Financial exploitation of vulnerable adults is a serious and often unreported problem. A recent study found that 1 out of every 5 individuals over the age of 65 have been a victim of financial exploitation. The same study found that there was approximately $6 billion dollars in losses or attempted losses incurred by victims of senior financial exploitation. In addition to depleting investors’ savings, it has been reported that the mortality rate of financial exploitation victims is three times higher than those whom have not been exploited.
There are ways to avoid and stop vulnerable Iowa investors from becoming victims of financial exploitation. Legislation passed in 2021 helped to provide tools to industry professionals that will assist in detecting, responding to, and preventing financial exploitation of vulnerable Iowa investors. The Iowa Insurance Division investigates reports of suspected financial exploitation received from broker-dealers and investment advisers.
In 2021, the Iowa Legislature created Article 8 of Iowa code chapter 502, which provides a tool to help detect and prevent financial exploitation of vulnerable Iowa investors. The law allows qualified individuals to delay a disbursement or transaction when the qualified individual reasonably believes financial exploitation of an eligible adult has occurred, has been attempted, or is being attempted and creates a reporting avenue to the Iowa Insurance Division. More details on the law are provided below, and the precise language is in Article 8 of Iowa code chapter 502.
What is financial exploitation?
Any act or omission taken by a person to wrongfully and knowingly deprive an eligible adult of money, assets, or property, or to obtain control over or otherwise use, convert, or divert the benefits, property, resources, or assets of the eligible adult by intimidation, deception, coercion, fraud, extortion, or undue influence.
Who is a qualified individual?
An agent, investment adviser representative, or person who serves in a supervisory, compliance, senior investor protection, or legal capacity for either a broker-dealer or investment adviser.
Who is an eligible adult?
- A person 65 years of age or older; or
- A dependent adult, defined as a person 18 or older who is unable to protect the person’s own interests or unable to adequately perform or obtain services necessary to meet essential human needs, as a result of a physical or mental condition which requires assistance from another
The statute provides immunity from administrative or civil liability for qualified individuals. A disbursement or transaction from an account of an eligible adult may be delayed by a qualified individual for up to 15 business days if financial exploitation is suspected. The delay can be extended an additional 10 business days if requested by the Iowa Insurance Division.
Notification can be made to a permissible third party previously designated by the client of the suspected financial exploitation, unless the third party is suspected of the financial exploitation or other abuse of the eligible adults.
Broker-dealers, investment advisers, and qualified individuals are encouraged to make reports of suspected financial exploitation pursuant to this new law. If you wish to report an incident of suspected financial exploitation of an eligible adult, please complete the Senior Financial Exploitation Reporting form, or contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (515) 654-6600, option 5.
A broker-dealer or investment adviser must ensure qualified individuals are trained before they are eligible for immunity against administrative or civil liability arising from a delay in a disbursement or transaction. The law mandates certain criteria be covered in the training as well as the timeframe for training current and new employees. More details on the training are provided below, and the precise language for training requirements is in Iowa code section 502.808.
Who should receive the training?
Qualified individuals, which include agents, investment adviser representatives, or persons who serve in a supervisory, compliance, senior investor protection, or legal capacity for either a broker-dealer or investment adviser.
Training must be appropriate to the job responsibilities of the qualified individual, and must provide instruction on all of the following:
- How to identify the suspected or attempted exploitation of an eligible adult, including common signs or red flags of the financial exploitation of an eligible adult; and
- Privacy and confidentiality requirements
A broker-dealer or investment adviser must provide training
- As soon as reasonably practicable; or at least
- Within one year after the date the qualified individual began employment or became affiliated with the broker-dealer or investment adviser
The Iowa Insurance Division is available to provide senior financial exploitation training to broker-dealers, investment advisers, and qualified individuals, free of charge. Our training focuses on equipping attendees with the tools to identify senior financial exploitation and with an understanding of the reporting process, but can be tailored at your request. To schedule training, please contact us by emailing email@example.com or by calling 515-654-6600, option 5.
The Iowa Insurance Division intends to host more training with featured guests in the future. If you'd like to be added to our list to be notified of future training opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.