A large percentage of the population has reached the “golden years.” However, instead of enjoying their retirement, many have been forced back into the workplace due to dwindling investments. It is estimated that total retirement assets have decreased by approximately 25 percent in the past two years, leaving much of the older population without the money needed to pay their living expenses.
As a result, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) have made concerted efforts to protect senior investors. In 2008, securities regulators released a public report entitled Protecting Senior Investors: Compliance, Supervisory and Other Practices Used by Financial Services Firms in Serving Senior Investors. The report was designed to educate senior investors, as well as assist investment firms in their compliance and other practices. Recently, this report was updated.
Some of the major areas addressed in the addendum include the following:
- Communicating effectively with senior investors
- Training and educating firm employees on senior-specific issues
- Establishing an internal process for escalating issues and taking next steps
- Obtaining information at account opening
- Ensuring appropriateness of investments
- Conducting senior-focused supervision, surveillance and compliance reviews
According to the authors of the report, their hope is that “financial services firms will identify and implement additional practices to help ensure that the financial services industry continues to be mindful of the particular needs of senior investors.”