Rick Ketchum, chairman and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, on Thursday pushed for states to allow advisors and other financial professionals to delay transactions by elderly clients they suspect are the victims of fraud.
Washington state already has such a law on the books. The Missouri state legislature has passed a similar bill and Alabama, Indiana and Florida are considering similar legislation, according to Ron Long, director at Wells Fargo Advisors.
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association has been working for years to get states to enact these laws.
The classic example of the kind of elder abuse Ketchum and other proponents are trying to stop is the “grandparent scam” in which a fraudster pretends to be a grandchild vacationing overseas and needs money wired desperately to get out of jail.
Mary Mack, the president of Wells Fargo Advisors, said there’s been a threefold increase in her advisors’ reports of elder financial fraud in three years.
She added she doesn’t know if this is because abuse has increased or the awareness and the willingness of advisors to report the problems has risen.
Ketchum’s and Mack’s comments came at a wide-ranging seminar on trends in the broker-dealer and advisor industries during the second day of Finra’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Ketchum said Finra has become more active in recent years in getting fraudsters out of the brokerage business.
“We want to get those people out of the industry and get them out quickly,” he said.
Mack said her unit at Wells Fargo is undertaking a massive review of all customer forms to make sure clients understand what they are being told.