Salomon, Prudential, Merrill, SIA Put Brokers in Classrooms

Salomon Smith Barney, Prudential Securities, Merrill Lynch and an educational arm of the Securities Industry Association have expanded the educational programs they developed to help brokers reach young investors at local schools.On Feb. 25, about 45 Salomon Smith Barney financial consultants spent the afternoon in classrooms in 18 states as part of the firms new Take Your Parents to School Day initiative.

Salomon Smith Barney, Prudential Securities, Merrill Lynch and an educational arm of the Securities Industry Association have expanded the educational programs they developed to help brokers reach young investors at local schools.

On Feb. 25, about 45 Salomon Smith Barney financial consultants spent the afternoon in classrooms in 18 states as part of the firms new Take Your Parents to School Day initiative. SSB supplies participating schools with curriculum materials such as workbooks, course outlines, Ibbotson charts and SSBs Young Investor newsletter. Its enough information to organize three 40-minute lessons on financial literacy and fiscal responsibility, SSB officials say.

Curriculum topics include basic financial literacy, setting long- and short-term investment goals, financial terms, the difference between saving and investing, and how securities are bought and sold. Students are encouraged to bring their parents to school for the final presentation, which is led by an SSB financial consultant. (Teachers handle the first two sessions.)

This rewards me both personally and professionally, says Barry Skolak, one of the participating brokers and a financial consultant with SSBs Vernon Hills, Ill., office. Education and awareness are important parts of this business.

Other wirehouses also encourage brokers to connect with young investors. On Feb. 2, brokers from 55 branches of Prudential Securities participated in Junior Achievements Groundhog Job Shadow Day, a mentoring program for middle- and high-school students, according to the company. Prudential was one of the firms that sponsored the event, which attracted nearly 100,000 volunteer mentors from a wide variety of professions.

For the past six years, Merrill Lynch has designated April as National Saving Month, organizing classroom visits for its financial consultants. The firm offers students a host of educational materials including a free comic book called The Further Adventures of Savin Dave and the Compounders, a video on saving, and guidebooks for teachers and parents.

Merrill says it is expanding its efforts in 1999 by partnering with UNICEF, developing a special financial edition of BrainQuest (a childrens trivia game) carrying the Merrill Lynch trademark, and introducing a Young Entrepreneur Kit. It will also offer a packet of materials for kids with information on budgeting, credit management, investing and financial terminology.

Separately, the Securities Industry Foundation for Economic Education is also in the early stages of developing an outreach program called Broker in the Classroom, according to Assistant Director Vincent Young. Like SSBs initiative, it will provide guidelines, a curriculum and instructional materials when it is officially unveiled for schools this September. John Morton, president of the Arizona Council on Economic Education, is leading the project.

For more than 20 years, the foundation has also offered brokers the opportunity to make classroom presentations as part of The Stock Market Game, now accessible via the Internet at www.smg2000.org.-

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