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.
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.
In many cases, seniors don’t realize their investment portfolios no longer reflect the risk-tolerances and investment objectives they indicated in their broker-dealer account opening documents. On your account statements, your investor profile may not change. It may still be labeled “Conservative” or “Moderate-risk” while the actual investments or overall allocation of investments you hold are anything but conservative or moderate.
The law prohibits the use of senior-specialization designations by any person who lacks certification from an accrediting organization. This law makes clear that using a phony senior-specific designation that falsely implies some financial expertise in the investment needs of our elderly investors is against the law.