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If ANY free meal qualifies for SEC review, this one is among the most egregious. The two fliers announcing the event each mentioned only one of the two sponsoring companies (one flier was put out by Sunrise Senior Living with its logo and one was by Veterans Financial with its logo). Both fliers appeared to be innocent announcements by the Veterans Administration for the benefit of veterans who need monthly, federal, financial assistance to cover their assisted-living expenses. Both fliers' titles, in large bold letters, were "VETERANS". The Sunrise flier stated, "Join us and learn what benefits are available, who qualifies and how to apply." The presenterdid tell what benefits are available and who qualifies. But if anyone wanted to know how to apply, that person had to make an appointment with the presenter's company.The main feature of qualifying for monthly, assisted-living, Veteran's benefits seemed to be total assets. The presenter said that he could help convert assets into income for those who needed to reduce their assets to the VA's qualifying amount. At that point, I asked if his commission on an annuity would be in the 10-20% range. He refused to give his commission, only saying that any fees would be paid by the issuers and not by the veterans. He would not even say if his asset-to-income product was an annuity.If you have been to a Sunrise Senior Living community, you know that there are few if any clear thinking residents who can tell a con artist from a friend.So Sunrise and Veterans Financial sponsored an event in which the Reston (Virginia) Sunrise elderly residents were encouraged to listen to a nice, well dressed man selling an undisclosed "asset-to-income" product.Here are questions for the SEC:* Who paid for the Reston meal (hot pigs-in-a-blanket, candy, pastries, soft drinks, and coffee)? Sunrise or Veterans Financial?* Did Sunrise receive a fee for allowing Veterans Financial to make this presentation? Who paid the fee? If there were a fee, did Sunrise disclose the fee to any residents?* What undisclosed product (eg, an inappropriate long-term annuity with a stiff liquidation penalty) is Veterans Financial selling and what is Veterans Financial's typical commission?* Is Veterans Financial qualified to deal ethically with seniors? That is, does it hold any certifications promising ethical financial behavior towards its senior clients?* Is Sunrise Senior Living qualified to deal ethically with seniors? That is, does it hold any corporate certifications promising ethical financial behavior towards its senior clients? (I knew from my own family that when lawyers and stock brokers come calling, Sunrise does not demand that these salesmen sign a guest book and Sunrise provides no log of such visits to the residents' families, POAs, Representative Payees, Guardians, etc. At best, one of the Sunrise caregivers might say confidentially, "I noticed that your mother met with a lawyer yesterday," but, again, Sunrise will officially deny the meeting and prove their denial with a blank guest book. Try it yourself, SEC. Go visit someone in a Sunrise or other senior housing and see if you are allowed to visit the resident without signing the guest book with your name, purpose, date, and person visited.)SEC, if you are serious about senior financial abuse, START HERE!!!!
ClaudeinVirginia, you raise critical questions raised by this seminar approach. Your questions to the SEC, however, are more appropriately addressed to state regulators. The SEC deals with Equities - the exchange of registered securities. If the presenters were, indeed, offering to place attendees assets into fixed income annuities, there would be no regularity involvement of the SEC. Instead, the Virginia Commissioner of Insurance (by whatever title Virginia gives to that person) would be concerned with the suitability of the products being offered and with the marketing tactics used.
Keep up the excellent questions, however.