As the population of the United States continues to age, the prevention of elder financial abuse remains an important issue, and one that the Financial Services Institute (FSI) is committed to advancing. On an annual basis, elder citizens throughout the U.S. lose $2.6 billion due to elder financial abuse.
Since 2006, June 15 has been recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This year, members of FSI staff joined local, national and international leaders for the First Global Summit on World Elder Abuse Awareness.
Our independent financial services firms and financial advisor members are often on the front lines in detecting and reporting elder abuse. Last year, we launched our online resource center, which is aimed at educating our members on the issue of elder financial abuse. The resource center also provides abuse reporting information for all 50 states. This information is vital in assisting our members in fighting the proliferation of elder abuse.
In recognition of our efforts, FSI has been invited by NASAA to take part in NASAA’s advisory council to its Committee on Senior Investors and Diminished Capacity. We look forward to continuing the important work of the Council, including possible best practices and other guidance.
Recently the SEC’s Office of Investor Protection and Advocacy, along with the CFPB’s Office for Older Americans, issued an Investor Bulletin and Consumer Advisory: “Planning for Diminished Capacity and Illness.” The advisory provides helpful tips to investors and their loved ones on preparing for a time when they may no longer be able to manage their own finances.
Some of the advice includes: organizing important documents, ensuring account statements have accurate information and organizing insurance policies and retirement plan documents. In addition, the advisory suggests involving loved ones or even creating a durable financial power of attorney, in the event of diminished mental capacity. Read the full advisory.
By working together we can increase investor protection and prevent elder financial abuse – a goal very worthy of our time and efforts.