House passes bill to protect advisers reporting elder financial abuse

The bill also addresses training for advisers on how to spot elder financial abuse

Jul 5, 2016 @ 4:32 pm

By Mark Schoeff Jr.

The House of Representatives Tuesday night unanimously approved legislation that would protect financial advisers from liability when they try to stop the financial exploitation of seniors.

The measure, the Senior Safe Act, passed the House, passed the House on a voice vote. It ensures that advisers who report elder financial abuse to federal or state securities regulators, law enforcement, adult protective services or other appropriate agencies are not held liable for violating privacy laws.

The bill also addresses training for advisers on how to spot elder financial abuse.

The vote on the House floor follows unanimous approval last month in the House Financial Services Committee.

The House bill was based on legislation written by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. In May, she urged state securities regulators to build support for the bill. She was optimistic that with more backing, it could get through the Senate later this year.

The Financial Services Institute sent more than 100 members to Capitol Hill in June to advocate for the House and Senate legislation.

“While Washington has been gridlocked for a long time, I'm very pleased that the House was able to pass this critical legislation, and I am hopeful the Senate will quickly follow suit,” FSI president and chief executive Dale Brown said in a statement. “The Senior Safe Act is a big step forward in the prevention of elder financial abuse across the country.”

Last week, laws went into effect in three states that mandate and provide safe harbor for adviser reporting of elder financial abuse.

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