Over the past several years, our society has begun to recognize a scourge growing amongst us: the financial abuse and exploitation of seniors and vulnerable adults.
Sadly, the number of victims is likely to grow simply because there will be exponentially more seniors living in the U.S. LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute estimates that there are over 50 million Americans aged 65 and older today, with 11,000 more joining the ranks each day.
Recently there has been significant legislative and regulatory efforts to help protect seniors and vulnerable adults. Over the past two years, several states have adopted, either wholly or in part, the North American Securities Administrators Association Model Act. Last week, FINRA’s Rule 2165 went into effect and both the U.S. House and Senate have proposed legislation designed to protect seniors from financial exploitation.
Each measure empowers financial services professionals to report on potential financial exploitation and many encourage training to help professionals to recognize those most vulnerable to financial exploitation and identify suspicious activities, transactions and other red flags that may indicate potential financial abuse.
Having the right training can help mitigate the risk of your clients becoming victims of financial exploitation. Effective training must give advisors and other client-facing reps three pillars of knowledge:
An understanding about who are most vulnerable to financial exploitation and the common types and methods used by those seeking to defraud them.
An overview of the legislative and regulatory landscape, how the requirements differ by jurisdiction, and what they need to do to comply.
Knowledge about how to identify and report suspicious activity to protect their clients.
Recognizing the need for an industry-wide training program that complies with various new regulatory requirements and teaches professionals how they can prevent and report elder financial abuse, my organization, LIMRA, recently launched a new online training program, Recognizing Financial Exploitation (RFE).