Immunity from Liability Under the Senior Safe Act

by Julie S. Mendel, Senior Product Manager | Sep 09, 2019
Elder Care Firm Element In May 2018 the Senior Safe Act (SSA) was signed into law. Recently, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) jointly published documentation on the immunity component of the SSA and the requirements surrounding immunity. This has put the spotlight directly on training to meet the needs of financial services professionals who work with senior investors.

A primary provision in the SSA is that of immunity in any civil or administrative matter brought as a result of an employee reporting actual or potential exploitation of a senior citizen to a covered agency. Financial institutions covered under the SSA include:
  • investment advisers
  • broker-dealers
  • transfer agents, and
  • eligible employees
Immunity under the SSA is provided only if certain employees receive appropriate training on identifying and reporting activity that could lead to, or has led to, exploitation of a senior and if that reporting is made in good faith and with reasonable care. Employees eligible for immunity under the SSA include:
  • Those who act as a supervisor or who serve in a compliance or legal capacity for a covered financial institution; or
  • Registered representatives, investment adviser representatives, or insurance producers affiliated or associated with a covered financial institution.
While the SSA has no training mandate, for immunity to be offered, training must be provided to, and completed by, eligible employees. This is particularly true for those employees that might have frequent contact with senior citizens and who might often have access to review or approve a senior citizen’s financial documents, records, or other financial transactions and services provided to senior citizens.

Under the SSA, the training that must be provided should be appropriate for the job responsibilities of the employee attending the training. Regulators require that the training instruct employees on:
  • identifying suspected exploitation of a senior citizen internally,
  • report that exploitation to government officials or law enforcement authorities, as appropriate, and
  • recognizing common signs that indicate the financial exploitation of a senior citizen.
It is in everyone’s best interest for you to protect yourself, your business, and your employees by ensuring proper training is in place and that everyone understands the reporting requirements and your firm policies on reporting suspected financial abuse of senior investors.

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