NAELA Comments on FINRA Rules Relating to Elder Financial Exploitation

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Elder Law and Special Needs Planning Association Emphasizes Need for “Stronger Steps to Make a Serious Impact on Financial Exploitation”

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NAELA member attorneys are dedicated to protecting the elderly and people with disabilities from financial abuse. This rapidly growing problem can be stopped and prevented in the future...

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) sent a letter to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on Regulatory Notice 15-37 relating to financial exploitation of seniors and other vulnerable adults.

"NAELA member attorneys are dedicated to protecting the elderly and people with disabilities from financial abuse. This rapidly growing problem can be stopped and prevented in the future as long as advocates work together to put the right measures into place," said NAELA President Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq., CAP.

In the letter, NAELA proposed amendments to the rules that would place temporary holds on accounts as needed, notify entities about suspicious transactions on their accounts, and encourage financial institutions to train their employees to recognize signs of elder financial abuse so that it can be stopped sooner.

At the present time, brokerage account holders do not have the same protection from financial exploitation as bank customers. For several years, federal and state laws have allowed banks to take actions to protect their customers when there is a reasonable belief that the customer is a victim of financial exploitation, including freezing accounts, contacting Adult Protective Services, and providing information to the proper authorities. Currently, no such regulations exist for the financial institutions regulated by FINRA, and brokerage houses may only take such action when court ordered.

“We are encouraged to see FINRA taking the first step in addressing the problem of financial exploitation of seniors and persons with disabilities and our hope is that FINRA will continue to move forward in this regard,” said NAELA Director Wendy Cappelletto, Esq., CAP.

NAELA members can provide guidance to those who have experienced elder financial abuse or who are looking for information on ways to prevent it. To receive a free NAELA brochure: “Questions and Answers When Looking for an Elder and Special Needs Law Attorney,” contact Communications Manager Abby Matienzo by email [amatienzo(at)naela(dot)org] or phone at 703-942-5711 #230.

Find an Elder and Special Needs Law attorney in your area using NAELA’s Member Directory.

About NAELA
Members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) are attorneys who are experienced and trained in working with the legal problems of aging Americans and individuals of all ages with disabilities. Established in 1987, NAELA is a non-profit association that assists lawyers, bar organizations and others. The mission of NAELA is to establish NAELA members as the premier providers of legal advocacy, guidance and services to enhance the lives of people with special needs and people as they age. NAELA currently has members across the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit NAELA.org.

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Abby Matienzo, Communications Associate
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