On May 23, 2019 a fact sheet was released to help raise awareness on the immunity provisions of the Senior Safe Act which was passed one-year ago. The Act protects “covered financial institutions” defined as credit unions, depository institutions, investment advisers, broker-dealers, insurance companies, insurance agencies, and transfer agents from liability in any civil or administrative proceeding where eligible employees make a report about the potential exploitation of a senior citizen to a covered agency. The immunity established is provided on the condition that (1) certain employees receive training on how to identify and report exploitive activity against seniors before making a report, and (2) reports of suspected exploitation are made “in good faith” and “with reasonable care.”
The types of employees eligible for immunity are:
- A supervisor or an employee in a compliance or legal function; or
- A registered representative, investment adviser representative, or insurance producer.
While the Act does not mandate that employees must be trained, to qualify for the immunity provided training must be provided to and completed by the employees eligible for immunity and employees who may come into contact with a senior citizen or who may review or approve financial documents, records, or transactions of a senior citizen.
Training requirements must:
- Instruct on how to identify and report the suspected exploitation of a senior citizen internally and to government officials or law enforcement authorities, including common signs that indicate financial exploitation;
- Discuss the need to protect the privacy and respect the integrity of each customer; and
- Be appropriate to the responsibilities of the individual attending.
Training for current employees should be conducted as soon as reasonably practical. For new employees or affiliates or associates of the covered institution training should be conducted no later than one year from the date of hire, affiliation, or association. Records of who completed the training and content of the training must be maintained.
Immunity is provided to an eligible employee who has received the training and made a disclosure in good faith and with reasonable care. A covered financial institution also receives institutional immunity when an eligible employee makes a disclosure and all employees have received training as required under the Act. The immunity provided by the Act applies only to a covered institution or employee, as described above, but not to a third party.