Quick Reference Guide


  • Identify which persons are covered under state laws designed to fight financial exploitation. (pp. 6-7)
  • Identify types of clients who might warrant additional safeguards from financial exploitation, such as those nearing age 65 or exhibiting signs of cognitive decline. (p. 7)


  • Train frontline personnel (call center staff, financial advisors, branch office staff) to recognize red flags for diminished capacity and financial exploitation. (pp. 9-10)
  • Train frontline personnel how to communicate with persons experiencing reduced cognition. (pp. 7-8)
  • Ask appropriate questions when there are red flags in a manner that always strives to maintain the client’s dignity and independence.
  • Train frontline personnel on the legal definitions of financial exploitation applicable in their state. (pp. 6-7)
  • Develop an internal escalation and reporting protocol. (pp. 13-14)



  • Know the reporting obligations for your jurisdiction (s). (pp. 12)
    • Some states make every “person” in that state a mandated reporter.
  • Know whether it is the individual’s obligation or the firm’s obligation to report financial exploitation.
    • Even if not required to report, protect your client by reporting whenever there is a reasonable belief that a client has been or is being financially exploited or abused.
  • Learn what required information is necessary for a report—who, what, when and where. (pp. 14)
    • Use NASAA’s ServeOurSeniors.org website to get reporting information for Adult Protective Services.
  • Develop clear, detailed internal procedures for reporting, including escalation protocols or incorporate such procedures into existing written supervisory procedures. (pp. 13-14)
    • Develop standard internal reporting forms for accurate and consistent reporting.
    • Consider establishing a specialized unit to monitor activity in accounts of vulnerable customers and clients.


  • Develop procedures to encourage clients to utilize customized advance directives, joint accounts, or designation of trusted contacts.
    • Design procedures to achieve compliance with federal and state privacy laws.
    • Make sure designations direct what information can be shared, what authority is conferred, and under what conditions.
    • Consider including the authority to provide notification of suspected cognitive decline.


  • Develop procedures for internal review and decision making before, during, and after a delay of disbursement of customer funds from an account.
    • Include process for the conduct of any internal review related to disbursement delays.
    • Do not withhold funds longer than is permissible under applicable laws or is reasonably required by the situation in the absence of legal provisions.


  • Develop strong working relationships with local Adult Protective Services agencies and encourage communications between APS and state securities regulators.
  • Provide records requested by APS and law enforcement in a timely and complete manner.

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