The U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on Monday announced the implementation of two new rules designed to better protect senior investors.
The rule changes, which take effect today, aim to address the financial exploitation of seniors and vulnerable adults by introducing the first uniform, national standards in this area.
Firms are now required to designate a “trusted contact person” for clients’ accounts, in addition firms are now able to place a temporary hold on client accounts when they suspect possible financial exploitation.
Designating a trusted contact person is designed to help firms protect the assets of vulnerable clients, and respond to possible financial exploitation. Freezing accounts amid suspected abuse will allow firms to investigate the case, and to make contact with agencies, such as law enforcement or protection services, before disbursing funds in cases of possible financial exploitation.
“It is a critical measure because of the difficulty investors face in trying to recover funds that they have inadvertently sent to fraudsters and scam artists,” FINRA says in a news release.
The rule changes were approved by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in February 2017, but firms were given a year to develop policies and procedures to implement the new rules.