With senior investors becoming an increasing concern for securities regulators in both Canada and the U.S., state and provincial regulators are launching a new committee to focus on seniors’ issues.

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) said Tuesday it has formed a new board-level committee to deal with the assortment of challenges facing senior investors, regulators, and the industry. The new Committee on Senior Issues and Diminished Capacity is being chaired by Montana deputy securities commissioner, Lynne Egan, and includes representatives from various regulators, including Deborah Gillis, counsel at the New Brunswick Financial and Consumer Services Commission, securities division.

“We are exploring this vital area from a variety of disciplines given the scope of the issues involved,” Egan said. “The committee will examine concerns raised by broker-dealer and investment adviser firms, as well as senior advocacy groups and will recommend appropriate regulatory and industry responses to ensure proper compliance and supervisory procedures are in place to prevent the financial exploitation of seniors.”

NASAA notes that in recent years at least a third of its members’ enforcement actions involve senior investors. “Protecting senior investors from financial exploitation long has been a primary focus of state and provincial securities regulators,” said Andrea Seidt, NASAA’s president and Ohio Securities Commissioner. “Regrettably, senior investor fraud and abuse is an ever-growing problem due to the amount of wealth seniors have accumulated throughout their careers and the steadily rising numbers of retirees.”

Seidt said NASAA will appoint an advisory council of experts from government, business, senior advocacy organizations, academia and medical and legal practitioners, to inform the committee’s work.