The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has made the protection of senior investors a top priority. In addition to amending old rules (see FINRA Rule 4512, Customer Account Information) and implementing new rules (see FINRA Rule 2165, Financial Exploitation of Specified Adults) to better protect seniors from financial exploitation, FINRA has also adopted a hands-on approach to investor protection. For instance, on August 17, 2017, FINRA published an article titled “4 Financial Resources for Senior Investors.” The article—published four days before Senior Citizen’s Day—provides four helpful resources to help prevent financial exploitation.
First, the article encourages seniors to utilize the “FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors,” which FINRA implemented in 2015. Seniors are reminded they can call the toll-free number (844-57-HELPS) to get assistance from FINRA staff regarding their investments. In the first two years of its operation, the Helpline fielded more than 9,200 calls and facilitated $4.3 million in voluntary reimbursements to its callers.
Second, FINRA reminds senior investors about FINRA BrokerCheck, which contains general information (including disciplinary records) for all FINRA-registered brokers and brokerage firms. Investors can access FINRA BrokerCheck online (www.finra.org/brokercheck) or by phone (800-289-9999). In fact, effective June 6, 2016, FINRA Rule 2210 (Communications with the Public) requires brokerage firms to include a reference and hyperlink to BrokerCheck on the initial web page that the brokerage firm intends to be viewed by investors.
Third, the article warns seniors about commons strategies used by “fraudsters.” FINRA refers investors to their Fighting Fraud 101 brochure, which explains strategies that may help an investor avoid being defrauded. For instance, the article notes that a cold call soliciting an investment is normally a red flag.
Fourth, FINRA reminds senior investors to protect their identity to help prevent financial exploitation. For example, the article recommends using strong passwords and PINs for financial accounts and utilizing computer security.
Here is a link to the full article: 4 Financial Resources for Senior Investors