Most U.S. brokerage firms have procedures for reporting possible instances of financial abuse of their senior clients, according to report published Thusday by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA).
The NASAA report reviews the findings of a survey of the senior-related practices and procedures of more than 60 U.S. broker-dealers. Among other things, the research found that:
> 90% of firms have some internal process for addressing senior issues;
> 95% provided some type of training on senior issues; and,
> 94% have a formal process to internally report concerns regarding diminished capacity and/or elder financial abuse.
At the same time, the report notes that 54% of firms don't have a formal policy defining senior customers, and only 41% are using a form for customers to identify a trusted contact person for vulnerable clients.
The research also found that firms reported nearly 2,300 cases of suspected senior-related fraud or exploitation to authorities in 2015. Of these, 45% involved customers in the 81-90 year age group. Most of these reports, 62%, were made to adult protective services authorities, just 4% were reported to law enforcement, and less than 1% were reported to state securities regulators.
"Being face-to-face with clients puts financial services professionals on the frontlines when it comes to stopping suspected cases of senior financial fraud and exploitation. As the U.S. population ages, the financial industry can help detect and report financial crime and abuse of the elderly and other vulnerable adults," says Mike Rothman, president of NASAA and Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce, in a statement.
The report also provides a checklist of recommended considerations for firms that are seeking to improve their senior-related policies and procedures.