The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) is proposing a model act that aims to address issues faced by broker-dealers, investment advisor firms and their employees when they suspect financial exploitation of seniors and other vulnerable adults is taking place.

The proposals would: require employees of broker-dealers and investment advisors to report suspected financial exploitation; allow firms to delay disbursements from an account of a vulnerable adult if financial exploitation is suspected; allow employees to provide financial records to the authorities; and give employees immunity from administrative or civil liability for taking these actions. The proposal is out for a 30-day comment period.

“I am pleased that NASAA is publishing for comment a proposed model act that facilitates reporting to regulators and Adult Protective Services; respects the dignity and independence of older investors by encouraging firms to develop financial advanced directives for execution by clients; permits the delay in disbursement of funds when financial exploitation is suspected; and provides immunity from administrative and civil liability for taking actions permitted under the model,” says NASAA’s new president, Judith Shaw, in a statement.

Shaw, who is also Maine Securities Administrator, began a one-year term today as president of NASAA at the organization’s annual conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday. Shaw also announced NASAA’s leadership for the coming year, which includes Kathryn Daniels, deputy director of corporate finance at the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), as treasurer of its new board.

Speaking at the conference, Shaw encouraged NASAA members to strengthen their efforts at cooperation and to explore new opportunities to work more closely with other regulators.

“In this age of technology and electronic marketing, borders are virtually nonexistent. We will find ways to leverage our available resources and support one another in the interest of investor protection,” Shaw said. “In the coming year I believe that we can increase collaboration with our federal partners in both the regulatory and self-regulatory spaces. Opportunities abound. We share the same mission and should be strong partners in the fight to protect investors and generate renewed confidence in the capital markets.”

Shaw added: “We must identify the barriers to full and meaningful partnership and collaboration in enforcement, examination, and capital formation as well. I will be requesting meetings with the SEC and FINRA so together with NASAA leadership, we can identify barriers and tear them down. We are on the same team. We share common goals, Together we can accomplish so much more.”