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AARP To Help Monitor Free Lunches

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Two national groups have teamed up to encourage seniors to report advisors who promote unsuitable investments at “free-lunch seminars.”

AARP, Washington, and the North American Securities Administrators Association, Washington, have announced a joint Free Lunch Seminar Monitor program.

The program will address “frauds and scams” disguised as investment advice for older citizens, AARP and NASAA say.

AARP says it has found that 4 out of 5 investors age 60 and up have received at least 1 invitation to a free investment seminar in the past 3 years, and that 3 out of 5 received 6 or more.

The senders of the invitations often promise to educate individuals about investing strategies or managing money in retirement, and the senders usually promise to provide a pricey meal at no cost, AARP and NASAA say.

“Instead of unbiased financial education and a meal, many free-meal seminar attendees are being fed a hard sales pitch for investment products that are often unsuitable,” says NASAA President Fred Joseph, the Colorado securities commissioner.

AARP and NASAA say their program will encourage seniors to report seminars led by advisors who try to sell dubious investments.

The groups are offering a checklist for seminar attendees. AARP will forward the checklist forms it receives to state securities regulators for evaluation, AARP says.


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