The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (“NASAA”) recently released a new resource intended to assist securities firms in implementing the training requirements of the Senior Safe Act (“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 Act, and certain state training requirements relating to senior investment protection.
The 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.
It was noted that this important training resource in addressing the educational requirements of the Senior Safe Act, would lead to the promotion of greater and earlier detection and reporting of suspected financial exploitation of seniors.