Lessons from a State Securities Regulator and Adult Protective Services About Reporting Elder Abuse

January 25, 2020

Reading time : 4 minutes

Last week, RIA Compliance Consultants hosted a webinar entitled “How to Report Elder Abuse to Adult Protective Services” in which a state securities regulator and an official from a state’s adult protective services agency discussed how an investment adviser firm can more effectively report elder abuse and better protect its senior and vulnerable clients.

Here are a few key takeaways from “How to Report Elder Abuse to Adult Protective Services” which your investment adviser firm should consider and incorporate into its compliance manual and training:

  1. Quick report to both state securities regulator and adult protective services since not all financial scams of senior clients involve what is defined under state law as exploiting a vulnerable adult;
  2. If an investment adviser firm or its affiliated broker-dealer has an anti-money laundry (“AML”) program, the investment adviser firm/broker-dealer should file a SAR report (if applicable) and mark elder abuse;
  3. Check if an investment adviser firm or investment adviser representative is a mandatory reporters to adult protective services in the client’s state;
  4. Implement Senior Safe Act training (as outlined in the legislation) with the investment adviser firm’s supervised persons in order to obtain limited immunity for reporting elder abuse;
  5. Check with Adult Protective Services whether APS will forward the investment adviser firm’s report to local law enforcement for criminal investigation – make sure both civil and criminal authorities are notified of the elder abuse;
  6. When reporting to Adult Protective Services, an investment adviser firm should not make the chief compliance officer the sole reporter – include in the call to APS the individual(s) who actually witnessed the impaired behavior of client or the financial exploitation;
  7. When reporting to Adult Protective Service, an investment adviser firm should include the following
  • Recent observations of behavior that show impaired judgement and diminished cognitive functioning,
  • Nature of financial exploitation,
  • Previous exploitation, and
  • The alleged perpetrator
  1. Report each time there’s suspected exploitation or abuse even if previous reports aren’t acted upon or services are refused;
  2. Possible reason why some reports to adult protective services aren’t investigated is because the state may require a victim to meet the state’s “Vulnerable Adult” definition and the client might not Be “Vulnerable Adults”; and
  3. Financial exploitation is often accompanied by physical or sexual abuse – if someone is in immediate danger, the investment adviser firm and/or supervised person should contact 911.

A live viewer told us that “…that the webinar on Elder Abuse and APS was very informative and helpful.  It is a topic that is growing in importance and emphasis for all [investment advisers].”   RIA Compliance Consultants strongly encourages all investment adviser firms to listen to this webinar.

If your investment adviser firm has a subscription to our annual compliance program (Value, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum package), you can access a complimentary seat and listen to the recording via your online account with RCC.  Otherwise, an investment adviser can purchase this recorded webinar, “How to Report Elder Abuse to Adult Protective Services,” through our online store.

RIA Compliance Consultants has prepared the “Senior/Vulnerable Clients – Compliance Package” to assist firms in identifying and reporting abuse of senior and vulnerable clients. The documents included in the package are listed below. To see a description of the document, click on the title and follow the link.

  1. Senior/Vulnerable Clients – Training (PowerPoint)
  2. Senior/Vulnerable Clients – Training Quiz
  3. WSP/CoE Section Update – Protecting Older and Vulnerable Clients with Diminished Capacity
  4. Senior/Vulnerable Clients – Client Authorization to Communicate with Trusted Emergency Contact
  5. Senior/Vulnerable Clients – State Reporting Requirements
  6. Senior/Vulnerable Clients – Internal Reporting Form for Exploitation


The “Senior/Vulnerable Clients – Compliance Package” is available here. Additionally, any of these documents can be purchased a la carte here.

Finally, when reviewing its policies and procedures related to abuse of vulnerable clients, an investment adviser firm should also consider whether it has adequate policies and procedures to identify investment adviser representatives who have diminished capacity and mitigate such risks. RIA Compliance Consultants has prepared a checklist, Rep – Diminished Capacity of IAR (also referred to as Senior/Vulnerable Clients – Diminished Capacity of IAR), which assists in identifying some of the issues and best practices that an investment adviser firm should consider with respect to an investment adviser representative who may have diminished capacity or cognitive impairment.  This item can be purchased here.

If you have questions regarding these or any of the other services offered by RIA Compliance Consultants, please contact us at 877-345-4034.

Posted by Bryan Hill
Labels: Compliance Training, Elder Abuse, Nebraska, Sample Forms, Seniors, Vulnerable Client, Written Policies and Procedures