SEC Announces Summit to Help Senior Investors Protect Assets
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C., Sept. 2, 2008 — Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox today announced that helping older investors make difficult decisions about their finances and learn new ways to protect their assets as they age will be the primary focus of the SEC's third annual Seniors Summit to be held at the agency's Washington, D.C., headquarters on September 22.
How to Attend the Seniors Summit
Chairman Cox, who launched the SEC Seniors Summits in 2006, said the event will not only help educate senior citizen investors and their families, but also the investment advisers or brokers who serve them. An afternoon session tailored to financial services professionals will unveil new practices that firms use when advising senior investors, including those with diminishing capacity. The morning session, geared toward senior attendees, will present tips and advice to help senior investors ensure their money is protected and used as desired after they retire or in the event of illness or incapacity.
Chairman Cox noted that the vast majority of the nation's savings is in the hands of America's seniors, and their share is expected to grow significantly as the baby boomers increasingly reap retirement benefits. That makes them prime targets for scam artists and securities swindlers.
"With Americans living far longer than ever before and baby boomer retirees representing the largest demographic wave in our nation's history, it is vitally important that seniors have the information they need to be prepared for the road hazards along the retirement highway," said Chairman Cox. "Studies suggest one reason that many seniors are vulnerable to devastating frauds and scams is that declining mental faculties can negatively impact personal financial management skills. This raises difficult questions about when an investor can no longer make his or her own financial decisions, and requires sensitivity about how best to respect and protect seniors at the same time. Our Seniors Summit will tackle these difficult issues as we continue working to help our nation's senior investors preserve the assets it took them a lifetime to save, and to ensure that seniors are treated fairly and appropriately by brokers, investment advisers, and others in the securities industry."
Kristi Kaepplein, Director of the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy, added, "There are too many sad stories about unfortunate events that reduce older investors' financial security. This year's Seniors Summit takes up the difficult topic of diminishing capacity and its financial consequences, and provides an opportunity for older investors to learn about ways to protect their assets in their later years. In addition, the afternoon session will provide important and timely information for securities firms and securities professionals who serve senior investors."
In addition to its investor education initiatives to help senior citizens, the SEC has brought more than 50 enforcement actions in the past two years against wrongdoers defrauding retirees and other older investors. The agency's nationwide examination and inspection program also conducts targeted examinations to detect fraud and other violations of securities laws that harm senior investors.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and AARP are participating partners in the SEC's Seniors Summit.
The morning session of the Seniors Summit will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET, and the afternoon session will begin at 1:15 p.m. ET. Senior investors, financial professionals, and other members of the public are invited to attend. Registration information and other materials about this free event are available at www.sec.gov/investor/seniors.shtml or by calling (800) 732-0330.
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