senior man giving credit card details on the phone

In a bid to encourage investment firms to help root out suspected financial abuse of their senior clients, U.S. regulators are drawing attention to year-old legislation that provides immunity for reporting possible abuse.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) are seeking to raise awareness among broker-dealers, investment advisers and transfer agents about legislation (The Senior Safe Act) that gives financial firms and their employees immunity from civil liability for reporting incidents of suspected exploitation involving seniors.

“Financial professionals can provide a critical frontline role in identifying and reporting senior financial exploitation,” said SEC 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,” he added.

The law’s immunity provisions require employees to receive training on identifying and reporting possible exploitation before making a report.

It also requires that reports be made “in good faith” and “with reasonable care.”

“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,” said Michael Pieciak, NASAA’s president and Vermont Commissioner of Financial Regulation.

“Early detection and reporting are critical to help prevent elder financial abuse and the devastating financial and emotional impacts that ensue,” he said.