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House Passes Senior Safe Act

The House of Representatives passed a bill last night that would make it easier for financial advisors to report financial abuse of the elderly. The Senior Safe Act of 2016 would protect financial institutions and advisors from legal liability if they disclose financial exploitation of senior citizens to a regulator.

An advisor would have to receive training on the identification and reporting of suspected elderly exploitation from their firm in order to be immune, the bill says.

The Financial Services Institute issued a statement, praising the passage of the bill; the group expects it to pass in the Senate as well.

“By providing civil and administrative immunity to financial services firms and advisors, the legislation would allow financial professionals to report potential abuse to government organizations, without violating privacy laws,” said FSI President and CEO Dale Brown, in a statement. “It also standardizes training to help identify and report instances of suspected abuse.”

FSI worked with the House Financial Services Committee to get the legislation passed, and is currently seeking co-sponsors for the Senate version. In June, the group took over 100 members to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers about the legislation. 

“We will continue to work on this legislation until the president signs it in order to better ensure seniors are protected from abuse,” Brown said.

The bill was originally introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) last October.

SIFMA (Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association) sent a letter to the senators earlier this year in support of the legislation. Seniors lose at least $2.9 billion a year to financial exploitation, according to a MetLife study cited by Ken Bentsen, president and CEO of SIFMA.

“We are working collaboratively with policymakers, academic experts, psychologists and other key stakeholders to better understand the risks to senior investors, and the role that firms and advisers can and should play,” Bentsen said, during a recent SIFMA event. 

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