Friday, February 8, 2008
In a joint press release, the SEC, NASAA and FINRA announced a new initiative on behalf of senior investors. The goal of the initiative is to identify effective practices used by financial services firms in dealing with senior investors, and to provide information about these practices publicly. According to the press release:
As regulators have increasingly focused on protecting older investors, many investment advisers and broker-dealer firms are evaluating their current practices in serving seniors. SEC staff, NASAA, and FINRA will solicit input from all interested parties in order to identify strong supervisory, compliance and other practices used by financial services firms serving seniors in the following areas: marketing and advertising to seniors; account opening; product and account review; ongoing review of the relationship and appropriateness of products; discerning and meeting the changing needs of customers as they age; surveillance and compliance reviews; and training for firm employees. The findings will be published so all firms can improve their service to older investors.
It is not expected that there will be a “one-size-fits all” approach to effective practices in these areas, and there may be many different practices that are effective. The goal of the initiative is not to impose new regulatory requirements, but to help firms better meet their current obligations to, as well as more generally to serve, their senior customers.