FINRA, SEC and NASAA Offer Free Resource to Securities Firms to Assist in Detection, Prevention and Reporting of Financial Exploitation of Seniors
Regulators Providing Free Training in Recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day; Program Aims to Assist Firms in Implementing Requirements of Senior Safe Act
WASHINGTON—In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) today announced a new resource intended to assist securities firms in implementing the training requirements of the Senior Safe Act.
The training program, “Addressing and Reporting Financial Exploitation of Senior and Vulnerable Adult Investors,” can be used by firms to train associated persons on how to detect, prevent, and report financial exploitation of senior and vulnerable adult investors. The presentation serves as a resource for firms implementing the requirements of the Senior Safe Act and certain state training requirements relating to senior investment protection.
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 from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding for reporting a case of potential exploitation of a senior citizen to a covered agency.
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 both individuals and firms.
“FINRA has a longstanding commitment to protecting senior investors through various regulatory programs and initiatives,” said Robert W. Cook, FINRA President and CEO. “FINRA is pleased to collaborate with NASAA and the SEC to provide this free resource to firms as we collectively work to support implementation of the Senior Safe Act and better protect senior and vulnerable adult investors.”
“By partnering with FINRA and NASAA to offer this training program, we can help educate financial professionals on how to identify and report financial abuse of older adults,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler. “The SEC also strongly encourages all investors to utilize the education resources on sec.gov to ensure they are working with a registered investment professional.”
“We are pleased to work collaboratively with our counterparts at the SEC and FINRA to provide this important training resource in the hope that it will promote greater and earlier detection and reporting of suspected financial exploitation of older Americans,” said Lisa A. Hopkins, NASAA President and Senior Deputy Commissioner of Securities and General Counsel with the West Virginia State Auditor’s Office.
The training presentation is available on FINRA’s website at https://www.finra.org/rules-guidance/key-topics/senior-investors/elder-abuse-prevention-training; on the SEC’s website at https://www.investor.gov/additional-resources/information/seniors; NASAA’s website at https://www.nasaa.org/industry-resources/senior-issues/; and NASAA’s Serve Our Seniors website at http://serveourseniors.org/about/industry/.
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.
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. For more information, visit www.sec.gov.
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.