IFIC has proposed a series of measures aimed at helping advisors support aging clients.
The proposals are contained in a submission made in response to the consultation paper “Improving Detection, Prevention and Response to Senior Financial Abuse in New Brunswick,” which was issued by the Financial and Consumers Services Agency in November 2017.
“We commend New Brunswick for taking a leadership role in protecting older investors,” says IFIC president and CEO Paul C. Bourque, in a release. “IFIC has developed significant expertise in this area. Our recommendations would better enable financial services firms to protect the financial wellbeing of their more vulnerable clients.”
IFIC’s submission makes several recommendations, including that:
- clear definitions of financial abuse and financial reporting be added to the Family Services Act and other relevant legislation;
- regulators develop “safe harbour” legislation to provide firms with clear guidance as to the steps they can take and to protect advisors and firms acting in good faith from civil and administrative liability;
- financial firms be required to make a reasonable effort to obtain the name of a trusted contact from clients—someone an advisor can speak with if they develop concerns about a client’s capacity or suspected exploitation;
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- government take a leadership role in creating a one-stop reporting agency for suspected cases of financial exploitation or reduced capacity when no alternative decision-maker is in place; and
- financial services firms be included in any discussions aimed at developing solutions.
Further, the submission outlines steps that IFIC is currently taking.
For example, IFIC has a task force dedicated to identifying and addressing issues affecting vulnerable investors. In addition, IFIC is developing a comprehensive toolkit to help advisors identify and respond to signs of cognitive decline. The materials will help advisors talk to clients and plan for managing clients’ financial affairs.