Visiting Regulators in Vermont

Meeting-from-AboveAs part of FSI’s State Outreach Plan, members of the FSI’s leadership team traveled to Vermont earlier this month to meet with Commissioner Susan Donegan from the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation. Joining Commissioner Donegan at the meeting were Tom Candon, Deputy Commissioner of Banking & Securities; Crosby L. Sherman, Deputy Commissioner of Insurance; John Cronin, Securities Director and head of NASAA’s Broker-Dealer Section; and David Cassetty, General Counsel.

The Vermont Department of Financial Regulation is unlike many state regulators in that it is tasked with regulating the insurance and securities industries in the state as well as the health care industry. It was helpful to learn more about the Department’s mission and how this unique structure allows the departments to work closely together. The topics discussed with the Department ranged from crowdfunding to social media legislation and regulation in the states to the best way to encourage financial literacy. One of the most informative points was discussing the large elderly population in Vermont, and how FSI’s members could help prevent elder abuse.

Elder abuse, specifically financial exploitation of the elderly, has become an issue that both the industry and regulators are determined to solve. However, part of the difficulty with solving elder abuse is navigating privacy laws when discussing the exploitation with regulators or members of the elderly investor’s family. In Vermont’s case, there is a law that requires individuals to report instances of suspected elder abuse and described a “one-stop” hotline for reporting suspected abuse.  In other states, this can conflict with the above-stated privacy laws, so looking for a nationwide solution has proved a difficult task.

That said, NASAA, the association representing state securities regulators, is in the process of developing “principle considerations” on the issue of elder abuse. NASAA will be distributing the guidance to its members shortly. The guidance will provide prosecutors with broad discretion when determining when to pursue a case of elder abuse.

In addition to the specific issues identified above, the Department was interested in learning more about our members’ business model, challenges, and concerns was a significant piece of the conversation. We also discussed our many common goals and areas of possible future collaboration.

We will hold a few more state meetings before the end of the year, including trips to California and Florida, so stay tuned for more information!

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