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NASAA to Launch Senior$afe Program to Fight Elder Fraud

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The North American Securities Administrators Association said Wednesday that it plans to roll out to its state securities regulator members in April a training program they can use to help advisors and brokers identify and report potential elder financial fraud.

The securities industry program, called Senior$afe, is modeled on a program for bank and credit union tellers created by the Maine Council for Elder Abuse Prevention. NASAA plans to retool the program to fit advisors and brokers.

Judith Shaw, NASAA president and Maine securities regulator, told ThinkAdvisor on Wednesday that she helped spearhead Maine’s program, called the No Wrong Door approach, three years ago. Maine has now trained 300 bank and credit union tellers, supervisors and compliance personnel, and state agencies have received more than 50 referrals regarding potential elder financial fraud.

Close to a half dozen state securities regulators are interested in using the Senior$afe program to train advisors and brokers in their states, Shaw says.

Along with a comprehensive training guide, Senior$afe includes a consumer brochure, a quick response chart and guide to red flags of elder financial abuse, and can be customized to include local agencies and referral contacts.

Shaw says the program helps advisors and brokers spot red flags, like behavioral changes such as lack of grooming, sadness or unusual account activity. Advisors and brokers should be leery if an elderly client says they “aren’t able to pay for fuel,” they start bouncing checks, or they start asking for large wire transfers.

The second component offers a guide to internal reporting channels as well as outside resources like Adult Protective Services, law enforcement and other agencies on aging, including domestic violence resources. The collective resources provide advisors’ and brokers’ clients with a “community-based safety net,” Shaw says.

She says she’s made fighting elder financial fraud “front and center” during her presidency.

In early February, NASAA’s membership voted to adopt a model act designed to protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation, including allowing broker-dealers or advisors to impose an initial delay of disbursements from an account of an eligible adult for up to 15 business days if financial exploitation is suspected.


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