Seniors Receive Free Lunch Investment Seminars Invitations Annually

According to the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, 8 out of 10 seniors receive at least one “free lunch investment seminar” invitation each year. The invitations typically advertise an “educational workshop” where “nothing will be sold,” during which attendees will be treated to an upscale lunch at a hotel, restaurant, retirement community or golf course while learning about investment “strategies” and products.

In a 2007 joint report by the SEC, FINRA and members of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), regulators found that contrary to the invitations’ claims 100% of the “free lunch seminars” were actually sales pitches. On top of that, 59% of firms involved in the presentations neglected their supervisory duties, 50% of presentations featured exaggerated or misleading claims, almost a quarter involved unsuitable recommendations, and 13% of the “free lunch” seminars were downright fraudulent.

“I applaud the securities examiners whose collective work has clearly shown that there’s no such thing as a free lunch,” said then SEC Chairmen Christopher Cox in a September 10, 2007 NASAA press release.

For those investors who have already been a victim of fraudulent sales claims, an experienced securities/investment fraud attorney may be able to help you recover investment losses. For investors considering attending a seminar, a how-to video on (sponsored by AARP) recommends protecting yourself by asking several key questions before purchasing any investment product, including: Are you licensed to sell this product? Who are you registered with? and Is this investment registered with the S.E.C.? If the presenter can’t answer the questions or the answers don’t check out, it’s okay to walk away.

Get more information about free lunch seminars from former stockbroker and attorney at Meyer Wilson, Chad Kohler.