According to Consumer Reports, elderly Americans lose around $30 billion each year because of financial abuse. This abuse can take many different forms, whether it is caregivers taking money from seniors improperly, insurance agents and financial advisors who sell inappropriate or unsuitable insurance policies or other investments to seniors, unscrupulous trustees or persons acting under Powers of Attorney or others who wrongfully take money and other property from seniors.
A California financial elder abuse attorney can help those who are victimized by abuse to take legal action to recover their lost assets. Unfortunately, in many cases, elder financial abuse is never reported because seniors who are victimized either cannot speak up or decline to speak up because they are embarrassed or frightened of the consequences.
The good news is, more reports may soon be made, and seniors may soon get some extra help to reduce the chances of being victimized by abuse. The extra assistance could come from the financial services industry, thanks to a new rule issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
New Efforts are being Made to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse
FINRA is the independent agency responsible for overseeing America’s financial industry, including banks, insurance agents, financial advisors, and brokers. FINRA has issued a new rule that will soon go into effect and require bankers, advisors, agents and brokers to ask customers of all ages to provide the name of a trusted contact person.
If the financial advisor believes that a client is potentially at risk of being exploited, the advisor is authorized to reach out to the trusted contact person. For example, if a banker or broker sees signs of cognitive impairment or notices large withdrawals of money from a senior’s account, the advisor can reach out to the senior’s contact person and take other steps.
Those other steps include power under a new FINRA rule to place a hold on withdrawals made from a senior’s account if the broker has reason to suspect financial exploitation of the senior. Brokers can place an initial hold for up to 15 days, but also have the option to extend the hold for an additional 10 days in appropriate circumstances.
This new rule is the latest in a line of new regulations and initiatives aimed at preventing the abuse of vulnerable seniors. The North American Securities Administrators Association also released a model rule in 2014 that mandates financial advisors and brokers report suspected abuse of elderly or vulnerable clients, including clients with disabilities.
These rules can help to ensure that someone else is looking out for seniors and can take appropriate action when a senior has potentially fallen victim to a scam. If it turns out a senior has been financially abused or exploited and has suffered losses as a result, a California financial elder abuse attorney should be consulted to help recover lost funds and pursue all other available remedies including extra damages and an award of attorney’s fees for bringing the action. Contact Evans Law Firm online or call 415-441-8669 for a free initial consultation today.