New FINRA Rules Aim to Curb Financial Elder Abuse
Financial elder abuse is a problem that’s increasingly coming to the attention of California and federal regulators, and the new rules issued by FINRA last month are one of the latest moves to stem the tide of financial abuse. Financial elder abuse accounts for billions of dollars in the U.S. economy each year, and while it’s hard to find and prevent relatively small transactions, such as sneaking money out of a wallet or misusing Social Security income, FINRA is starting by targeting large thefts from seniors. The rules allow financial institutions to freeze transactions in senior’s accounts that they deems suspicious, and empowers them to reach out to a designated “trusted contact” to confirm that the transaction is reasonable.
Pros and Cons
As Financial elder abuse attorneys, we are always in support of safeguards on senior’s funds, and these new FINRA rules are a step in the right direction. However, it remains to be seen how these rules function and interact with existing regulation, especially in California. For instance, how does this affect financial institutions role as “mandatory reporters?” Should bank employees still report suspected abuse, or does having the “trusted contact” confirm the transaction mean it no longer needs to be reported? What prevents an abuser from convincing an elder to list them as the “trusted contact?” Additionally, the rules don’t provide for any sort of training for the people who will be tasked with watching out for elder abuse.
Understanding Financial Elder Abuse
Unfortunately, spotting elder abuse is far from simple, especially when looking at only a snapshot of a senior’s financial history. While reporting abuse may be encouraged by FINRA, it doesn’t mean anything if bank employees aren’t able to recognize the signs of abusive transactions. In addition, it is unlikely that financial institutions are going to go out of their way to flag and hold up transactions for long periods while they investigate. Our Financial elder abuse attorneys can tell you that recognizing and proving elder abuse is no easy feat, and it’s unlikely that untrained employees will be able to make a major difference on their own.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of financial elder abuse in California, contact the Evans Law Firm financial elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or FINRA arbitration, or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.