Also, the 84-page minibonds prospectus is available on the TOC website, here. A brief browse into the contents of the prospectus reveals some interesting information. On page 17, under "Risk Factors," we see:
Risks relating to the nature of the Notes
Suitability of the Notes
The purchase of the Notes involves certain risks including market risk, credit risk and liquidity risk. Investors should ensure that they understand the nature of all these risks before making a decision to invest in the Notes. In addition, on the occurrence of a Credit Event (as defined herein) in respect of a Reference Entity, Noteholders could lose all or a substantial part of their investment in the Notes. This Base Prospectus and the Pricing Statement are not and do not purport to be investment advice. You should conduct such independent investigation and analysis regarding the Notes and the other assets on which the obligations of the Issuer under the Notes are secured as you deem appropriate. You should make an investment only after you have determined that such investment is suitable for your financial investment objectives. You should consider carefully whether the Notes are suitable for you in light of your experience, objectives, financial position and other relevant circumstances.
From the outset, the prospectus explicitly states several important points for that investors should do and take note of:
Noteholders could lose all or a substantial part of their investment in the Notes.
It also clearly states,
You should conduct such independent investigation and analysis regarding the Notes and the other assets
In one paragraph alone, the prospectus clearly instructs the investor in what are sound principles of investment analysis. Always do your own homework (independent investigation and analysis).
Ultimately, then, the investors who bought the minibonds cannot fault Lehman brothers with the argument that they depended on the RMs to advise them, as Lehman had clearly stated in the prospectus that the investors need to do their own independent analysis.
So the problem, then, are the RMs & brokers guilty of anything? The investors claim they were deceived and misplaced their trust in the advisors who sold them things they should not have been investing in.
That, my friends, is why regulation is needed - NOT because of some supposed higher cause of justice, but instead to prevent idiots from destroying their retirement accounts with their own stupidity, and also to prevent un-ethical misrepresentation of securities by financial 'advisors'
The government also can't really be faulted... because the RMs had a duty to inform the 'investors' that they had to do their own homework. This was not the government's responsibility.
Hence, the best way to protect yourself is to just automatically adopt the attitude that one must do his own homework. And if you find that you do not understand what you are analysing, just stay away. Abdicating the responsibility of investment analysis to someone else is a sure recipe for disaster. If the 'investors' (aka fools) had actually bothered to adopt this principle, they would not have been misled by the RMs.
Don't be a fool. Don't let ignorance destroy your retirement account. The best way to protect yourself from fraud is to do your own homework!!!