The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would establish an SEC "Senior Investor Taskforce." The taskforce would be (i) headed by an SEC Chair-appointed individual with "experience in advocating for the interests of seniors" and (ii) staffed by individuals from the Division of Enforcement, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (renamed the Division of Examinations) and the Office of Investor Education and Advocacy.

The purpose of the taskforce would be, among other things, to:

  • identify the issues faced by senior investors (i.e., issues stemming from financial exploitation and cognitive decline);
  • determine the areas in which seniors would benefit from additional regulations;
  • collaborate, as appropriate, with other SEC offices, agency task forces or the Elder Justice Coordinating Council; and
  • confer with State securities and law enforcement authorities, insurance regulators and federal agencies, as appropriate.

The taskforce would also be required to produce a report every two years to the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, Senate Special Committee on Aging and the House Financial Services Committee that included:

  • adequate statistical information and complete and considerable analysis;
  • a summary of current trends and innovations impacting senior investors' investment landscape;
  • a summary of regulatory actions focused on senior investors or related industry practices;
  • observations from examinations, enforcement actions and investor education outreach identifying best practices and improvement areas involving senior investors;
  • analyses of current broker-dealer, investment adviser and other market participant policies and procedures concerning senior investors; and
  • recommended regulatory changes or guidance aimed at resolving the issues faced by senior investors.

The bill would also direct the GAO to submit a study to Congress within two years following enactment that provides information regarding (i) the economic cost associated with the financial exploitation of seniors, (ii) how frequently senior financial exploitation takes place, and contributing or related factors, and (iii) regulatory actions and reporting in response to senior financial exploitation.

SIFMA praised the passage of the bill, expressing support for the directive to the GAO to study the economic impact of the financial exploitation of seniors.

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