NASAA, SEC and FINRA Issue Senior Safe Act Fact Sheet to Help Promote Greater Reporting of Suspected Senior Financial Exploitation
Washington D.C., May 23, 2019 – In recognition of the one-year anniversary of the passage of The Senior Safe Act, the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have issued a fact sheet to help raise awareness among broker-dealers, investment advisers, and transfer agents of the Act and how the Act’s immunity provisions work.
The Senior Safe Act Fact Sheet provides information on the immunity and training provisions of the Act, as well as additional resources from NASAA, the SEC and FINRA.
The Senior Safe Act was included as Section 303 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law on May 24, 2018. The Act addresses barriers financial professionals face in reporting suspected senior financial exploitation or abuse to authorities. Specifically, the Act protects “covered financial institutions” – which include investment advisers, broker-dealers, and transfer agents – and their eligible employees, affiliated persons, and associated persons (“eligible employees”), from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding for reporting a case of potential exploitation of a senior citizen to a covered agency. As an example, this immunity can be helpful when a firm wants to report potential exploitation but fears that the report could violate a privacy requirement.
The immunity established by the Act is provided on the condition that employees receive training on how to identify and report exploitative activity against seniors before making a report. In addition, reports of suspected exploitation must be made “in good faith” and “with reasonable care.” This immunity applies to individuals and firms.
“In reminding broker-dealers and investment advisers of the Senior Safe Act’s important immunity provisions, we hope to encourage firms to train their employees on how to detect and report suspected senior financial exploitation. Early detection and reporting are critical to help prevent elder financial abuse and the devastating financial and emotional impacts that ensue,” said Michael S. Pieciak, NASAA President and Vermont Commissioner of Financial Regulation.
“Financial professionals can provide a critical frontline role in identifying and reporting senior financial exploitation,” said Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton. “The SEC strongly encourages broker-dealers and investment advisers to train their personnel in accordance with the Senior Safe Act. We also encourage all investors, including our most vulnerable, to ensure they are dealing with a registered investment professional.”
“Protecting senior investors has long been a top priority for FINRA,” said FINRA President and CEO Robert Cook. “The Senior Safe Act seeks to empower financial professionals to detect and report cases of suspected abuse of senior investors and we believe it is important to broaden awareness and understanding of the Act throughout the securities industry.”
The Senior Safe Act Fact Sheet is available on NASAA’s website, www.nasaa.org; NASAA’s Serve Our Seniors website, http://serveourseniors.org; as well as on the SEC’s website https://www.investor.gov/seniors and FINRA’s website https://www.finra.org/industry/senior-investors.
About NASAA: Formed in 1919, NASAA is the non-profit association of state, provincial, and territorial securities regulators in the United States, Canada and Mexico. NASAA has 67 members, including the securities regulators in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NASAA’s U.S. members are responsible for administering state securities laws, commonly known as “Blue Sky Laws.” For more information, visit: www.nasaa.org.
About the SEC: The mission of the SEC is to protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation. The SEC strives to promote a market environment that is worthy of the public's trust.
About FINRA: FINRA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry – brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. For more information, visit www.finra.org.