WASHINGTON, D.C. June 27, 2008—State securities regulators today voiced strong support for the Senior Investor Protections Enhancement Act of 2008 introduced by U.S. Senators Robert P. Casey (D-PA) and Herbert H. Kohl (D-WI) to strengthen penalties for securities law violations involving senior victims.

“State securities regulators believe that every investor deserves protection, none more so than the growing numbers of seniors who are depending on every dollar of their savings for a financially secure retirement,” said Karen Tyler, North Dakota Securities Commissioner and President of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), the oldest international organization devoted to investor protection. Its membership consists of the securities administrators in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the provinces and territories of Canada, and Mexico.

“NASAA believes the Casey/Kohl legislation will assist law enforcement and regulators to ensure that those who take advantage of our nation’s elderly will be held accountable,” Tyler said. “Fraudulent investment sales to seniors will remain a problem of epidemic proportions as long as the benefits to the perpetrators outweigh the costs.”

Tyler said enhanced penalties for senior abuse should help to raise those costs, deter law violations, and punish appropriately those who exploit senior investors. “The predators who intentionally seek to deprive retirees of the savings they have worked their lifetime to accumulate should be subject to enhanced penalties. NASAA appreciates the leadership of Senator Casey and Senator Kohl, Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, on this issue and strongly supports the Senior Investor Protections Enhancement Act of 2008,” Tyler said.

State securities regulators have served a leading role in the fight against senior investment fraud since first focusing national attention on the issue in 2003. Because investment fraud targeting seniors is an ongoing concern, NASAA made enhanced penalties for violations against seniors a part of its pro-investor legislative agenda for the 110th Congress, Tyler said.

According to a recent NASAA survey, 28 percent of all investor complaints submitted to state securities agencies came from seniors, 26 percent of all state enforcement actions involved the financial exploitation of seniors, and 34 percent of all cases of senior exploitation involved variable or equity index annuities.

For more information:
Bob Webster, Director of Communications