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Senate Passes Senior Financial Protection Act

March 19, 2018

The Senate has passed a bill helping financial advisors protect their senior clients against financial exploitation, FA magazine writes.

The Senior Safe Act, reintroduced in the Senate more than a year ago, would shield advisors from liability and privacy law violations when reporting suspected financial abuse of seniors. The bill grants immunity to advisors who report suspected exploitation to regulators, FA magazine writes.

An important part of the bill, according to the Financial Services Institute, is a provision encouraging firms to train their staff in identifying and reporting suspected exploitation of seniors, FA magazine writes.

FSI, the American Council of Life Insurers and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors have all welcomed the passage of the Senate bill, according to the publication. FSI is now urging the House of Representatives to pass the bill “in a timely manner,” FSI president and CEO Dale Brown said, according to FA magazine.

Financial fraud costs U.S. seniors about $2.9 billion annually, according to a 2011 MetLife study cited by the publication. Allianz, meanwhile, has found that senior victims of fraud lost $30,000 on average, and 10% lost $100,000 or more, FA magazine writes. Allianz’s study also concluded that seniors who regularly discuss finances with professionals are less likely to be victims, according to the publication.

Financial regulators have been ahead of legislators in putting senior protections in place. Last year, the SEC approved a Finra proposal that protects financial companies from liability when reporting suspected financial abuse.

This proposal followed the response to a hotline Finra had set up in 2015 encouraging reporting of suspected abuse, which in less than two years received 8,600 calls and helped recover $4.3 million, according to Finra.

By Alex Padalka
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