In the ever-evolving 21st century sphere of US investor protections, one of the most constantly seen involves regulatory measures that help protect our growing demographic population of the elderly in America. In a March 21, 2014 letter between executives with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and AARP (formerly American Association of Retired Persons), AARP’s David Certner cited a 2012 study by the Investor Protection Trust which found that “one out of every five Americans over the age of 65 has been victimized by a financial scam.” Organizations dedicated to Americans over the age of 55, such as AARP, have in recent years begun to team up with financial institutions and regulatory agencies to create legislation and heighten awareness on how to prevent elder abuse in the investment industry, particularly in the forms of financial scams and trading fraud.
As states and municipal regions around the country seek new measures for elder abuse – including Florida, the state ranked #1 in fraud complaints in the country – larger regulatory bodies like FINRA are beginning to take greater steps in preparing new regulations and educational initiatives. FINRA’s current proposal to develop a Comprehensive Automated Risk Data System (CARDS) to “collect and analyze investor account-level data” has been hailed by AARP as a technological effort that will “improve the broker-dealer oversight process” and “help to prevent widespread financial fraud and abuse from victimizing older Americans.” In addition to the CARDS proposal, FINRA is also hosting a “Senior Investor Issues” panel discussion at its Annual Conference taking place in Washington, D.C. from May 19-21, 2014, with the specific goal to “discuss identifying and responding to signs that clients may be experiencing diminished capacity [on their investments or elder abuse.” These efforts and others in the US financial market will serve to increase the education and regulatory enforcement necessary to protect elderly investors from abusive brokers and other “bad actors” in the financial world.
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