You don’t need to be an expert in demographics to recognize that the aging of North America is upon us.
According to the most recent U.S. Census report, the senior population (those over 65) represents the fastest growth rate of any age group. The second fastest age group? That would be the rest of the Baby Boomers, those between 50 and 64 years old.
In the wake of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, state and provincial securities regulators are paying special attention to the changing needs of aging investors throughout North America. Whether faced with issues related to diminished capacity or outright fraud, seniors are increasingly becoming potential victims of the crime of the 21st Century: senior financial exploitation.
As regulators we see first-hand how the damaging results of this exploitation: the loss of a life’s savings, decreased independence, and shattered trust.
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Senior financial exploitation is an often unrecognized and underreported form of elder abuse and is growing due both to the amount of wealth seniors have accumulated throughout their careers and the steadily rising number of retirees. Elders remain a top target of investment fraud with one-third of enforcement actions taken by NASAA members involving senior investors.
That’s one reason why NASAA and its members launched a collaborative effort in 2003 to shine a light on this emerging problem and why we renewed that effort last summer with the creation of a Board-level Committee on Senior Issues and Diminished Capacity.
Led by Chair Lynne Egan, Montana’s Deputy Securities Commissioner, and Vice-Chair Patricia Struck, Wisconsin’s Securities Administrator, the committee’s work is informed by input from an Advisory Council of industry, academic and policy experts.