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New Bill Would Fund States' Efforts to Protect Older Investors

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What You Need to Know

  • The SEC would implement the grant program.
  • Bill provides $10 million in grants annually to state regulators to help investigate and prosecute senior financial fraud cases.
  • The bill is endorsed by AARP, Americans for Financial Reform, CFP Board and the Financial Services Institute.

Senators introduced Thursday the Empowering States to Protect Seniors from Bad Actors Act, bipartisan legislation to create a grant program, implemented by the Securities and Exchange Commission, that would work closely with state securities regulators to protect older investors.

The bill, introduced by Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., Tim Scott, R-S.C., Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., “will provide $10 million in grants annually to state regulators to support the investigation and prosecution of senior financial fraud cases, invest in technology and training, and conduct outreach to older Americans and increase their awareness of scams,” the senators said.

The bill was previously introduced in the House by Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and passed out of the Financial Services Committee by voice vote in November.

The senators cite a report from the Senate Special Committee on Aging, released during the last Congress, which found that older Americans lose approximately $3 billion each year to financial scams and abuse. “A separate survey from the Investor Protection Trust found that approximately seven million Americans have reported being victims of financial exploitation,” the senators said.

The bill is endorsed by AARP, Americans for Financial Reform, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc., Consumer Federation of America, CFA Institute, Financial Services Institute, Insured Retirement Institute, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, North American Securities Administrators Association, the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.