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US regulators adopt common approach to protecting elderly investors.

BIScom Subsection: 
Author: 
Editorial Staff

They call it "financial exploitation of seniors" and refer to "World Elder Abuse Awareness Day" but cut through the froth and the Securities and Exchange Commission, The North American Securities Administrators' Association and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority have started something useful at a time when the elderly are increasingly vulnerable to both actual frauds and misunderstandings caused by rapidly-changing financial environment.

The three bodies have issued an on-online training course which, sadly, has a title that is more political than directly relevant: "Addressing and Reporting Financial Exploitation of Senior and Vulnerable Adult Investors."

Why not "Protecting vulnerable investors"?

Then again, the entire press release (see https://www.sec.gov/news/press...) is awash with exactly the kind of nonsense expressions that most confuse the market the course is supposed to be protecting.

For example: "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."

Let's help: it might have said "NASAA is pleased to collaborate with the SEC and FINRA to provide training for the industry to help companies detect, deter and report suspected financial exploitation of vulnerable Americans"

Now, isn't that clearer? And isn't lack of clarity one of the primary ways that the vulnerable are taken advantage of?

The scheme is to try to improve responses to the so-called Senior Safe Act which was itself part of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act 2018. In particular, it provides covered institutions from civil etc. liabilities in the event of a report being made, in the same way as a SAR in money laundering, etc.

There is more in common with money laundering, etc. The statement says "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." Not that companies are "firms" but that seems to be a common abuse of language by regulators around the world.

You can form your own view on the training here:

NASAA’s website at https://www.nasaa.org/industry... NASAA’s Serve Our Seniors website at http://serveourseniors.org/abo...

SEC’s website at https://www.investor.gov/addit... and

FINRA’s website at https://www.finra.org/rules-gu....

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