Legislation making it easier for financial advisors to report financial exploitation against the elderly was approved as part of a larger bill by the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday night by a vote of 16-7.

Specifically, the legislation would provide civil and administrative immunity to financial services firms and advisors so they are able to report potential abuses against seniors to government organizations without violating privacy laws.

Provisions of the Senior$afe Act were included in the Senate Banking Committee’s markup of The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (S.2155), which was approved by the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday night. The House Financial Services Committee passed its bill, H.R. 3758, authored by Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), 60-0, in October.

An advisor would have to receive training on the identification and reporting of suspected elderly exploitation from their firm in order to be immune from liability, under provisions in both bills.

Passage of the legislation marks a major step forward in the protection of seniors from financial abuses and represents a victory for a number of leading industry associations that have lobbied for the act for several years. The Financial Services Institute (FSI) brought 100 financial advisors to Capitol Hill to lobby lawmakers for passage of the legislation.

“The [Senior$afe]  Act is a critical step in preventing elder financial abuse nationwide,” David Bellaire, FSI’s executive vice president and general counsel, said in a statement Wednesday morning.

By providing civil and administrative immunity to financial services firms and advisors, the legislation would clear the way for financial professionals to report potential abuse to regulators and government organizations without the threat of violating privacy laws, Bellaire said.

The bill “also standardizes training to help identify and report instances of suspected abuse. FSI has been working diligently with both the House and Senate to get this important legislation passed, and we will continue to do so until the president signs it into law,” he added.

American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) President and CEO Dirk Kempthorne hailed the passage of the bill as “constructive public policy."

“By encouraging the reporting of suspected fraud, the Senior$afe Act improves the ability of companies to work with regulators to protect seniors from losing their retirement savings,” Kempthorne said in a statement Wednesday morning.

The Senior$afe Act of 2017, S.223, was authored in the Senate by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and shepherded through the committee by Chairman Mike Crapo (S-Idaho).