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AARP Survey Finds Older Investors Favor Best Price Over Speed in Market Transactions

By more than two to one, older investors surveyed by AARP say that the "best available price" should be the "top priority" when engaging in a market transaction.

The new national AARP survey findings come as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) considers rule changes that would enable markets listed as "fast" to ignore better prices listed by markets labeled as "slow". Some have proposed revising the system in a way that could speed up transactions but increase costs to investors.

The online survey of investors 50 and older was conducted for AARP by Knowledge Networks, a California research firm. A total of 1,917 households participated in the survey between February 13 and 20.

When asked whether price should be the top priority when conducting transactions or whether it is more important to balance the need for price with speed and other issues, 66 percent indicated that price should be the top priority. Thirty-one percent chose the importance of balancing price with speed and other issues. Three percent declined to answer the questions.

On other key issues to shareholders, nearly three-fourths of those surveyed (74 percent) said that they prefer to have others manage their investments for them, although they said that they wanted to be involved in major investment decisions.

"Price is obviously of great importance to investors," said AARP Associate Executive Director Chris Hansen in discussing the survey results today. "Therefore, the SEC needs to proceed carefully in proposing changes that could undermine the ability of individual investors to get the best price at the lowest transaction cost.

Close to eight in ten (78%) feel that the regulation of the securities industry should be stronger than it is today. Older investors made it clear that they believe "big problems" beset the securities industry.

A majority said that these are "big problems":

  • Dishonesty, 62 percent;
  • Lack of accountability, 62 percent;
  • Lack of consumer protection and means of recourse for harmed investors, 60 percent;
  • Insider trading, 57 percent;

Lack of internal controls and checks, 52 percent.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to making life better for people 50 and over. We provide information and resources; engage in legislative, regulatory and legal advocacy; assist members in serving their communities; and offer a wide range of unique benefits, special products, and services for our members. These include AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our quarterly publication for Hispanic members; NRTA Live and Learn for National Retired Teachers Association members; and our Web site, We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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