Rising Numbers of Seniors Tests Industry and Investors

The aging of Texas – persons 65 and older are the fastest-growing segment of the state’s population – is challenging investors, the investment industry, and policymakers.

Senior citizens are more susceptible to fraud as they age due to the increasing chances of cognitive impairment, posing a danger to their financial well-being and making it imperative they can depend on trusted family members,  caregivers, and legal and financial professionals.

Industry professionals are grappling with compliance and legal challenges in responding to the needs of older investors.

Policymakers have several avenues for legislation action in the upcoming legislative sessions.

The State Securities Board presents these resources to assist the financial industry, policymakers, and investors and their families in preventing fraud.

Resources for Industry

The North American Securities Administrators Association Guide for Developing Practices and Procedures for Protecting Vulnerable Adults is part of NASAA's Serve our Seniors initiative.

Having up-to-date policies and practices in place that address potential cases of diminished capacity and financial exploitation will better equip financial services professionals to: 1) recognize diminished capacity and financial exploitation; 2) understand when and how to escalate reporting of such issues within a firm; and 3) direct reports to governmental agencies that can conduct additional investigations and provide needed services.

The Guide is structured around five key concepts: identifying vulnerable individuals; governmental reporting; third-party reporting; delaying disbursements from client accounts; and continuing regulatory cooperation following reports or disbursement delays.

For Investors

FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors: 844-574-3577 

Seniors can call the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority for assistance with investment-related questions or to raise concerns with brokerage accounts and investments.

Senior Self-Defense: Older Investors and Their Families Preventing Fraud

Two basic strategies can help seniors and their families lessen the chances of becoming a victim of investment fraud. One is to Practice Self Defense by following five simple steps. A second strategy involves questions and checklists that families, friends, and caregivers can use to help protect senior investors. Taken together, they can help investors avoid the devastating effects of financial fraud.

Scams & Unsuitable Investments

Know the common scams and unsuitable investments that are often pitched to older investors.

Misleading Financial Professional Designations

A financial professional may use various titles whether or not he or she is registered or licensed with a regulatory. There are more than 50 designations that imply expertise in senior financial issues. Some are legitmate, some are not. A little research can go a long way in keeping investors away from individuals sporting questionable designations.

For Policymakers

The Aging of Texas

State demographic trends and areas of the state that are experiencing the fastest-growing senior populations.

Securities Commissioner Testimony, House Committee on Investments and Financial Services

Testimony on the Investments and Financial Services Committee's 2015 interim charge, "Evaluate what policies are currently in place to prevent the financial exploitation and financial abuse of aging Texans, and determine what changes need to be made to strengthen protections for this vulnerable population.