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Compliance: Need to Know - Protecting Your Vulnerable Clients Part IV

Disgruntled, Mrs. Anderson left the office with her acknowledgment form in her hand. Tom just thought, “What do I do now?” Then he remembered last year his friend Paul (who also ran an advisory business) had to deal with this. Quickly he picked up the phone.

“P and B Advisory services, how can I help you?” a familiar voice came through the phone speaker.

“Paul, it’s Tom. How are you doing?” with a relieved smile Tom replied.

“Doing great, Tom, but I’m about done with this hot summer. What can I help you with?”

“Well, I have a client who is elderly, and I think she might be getting exploited. She wants to make a large withdrawal for something that doesn’t make sense, so I had her go home with an acknowledgment form and dwell on it overnight.” Tom continued. “But I don’t know what steps are next?”

“That’s a sad thing. I’ve dealt with this a couple of times. I had that case with the reverse mortgage last year. Then I had the cousin who wanted to have full power of attorney over another client of mine two years ago. Boy, that was a learning experience. First, you need to understand that there are plenty of resources out there. AARP Foundation ElderWatch, for general information; the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if it deals with a loan or mortgage; Internet Crime Complaint Center; the National Fraud Information Center; the State’s Health Services for any medical related instances; and of course NASAA (for contact information) and FINRA for anything related to our line of work. And that just scratches the surface.”

“Wow, that’s great that agencies are now trying to focus on this. Hey, what should I include on this report?” Tom said.

“You need to include the name, age, and address of the possible victim and your name and contact information. Have a brief description of the situation and the victim. Include any medical or behavioral problems that the victim might have. It’s helpful to include names of any close relatives and their contact information. If possible, provide the name of the possible perpetrator. Finally, give an explanation on how you know about the situation.”

“Thanks, Paul, I will get right on that.”

“Hey Tom, we are on the front lines to help protect our clients.”

The threat to the elderly is a scary but real thing. As financial advisers, you serve as one of the people that have insight to your client’s finances and can be one of the first to recognize that fraud could be happening. It is important that today’s investment advisers have a comprehensive policy regarding the detection and reporting of suspected financial exploitation and efficient and effective procedures to up hold that policy.

Below are links to some resources to keep on hand should you suspect a client is being financially exploited.

Toll Free: 800-876-7060

Call the Abuse Hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, toll-free 1-800-252-5400 from anywhere in the US to report abuse or neglect that occurred in Texas.

Catch up on our series: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

For more information about our services, contact us by calling us at 1-833-RIACCIO, emailing us at, or by clicking here to schedule a free consultation.

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