FAIR Canada and the Canadian Centre for Elder Law are continuing to work on a joint one-year project that’s funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario Access to Justice Fund.
The project, which was developed to deal with issues such as elder financial abuse, aims to develop a system in which Canadian financial services firms and advisors can more easily and knowledgeably take steps to protect vulnerable, aging consumers.
FAIR Canada and CCEL released a consultation paper in April 2017 that discussed protective action for vulnerable investors. On June 2, FAIR Canada’s COO and director of Policy, Marian Passmore, participated in a Q&A about the project.
They say their final report, based on consultations between April and June, will be ready in August.
In particular, these two situations are considered critical by the two organizations:
- Situations where immediate financial decisions or actions that involves consumers’ investments or savings must be made. In a post, FAIR Canada says it’s a particularly tough situation when “the consumer appears to lack the mental capacity necessary to make financial decisions about their investments or bank/savings accounts due to dementia or other forms of diminished mental capacity.” Read: People have the right to refuse capacity assessments, say experts and A doctor explains how to spot incapacity
- Situations where consumers have provided instructions to, for example, liquidate positions and withdraw or transfer funds, but where their advisors or firms have reason to suspect consumers are being taken advantage of financially.
Advisors and their firms need to know where to turn, says FAIR Canada, because they’re “already concerned about a Catch-22: either they report suspected issues and may possibly be sued for the breach of disclosure of confidentiality or privacy, or they do nothing and risk being liable for failure to prevent the abuse or taking instructions from someone who may not have the mental capacity to give them.”