Boca hotline calls prompt proposed rules to protect senior investors

Calls to a financial helpline for seniors based in Boca Raton have prompted proposed rules to make it easier to contact trusted loved ones or freeze funds in cases of suspected financial exploitation, regulatory officials said Thursday.

“The need for this rule became clear from calls to the FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors,” said Susan Axelrod, executive vice president of regulatory operations for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. “Since its launch in April 2015, the helpline has received calls highlighting some of the issues firms are facing when it comes to senior investors, including how firms respond when they suspect a senior customer is being exploited.”

The proposals submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission are needed, FINRA argued, because current rules do not explicitly permit firms to contact a non-account holder or to place a temporary hold on disbursements of funds or securities where there is a “reasonable belief” of financial exploitation of a senior or other vulnerable adult.

There was no immediate response to the proposals from an industry group, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association.

The FINRA helpline can be reached at (844) 574-3577.

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