Workplace Insights | Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Our Point of View

We are advocating for Federal and State Securities regulators to develop legislation to provide for protections against financial fraud. Current proposals include:

  • Senior Safe Act — Introduced in the House in 2017 by Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME), the language of the Senior Safe Act of 2017 has been incorporated into the Housing Opportunities Made Easier (HOME) Act of 2018. The provisions exempt financial institutions and some of their employees from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding where those employees report the potential exploitation of a vulnerable adult. A companion bill introduced in the Senate in 2017 by Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Susan Collins (R-ME) has been merged into S. 2155, The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018.
  • Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act — Sponsered by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on January 20, 2017. The legislation expands data collection and information sharing to better prevent and respond to all forms of elder abuse and exploitation, including financial crimes against seniors. It also increases training for federal investigators and prosecutors who handle cases of elder abuse and ensure that the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Justice Department will both have an elder justice coordinator. Additionally, the bill increases penalties for perpetrators of such crimes.
  • FINRA — On February 5, 2018, two FINRA rules went into effect aimed at protecting senior investors. FINRA Rule 2165 (Financial Exploitation of Specified Adults) permits qualified individuals of firms to place temporary holds on disbursements of funds or securities from the accounts of clients where there is a reasonable belief that the individual is a possible victim of financial exploitation. FINRA Rule 4512 is amended to require that FINRA member firms make reasonable efforts to obtain information from clients for a "trusted contact person" to keep on file at the time of opening or updating a client account. The trusted contact person is intended to be a resource in protecting the individuals' account from potential financial exploitation.
  • North American Security Administrators Association — A group of state securities professionals has drafted model language that can be used by states that choose to enact legislation to provide protection under state securities laws for financial services firms and professionals addressing potential privacy and delay in execution where elder fraud is suspected. To date, more than 14 states have drafted, proposed or enacted legislation and regulation based on the NASAA model.
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