On April 30, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H. R. 328, Supporting the Protection of Elders Through Financial Literacy and H.R. 1876, the Senior Security Act of 2019.

H.R. 328 supports efforts to combat senior financial exploitation through financial literacy. The resolution (1) supports the goals of "Financial Literacy Month" to raise public awareness about the importance of personal financial education in the United States and the serious consequences that may result from a lack of understanding about personal finances; (2) acknowledges that raising awareness of threats to personal finances, especially for targeted populations like older adults and their relatives and caregivers, is only one part of financial literacy; and (3) understands that to combat elder financial exploitation, it is also necessary to encourage continued collaboration among law enforcement, financial institutions, regulatory agencies, and private sector organizations allowing detection, prevention, reporting, and investigation of these crimes.

H.R. 1876 aims to strengthen efforts to protect elderly investors from financial exploitation. H.R. 1876 creates a new SEC taskforce charged with identifying problems senior investors encounter, including financial exploitation and cognitive decline, and identifying regulatory changes that could help protect senior investors. Pursuant to H.R. 1876, the new SEC taskforce would report to Congress every two years on key observations, best practices, and areas for improvement identified throughout its work. Moreover, within one year of its enactment, the U.S. Government Accountability Office would be required to study and report on the economic costs of the financial exploitation of senior citizens.

Keeping with the trend of combating senior financial exploitation, on May 8, 2019, the SEC published a paper entitled, "How the SEC Works to Protect Senior Investors." The paper reviews the SEC's education, examination, and enforcement efforts; discusses the SEC's regulatory policy initiatives related to the protection of senior investors; and describes the challenges facing the SEC in its work to protect senior investors.

Both bills will now move to the Senate. As of May 2019, H.R. 1876 was received by the Senate, read twice and referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Originally published in REVERSEInquiries Volume 2, Issue 5.

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