New Jersey became the latest state to pass a law to better protect senior citizens from financial exploitation.
Gov. Phil Murphy, D, signed the Safeguarding Against Financial Exploitation Act last week. Under the new law, a qualified individual who reasonably believes that financial exploitation of an eligible adult has occurred would be required to notify the Bureau of Securities as well as any applicable county adult protective services provider.
A “qualified individual” is any agent, investment adviser representative or other person that serves in a supervisory, compliance, or legal capacity for a broker-dealer or investment advisor.
“Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for senior citizens to be taken advantage of by people seeking to take their money, property, assets or identities,” said Assemblyman John McKeon, D-Essex, Morris, in a statement. “These crimes often go unreported and untracked. The good news is financial exploitation can be prevented with the right protections in place.”
McKeon was a prime backer of the legislation. The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors’ New Jersey chapter also lobbied hard for the law.
“A law such as this is one more tool the professional members of NAIFA-NJ will have to keep older adults safe," said NAIFA-NJ President Corrado Gugliotta.
The law also allows a broker-dealer or investment advisor to delay disbursement from an eligible adult’s account if it may result in financial exploitation. In so doing, the broker-dealer or investment advisor would be immune from any administrative or civil liability.
A study published by MetLife Mature Market Institute last year estimates the financial loss by victims of elder financial crimes and exploitation at more than $2.9 billion dollars annually.
Since 2018, more than two dozen states have enacted legislation to protect senior citizens from fraud, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.