You can. Last month, Investment Professionals Inc. (IPI) was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine for allegedly selling investments to senior citizens. The broker-dealer is based in San Antonio, Texas. The Massachusetts Securities Division and its Secretary of the Commonwealth, William F. Galvin, ordered IPI to pay the fine and offer restitution to the affected clients. The seniors were allegedly sold unsuitable investment products on the premises of local financial institutions. Last year, the firm was also charged with using high-pressure sales tactics and contests and selling unsuitable products to seniors who were depositors at community banks. Galvin stated: “this case highlights the dangers of aggressive sales culture that leaves older customers exposed to pressure to buy unsuitable investments. This is especially true when the broker-dealer is operating out of a community bank.” Please call our securities law firm today if you or someone you know suffered losses with IPI. The firm may be liable for losses.
On Tuesday, the House passed a bill for legislation that aims to help financial professionals reduce elder fraud by providing them safe harbor if the fraud is reported to state or Federal regulatory and law enforcement entities. The House passed the vote by voice on Tuesday. The bill specifically provides that banks, credit unions, investment advisers, broker-dealers and insurance companies and certain supervisory, compliance and legal employees would be protected from civil or administrative liability as long as these employees received training in how to spot and report predatory activity and disclose any possible exploitation of senior citizens to state or Federal regulatory law enforcement. The bill was introduced last year by Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri). They are the chairman and ranking minority member, respectively, of the Senate Special Committee on Aging. It is based on legislation enacted in Maine. The bill has the support of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisers (NAIFA), the Insured Retirement Institute (IRI), SIFMA and the North American Securities Administrator Association (NASAA). A 2011 study by MetLife found that seniors lose an estimated $2.9 billion each year to financial fraud.