FINRA develops training program to help firms comply with Senior Safe Act

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The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) have developed a new resource to assist securities firms in implementing the training requirements of the Senior Safe Act.

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The Senior Safe Act — part of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, signed into law on May 24, 2018 — addresses barriers financial professionals face in reporting suspected senior financial exploitation or abuse to authorities.

Specifically, it protects “covered financial institutions” – including investment advisers, broker-dealers, and transfer agents – from liability for reporting a case of potential exploitation of a senior citizen to a covered agency.

The training program that FINRA, the SEC, and NASAA have developed is called, Addressing and Reporting Financial Exploitation of Senior and Vulnerable Adult Investors. It is designed to help firms train employees on how to detect, prevent, and report the financial exploitation of senior and vulnerable adult investors.

“FINRA has a longstanding commitment to protecting senior investors through various regulatory programs and initiatives,” Robert W. Cook, FINRA president and CEO, said. “FINRA is pleased to collaborate with NASAA and the SEC to provide this free resource to firms as we collectively work to support implementation of the Senior Safe Act and better protect senior and vulnerable adult investors.”

The immunity established by the Senior Safe Act comes on the condition that employees receive training on how to identify and report exploitative activity against seniors before making a report. This new training program addresses that need.

“By partnering with FINRA and NASAA to offer this training program, we can help educate financial professionals on how to identify and report financial abuse of older adults,” SEC Chair Gary Gensler said. “The SEC also strongly encourages all investors to utilize the education resources on sec.gov to ensure they are working with a registered investment professional.”

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