SEC’s Third Seniors Summit, held on September 22, 2008 focused on how declining mental faculties of seniors can negatively impact their financial management skills. The Summit had two sessions: one to help educate senior investors and their families and the other to inform financial services professionals as to new practices that firms use when advising senior investors.
Chairman Christopher Cox opened the Summit by announcing that the SEC had brought more than 50 major cases over the past two years that involved securities fraud on senior citizens. He explained that “[o]ur recent cases have ranged from Ponzi schemes and offering frauds, to schemes specifically targeting senior investors through free lunch programs and sales pitches disguised as seminars.”
Chairman Cox seems to have a personal stake in the subject. He said that “[b]efore my mother died [of throat cancer] a few years ago, she was pestered by a seemingly endless barrage of unsuitable investment schemes and foolish mortgage offers.”
Patricia Struck, Administrator, Division of Securities, Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, spoke about the “complexity and risks” of index annuities and supported the SEC’s proposed Rule 151A that would require SEC registration. Although the program did not so identify Ms. Struck, she seemed to speak for NASAA.
Susan Voss, Iowa Securities and Insurance Commissioner, respectfully disagreed with Ms. Struck. Ms. Voss insisted that index annuities were insurance products and emphasized that index annuities were subject to current and proposed regulation. The program identified Ms. Voss as the Iowa insurance commissioner, but she stressed that she also acts as the state securities commissioner. She argued that she was well aware of the position of other securities commissioners regarding index annuities and “respectively disagreed.”