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The U.S. securities industry is endorsing bipartisan legislation to create a regulatory taskforce to tackle the exploitation of senior investors.

In a letter to Congressional lawmakers, industry trade group the U.S. Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) voiced its support for proposed legislation that would create a “senior investor taskforce” within the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to focus on senior investors’ issues.

The proposed taskforce would report to Congress every two years, and it would require the Government Accountability Office to study the economic costs of the exploitation of senior investors.

Noting that investors over age 50 already account for about 77% of financial assets in the U.S., SIFMA said that it’s estimated that “senior investors are being exploited out of billions of dollars a year.”

In addition to direct losses, the problem also imposes “wide-ranging non-financial impacts” and leads to increased reliance on government services.

“The lack of good, recent data on senior financial exploitation is a problem that this provision would significantly aid in resolving,” SIFMA said in its letter.

The group also said it “strongly supports any efforts that focus on the most immediate and most damaging dangers faced by senior investors and believes [the bill] will strengthen efforts to protect these investors from those bad actors closest to them.”

Separately, the umbrella group of state and provincial regulators, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), published its legislative agenda for the new session of Congress, calling on legislators to prioritize retail investor protection, maintain regulatory standards in public markets, and demand greater transparency from private markets.

“Congress has a responsibility to shine a spotlight on risks to investors and examine potential solutions to address these risks,” said Michael Canning, director of policy and government affairs at NASAA. “Similarly, Congress should insist that the SEC prioritize issues impacting retail investors.”

Melanie Lubin, NASAA’s president-elect and Maryland Securities Commissioner, said that lawmakers should support efforts to “promote responsible capital formation by small and emerging businesses that are consistent with investor protection principles.”