FINRA Introduces New Rules Addressing Financial Exploitation of Senior Citizens

 In Elder Law

Recently, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued Regulatory Notice 17-11, announcing that FINRA’s new rules addressing the financial exploitation of senior citizens would go into effect as of February 5th, 2018.  These new rules, which gained SEC approval, implement two important changes that are designed to help better protect senior investors.

The first change amends an existing Rule (Rule 4512) and requires that firms make “reasonable efforts” to obtain the name and contact information of a trusted person. This means that, when an investor that is 65 or older opens an account, the institution is required to ask them for the name and contact information of an individual that senior trusts with whom the institution may communicate if financial exploitation is suspected.  Additionally, the amendment to Rule 4512 states that existing senior customers will be asked this same question when their profile is updated. However, an individual is not required to list a trusted contact person and will not be prohibited from opening or maintaining an account if they refuse to do so.

The second change is the implementation of a new rule, Rule 2165, that allows member firms to place temporary holds on customer accounts when there is a reasonable belief of financial exploitation. This rule states that, if an institution suspects financial exploitation of someone 65 or older (or someone 18 or older that is disabled or considered mentally impaired), it can place a temporary hold of up to 15 business days on the disbursement of funds or securities from the account. This rule only applies to suspicious disbursement of funds or securities, not to securities transactions. Once this temporary hold starts, the institution has two business days to contact the customer as well as their chosen trusted contact person to investigate the matter.

Bach & Jacobs, P.A. employs elder law litigators who assist seniors and their families in combatting financial exploitation of the elderly.

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