The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a rule from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority that would crack down on abusive sales of deferred variable annuities, particularly to senior citizens.

While the rule applies to all investors, the SEC is looking to protect older investors because investments like deferred variable annuities are often marketed to senior citizens at "free lunch" investment seminars offering them advice on securing their retirement. The SEC examined 110 securities firms and branch offices that offered the seminars and found most of them to be sales presentations, often featuring exaggerated or misleading claims. The SEC and the state of Hawaii have already charged one company, Senior Resources of Hawaii, and its owner with securities fraud.

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