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New FINRA Rules Aimed at Senior Protection Take Effect

FINRA rules protecting seniors go into effect, banks ban buying bitcoin with credit cards and advisors to keep shifting money abroad despite geopolitical risk.

Two Financial Industry Regulatory Authority rule changes went into effect Monday aimed at helping firms and financial advisors deal with alleged financial exploitation of senior investors. In the amendment to FINRA Rule 4512, firms are required to collect information for a “trusted contact” when an account is opened or updated. FINRA Rule 2165 is aimed at creating a “safe harbor” period that makes it permissive for advisors to hold disbursements from the account of a “specified adult.” That includes investors aged 65 and older or individuals aged 18 and older who have a mental or physical impairment. “It is a critical measure because of the difficulty investors face in trying to recover funds that they have inadvertently sent to fraudsters and scam artists,” FINRA says.

No, You Can’t Buy Bitcoin with a Credit Card

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Banks in Britain and the United States have banned customers from buying bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies using their credit cards. Reuters is reporting that Lloyds Banking Group, which issues just over a quarter of all credit cards in Britain, and Virgin Money would ban credit card customers from buying cryptocurrencies. U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup said the same. Other banks, including Barclays—the leading credit card issuer in Britain—said they do accept credit cards as payment for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Spain’s second-biggest bank BBVA also has no restrictions on such purchases.

Advisors Shifting Assets Abroad Despite Geopolitical Risk

Copyright Kiyoshi Ota, Getty Images

Advisors are worried about geopolitical risk, but it must not be keeping them up at night; half of them plan on increasing their allocation to international markets in 2018. Northern Trust’s FlexShares unit polled 250 advisors at Schwab’s IMPACT 2017 conference in November and released the details Monday, showing the counterintuitive results. Nearly two-thirds cited geopolitics as their top concern when investing internationally. Yet only 4 percent expect to decrease their international holdings, while 44 percent will not make any change, according to the study.

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