The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Securities Helpline for Seniors marked Thursday its two-year anniversary with $4.3 million in voluntary reimbursements to callers since its launch.
To date, the helpline has fielded more than 9,200 calls from all 50 states, with individuals ranging in age from 17 to 102 (with the average age of callers being 70).
Callers have dialed-in to get questions answered on topics ranging from financial services-related products, including variable annuities, mutual funds and real estate investment trusts, to tips on how to review an investment account statement and access investor tools and resources such as BrokerCheck.
Other requests have asked for help with lost securities, as well as voiced concerns about potential unsuitable recommendations, fraud, or illegal activity involving brokerage accounts and investments. Incidents of exploitation of seniors by persons outside of the securities industry have also been reported.
FINRA staff have referred nearly 650 matters to state, federal and foreign regulators, and made more than 130 referrals to Adult Protective Services under the mandatory reporting laws of 16 states.
The self-regulator said Thursday that “many member firms have established designated points of contact to work with helpline staff to streamline the process” of resolving investor issues.
“FINRA is committed to protecting senior investors, and our dedicated helpline staff has done a great job responding to callers’ questions, recognizing and addressing concerns around certain products and issues, and promptly escalating relevant matters,” said Susan Axelrod, executive vice president, Regulatory Operations. “The helpline's success is also due in large part to firms that are proactively assessing issues raised to them by helpline staff and making customers whole where appropriate.”