As you may know, FINRA, last April, launched a senior helpline to address issues pertaining to senior investors. According to recent reports, FINRA received calls on many different issues such as how to read an account statement up fraud targeted to senior investors.
FINRA has reported that some of these calls resulted in follow-up calls from FINRA and ultimate referral to federal and state authorities. So what is the take away from the hotline?
For one, senior investors are actively seeking FINRA’s assistance on issues from the mundane to the serious. With respect to those more serious issues, FINRA, in turn, is showing how serious it takes them.
If you have not already done so, it is critical that you revisit your policies and procedures for senior clients. If you do not have policies and procedures, you need them.
At a minimum, you should consider placing all accounts of anyone 65 years old and over on some form of heightened supervision. By doing so, you are in a better position to learn about issues before they become a problem and, worse yet, get reported to FINRA through the hotline.
From my perspective, one of the biggest issues you face will be suitability of investment recommendations to seniors. By having policies and procedures that demand your attention to this issue (such as heightened supervision), you may avoid liability and regulatory issues in the future. Many issues can be avoided by simply improving the lines of communication with your senior clients.
Do nothing, and you have already set your boat down a rough course.
* photo from freedigitalphotos.net