Senior citizens need to be particularly careful when choosing who to trust to manage their retirement accounts and other financial assets. Even with many seniors choosing not to report mismanagement and scams, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that elderly individuals lost as much as $2.9 billion to financial exploitation in 2010.
As an investor, you are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and your broker is expected to put your best interests first. But, as you accumulate assets and become more reliant upon the people around you, the sad reality is that you also become a target for unscrupulous advisors who are looking to take advantage of your situation for their own financial gain. The risks are not limited to low-level scam artists, either — big institutions like RBC Capital Markets and Wells Fargo Investments have seen their brokers get into trouble for improprieties in managing elderly investors’ accounts.
Ways to Protect Yourself from Securities Fraud
As a casual investor who is not an expert in the stock market, you are entitled to rely upon the advice and expertise of your broker or plan manager. Just like you place trust in your doctor or lawyer, you place trust in your financial advisors as well. Laws and regulations make it incumbent upon these professionals to use their training and knowledge to protect you as best they know how.
However, not being an expert in capital markets or financial products, it can often be difficult to know when a broker’s conduct crosses the line. For most elderly individuals, it is just too hard to tell the difference between sound advice gone wrong and actionable fraud.
In general, you should not suffer sudden and significant losses if your broker is managing your funds appropriately. A catastrophic loss usually indicates your broker is not doing his or her job. Of course, it is best to identify and address issues before it gets to this point.
You should never feel ashamed or like you are doing something “wrong” by second-guessing your broker. It is your money, after all, and speaking with an experienced securities fraud lawyer can either allow you to take action before things get worse, or simply put your mind at ease.
The following are common indicators of elder securities fraud:
• A broker is making trades without your authorization
• A broker is using hard-sell tactics and language you do not understand
• You are not receiving account statements, or your account statements do not make sense
• A broker claims to be a “senior specialist” but lacks specific training or experience in managing elderly investors’ accounts
Elder financial abuse is a serious issue and the law provides protections and remedies for fraudulent exploitation. If you are feeling uncomfortable about your investments, we encourage you to contact an attorney right away.
Zamansky LLC | Experienced Securities Fraud Lawyers
The attorneys at Zamansky LLC have helped elderly investors across the country obtain restitution and compensation for stock market fraud. To learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today.