One Year In: Regulators Recap Senior Safe Act

In acknowledgment of the one-year anniversary of the passage of The Senior Safe Act, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) have issued a fact sheet to help raise awareness among broker-dealers, investment advisers, and transfer agents of the Act and how the Act’s immunity provisions work.

The fact sheet breaks down how financial professionals and firms may qualify for civil and administrative immunity after reporting suspected senior financial exploitation or abuse to authorities under the SSA.

What is the Senior Safe Act?

The Senior Safe Act was passed on May 24, 2018, as Section 303 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, and was among several steps taken by regulators to address the fact that financial professionals and firms are in a good position to detect signs of financial exploitation and diminishing capacity, particularly among its senior clients aged 65 and older. The goal of the act is to help protect “covered financial institutions” – which include investment advisers, broker-dealers, and transfer agents – and their eligible employees, from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding in instances where those employees make a report about the potential exploitation of a senior citizen to a covered agency.

The immunity established by the Senior Safe Act is provided on the condition that (1) certain employees receive training on how to identify and report exploitative activity against seniors before making a report, and (2) reports of suspected exploitation are made “in good faith” and “with reasonable care.” This immunity applies to eligible employees and firms, but the requirements differ slightly.

What type of solution does Quest CE offer?

Quest CE recently released a course, titled “Senior Safe Act Training” that provides an in-depth explanation of the Senior Safe Act, including signs of diminishing mental capacity and financial exploitation, reporting responsibilities, training obligations, and additional FINRA rulings. The course can easily be customized using Quest CE’s free Course Builder tool to include state and firm-specific policies and procedures. For more information on Quest CE’s Senior Safe Act Training course, click here. 

How soon must employees be trained to receive immunity?

For current employees, affiliated persons, and associated persons, as soon as reasonably practical. New employees or persons who become affiliated or associated with a covered financial institution have no later than one year from the date of hire, affiliation, or association to complete the training.

What records of training must be maintained?

Records of employees who completed the training and the content of the training must be maintained by the covered financial institution and made available to a covered agency with examination authority over the covered financial institution, upon request, except that a covered financial institution shall not be required to maintain or make available such content with respect to any individual who is no longer employed by or affiliated or associated with the covered financial institution.

To read the complete Senior Safe Act Fact Sheet, click here.