The Securities and Exchange Commission will hold its second annual Seniors Summit on Sept. 10 at the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters. The event will further examine how regulators, community organizations, and others can increasingly coordinate efforts to protect older Americans from abusive sales practices and investment fraud.
AARP, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) will be other leading participants at the Seniors Summit.
"Protecting senior investors is one of the most important issues of our time," SEC Chairman Christopher Cox said in May during a symposium on senior investors in Chicago.
Cox said the SEC is attacking the problem of senior fraud from all angles with aggressive enforcement efforts, targeted rules and examinations, and investor education focused not only on seniors but their caregivers and pre-retirement workers as well. He noted that the agency has brought more than 25 enforcement actions during the past year aimed specifically at protecting elderly investors. Many of these were coordinated with state authorities.
The SEC's examination staff has conducted targeted sweeps in areas it suspects possible misconduct; last year it joined with state securities regulators in Florida, California, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama, as well as with the NASD and NYSE, in a sweep of firms that sponsor "free lunch" sales seminars. The SEC found that materials provided to seniors are sometimes misleading or exaggerated, and that firms aren't always complying with the suitability requirements that the securities laws impose on brokers.
Cox said that in some cases the SEC has seen senior customers with conservative investment objectives and risk tolerances being advised to invest a significant chunk of their assets in illiquid securities that involve a high degree of risk.
The SEC has teamed up with other organizations to sponsor more than 40 events to educate senior investors. It also added information for senior investors on its website.
The summit's agenda, panelists, and registration instructions will be announced at a later date.