Because of our aging population, the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) fully expects financial exploitation of elderly investors to become increasingly common over the next few decades.
That is why, this time last year, the SEC created an entirely new supervisory position intended specifically to protect elderly investors. On February 24, 2014, SEC Chair Mary Jo White swore in the Commission’s first ever “Investor Advocate,” Mr. Rick A. Fleming.
SEC Initiative to Help Elderly Investors
Approaching the first anniversary of his tenure as SEC Investor Advocate, Mr. Fleming addressed an audience as part of the American Retirement Initiative in Washington DC. In his address (the full text of which you can view by clicking here), Mr. Fleming reaffirmed his office’s commitment to ensuring that the Commission, FINRA, Congress, and any other financial rule-making body remain aware of the special vulnerabilities facing elderly investors in today’s complex financial markets. Mr. Fleming also promised to advocate for the creation of new regulations to protect older and retired investors.
According to his address, the US Department of Health and Human Services has indicated that “10,000 Baby Boomers will celebrate their 65th birthday every day from now until 2030.” And by the year 2050, one in five Americans will be aged 65 or older.
Financial Advisors and Elder Financial Abuse
Mr. Fleming singled out financial advisors and investment managers as among the most important people involved in any attempt to defend the elderly against financial predation. They are on the front lines of this battle. He further urged financial professionals to be on the lookout for signs of “diminished capacity” among their clients, as well signs that their clients were being abused or exploited by opportunistic criminals, fraudsters, even family members.
Unfortunately, in our experience as securities attorneys who also advocate for elderly investors, all too often we find that financial advisors and investment managers themselves are the guilty or offending party. To review FINRA’s monthly and quarterly disciplinary action report is to witness numerous instances of stockbroker misconduct and negligence directed at older investors. Typically, these transgressions are not so much malicious as careless. Most commonly, financial advisors will create or recommend a portfolio that is simply too risky for their client’s investor profile and preferences.
If you or anyone you know has been the victim of investment fraud or broker misconduct, please contact our securities attorneys immediately for a free consultation at 1-855-462-3330 or via email by clicking here.