As a vast sector of the US population reaches old age and the systems in place to supervise its care remain inadequate, instances of elder abuse will continue to rise. This includes not only the physical and emotional abuse of the elderly in nursing homes and care facility, but also financial exploitation and abuse at the hands of family, friends, caregivers, and financial advisors.
Elder abuse is everywhere, though; not just on the news. One of the reasons for the growing problem is that the largest and wealthiest generation in American history — the Baby Boomers — have retired and are aging. Meanwhile, their children and grandchildren may be struggling. This is a recipe for disaster and exploitation that regulators and legislators have been working diligently to solve before it gets any worse.
In an upcoming program directed at the general public, the SEC Philly office, in conjunction with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, and Temple University’s Institute on Protective Services, will share the latest on the products, strategies, and scams that most affect elderly investors.
As baby boomers hit retirements, bringing with them the largest amount of wealth a single generation has ever possessed, regulators at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) foresee an ever growing number of financial scams designed to separate boomers from their hard-earned savings.
In the many dozens of securities litigation cases we have worked on for investors, we have noticed that, when it comes to protecting yourself against broker misconduct and financial fraud, there several "golden rules" which, if regularly observed, would prevent the vast majority of abuses in the securities industry.
Philadelphia is getting serious about its elder financial abuse problem. As we noted in a recent blog post, the Philadelphia Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it would be hosting public awareness talks and meetings to combat the growing problem of elder financial abuse. That announcement was followed by the District Attorney for Philadelphia Larry Krasner's statement that he would be creating a special task unit targeting perpetrators of financial fraud against senior citizens.
Every year, new and more elaborate schemes appear to bilk older investors out of their life-savings. Fortunately, FINRA has committed itself to several early detection measures aimed at stemming the tide of elder financial abuse. The new measures also encourage broker-dealers to further supervise their own employees when it comes to suspicions of broker misconduct.
Widely considered one of the most pressing problems of our times, elder abuse and particularly elderly financial abuse have received national attention, thanks to initiatives by the Department of Health, the Department of Labor, and the Obama Administration. These agencies have focused on the loss of billions of dollars per year in retirement savings among not just millionaires but ordinary hard-working and retired Americans.
As an important recent report by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation indicates, nearly two-thirds of financial fraud victims experience severe emotional trauma and hardship.