How to make an investor complaint?

The Commission has the authority to investigate and adjudicate all complaints lodged with it under section 50 of the Act.

The staff of the Commission reviews and investigates all complaints and tips related to the securities industry, including but not limited to those made against registrants (broker-dealers, investment advisers, underwriters, and reporting issuers) Complaints must be made in writing. Upon receipt of a complaint or tip if the actions of these individuals or companies suggest a possible breach or possible breaches of the Act, the staff of the Commission may decide that further investigation is warranted.

Upon completion of an investigation, including the provision of legal advice (internal and external), a recommendation is made by the staff of the Commission to the Board which may include convening a hearing where staff is of the opinion that the individual or company against whom a complaint was made, has contravened or is contravening the Act.

SEC Complaint Procedure

Q. What is the first step in lodging a complaint regarding any aspect of the securities market?

Step 1: Make your complaint to the company

You should make your complaint in writing to the company concerned. 
If you have a problem with an investment product you have purchased or the service that you have received, you are entitled to complain and receive some form of redress. 
As an investor you have the right to:

  • Receive a clearly defined process for raising and resolving complaints;
  • Receive information about alternatives available to you if the firm is unable to resolve a dispute to your satisfaction.

Step 2: Get the company’s response to your complaint in writing

If you are dissatisfied with the company’s response to your complaint or if you are unable to resolve your complaint with the company you should request a letter from the company stating its final position on your complaint. You should also make a note of any persons at the company with whom you discussed the matter. Go to Step 3.

Step 3: Lodge a complaint with the Commission

The Commission has the authority to investigate complaints in respect of the securities industry and models its procedures on best practices in developed securities markets.
The procedure for lodging a complaint:

The Chairman
Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission
57-59 Dundonald Street 
Port of Spain

  • Write a summary of your problem while ensuring that all of the key elements relevant to your complaint are provided in as clear a manner as possible.
  • Provide copies of all supporting documents. If you are mailing in your complaint please attach a photocopy of all documents, including letters, contracts, invoices and any other papers related to your problem. Whilst we will need to see your original documents for verification we will keep the photocopies for the purposes of the investigation.
  • Investigations are usually non-public and kept confidential.

Note: The online or PDF versions of the Complaint Form can also be used to submit a “tip” for review by the staff of the Commission.

Step 4: The Commission will review your written complaint

  • The Commission will acknowledge your complaint. The letter will provide you with a reference number which you will need to quote when contacting our offices.
  • The Commission has the authority to investigate the complaint if the person has been aggrieved by any act of any individual or company falling under the Act.
  • Once the investigation is complete, the Commission may take a decision on the matter and may make such order as it thinks just in keeping with section 50(4) of the Act.

Tips for Making an Effective Complaint

The key to making an effective complaint is to clearly define the problem and what you see as the optimal outcome. Some complaints may be resolved quickly. More complex complaints may take longer. For best results follow the steps listed below:

Gather your facts:

Think about the problem and the result that you want. Write down the events that led to the grievance in the order that they occurred. Note the name of the firm, the accounts and securities involved, the name of the person you dealt with, key dates and the circumstances surrounding the issue.

Put together a file of any supporting documents. Include copies of application forms, statements, transaction confirmations, cancelled cheques, agreements, certificates and all relevant correspondence to and from the firm. Never mail the originals of any documents. You will be required, however, to bring the originals into our offices along with the photocopies to substantiate the documents.

Persons who live outside the jurisdiction of Trinidad and Tobago may follow the same process; however, they must also be prepared to come into the offices of the Commission to provide testimony and other oral evidence as required.

Document everything:

All steps taken to have the matter resolved with the individual or company under the Act should be documented by the person wishing to lodge a complaint with the Commission. This should include telephone conversations, e-mails and faxes. Keep a log of the times and dates of phone calls, whom you spoke with and what was discussed. Communicate in writing as much as possible and keep copies of all correspondence.

  • If the Commission considers that your matter falls within the jurisdiction of another government organization, regulator or agency, in the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago or elsewhere, the information would be sent to that other government organization, regulator or agency.
  • If you are concerned about transmitting confidential or sensitive information to the Commission over the internet, please print and mail this form to us.
  • The information you have provided will be treated in confidence and will not be disclosed except as required by law or as may be necessary to investigate your complaint.

For more information:



TTSEC conducts financial education sessions with the TTDF

The Trinidad and Tobago Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC) is fully aware that investors in 2013 have less disposable income, are more susceptible to risk, must be more prudent in their financial decision making and must become financial literate. It is against this backdrop that, the TTSEC partnered with the National Financial Literacy Programme of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago to conduct free investor/financial education sessions for various formations of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) during the month of June. Participants in these sessions, which numbered more than 600, included officers at all ranks from the Trinidad and Tobago Regiment, Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard, Trinidad and Tobago Air Guard and Trinidad and Tobago Reserves. These sessions were conducted at bases in both Trinidad and Tobago and aimed to demystify financial concepts and terms so that the officers can be equipped with the tools that they need in order to better understand and evaluate the risks and benefits of various financial products and to recognise, avoid and report illegal investment schemes.

According to the International Organization of Securities Commissions’ Principles of Securities Regulation, “regulators should play an active role in the education of investors and market participants.” The Commission adheres to the tenets of this principle and will continue employing existing and new strategies to educate and empower citizens to make wise financial choices. At one of the sessions, a female officer indicated that “in all my years in the TTDF, no one has ever come here to explain these terms to us and provide us with all this information.”

These outreach sessions are a key part of the Commission’s Investor Education Programme which uses print, electronic, digital and traditional methods to empower investors and potential investors and promote investor awareness.

This is the second interface that the Commission has had with the TTDF. In 2012, the Commission conducted eight (8) investor/financial education sessions for the various formations. Two additional sessions will be conducted with the TTDF bases at Galeota and Cedros during the week of July 15.


Types of Investment Instruments

Types of Investment Instruments

The financial world is full of jargon which those persons who routinely operate outside of it may need to have clarified. You will find below explanations for some of the instruments traded in the securities market.

Investment Instruments

  • Securities– an investment instrument that has financial value and can be traded. This instrument entitles the owner to specified types of financial benefits. The main classes of securities registered with the TTSEC include:
    • equity
    • stocks
    • debt instruments
    • mutual funds
  • Equity- an investment instrument through which a corporation raises capital/money by issuing shares which entitle holders to an ownership interest in a corporation. It also entitles the holder to a proportionate share in the corporation’s assets and profits
  • Stocks– are a share of the ownership of a company. Initially, they are sold by the original owners of a company to gain additional funds to help the company grow. The owners basically sell control of the company to the stockholders. After the initial sale, the shares can be sold and resold on the stock market.
  • Bonds– a debt investment in which an investor loans money to an entity (corporate or governmental). In this case the individual is considered the lender and the government or company is the borrower. The funds are borrowed for a defined period of time at an agreed interest rate. Bonds are used by companies, and governments to finance a variety of projects and activities. A bondholder is entitled to regular interest payments as due, as well as the return of principal when the bond matures
  • Mutual funds- an investment vehicle which pools money from investors and purchases various types of securities such as shares, bonds or money market securities based on stated investment objectives. Each investor owns shares, which represent a portion of the holdings of the fund. Also called a collective investment scheme (CIS) this fund provides almost absolute control of the investment to the company pooling and investing the money.

You can make money from a mutual fund in three ways:

  • Income is earned from dividends on stocks and interest on bonds. A fund pays out nearly all of the income it receives over the year to fund owners in the form of a distribution.
  • If the fund sells securities that have increased in price, the fund has a capital gain. Most funds also pass on these gains to investors in a distribution.
  • If fund holdings increase in price but are not sold by the fund manager, the fund’s shares increase in price. You can then sell your mutual fund shares for a profit.

Funds will also usually give you a choice either to receive a check for distributions or to reinvest the earnings and get more shares.