Massachusetts securities regulator William Galvin said Wednesday that he is conducting an exam sweep of broker-dealers registered in the state regarding the number of complaints they get from older investors and the steps they’ve taken to resolve those complaints.
The sweep is being conducted via a survey, which the Massachusetts Securities Division sent to 162 BDs that have a principal place of business in the state.
The survey zeroes in on sales practices to seniors, and seeks to determine whether senior financial abuse is on the rise and whether firms have implemented policies and procedures specifically targeted to senior issues.
BDs must return the survey by Aug. 29.
“The Securities Division has brought actions against individuals and firms in connection with senior financial abuse, and will continue to be vigilant in this regard, but it’s imperative that we know the extent of complaints in this area that are dealt with and never rise to the level of a Division complaint,” Galvin said in a statement. “This information is critical at a time when not only is our population aging, but more seniors must rely on investments in their retirement.”
In January, Galvin charged a New York broker-dealer and two of its agents with “churning” the market account of an elderly business owner in the state and concealing the amount he was being charged for the excessive trading. The 81-year-old client suffered losses of $1.6 million.