Trusted Contacts: Help Us Help You
Updated: Jul 27, 2022
Dear Clients and Friends,
They call us the Sandwich Generation. I'm in that phase where my kiddos still need oversight, while they are simultaneously gaining independence (one is in 10th grade and one is a freshman in college). I'm also finding that I need to keep an eye on my folks, as they are getting on in years. (Pop, I know you're reading this - you're doin' great! Firing on all cylinders!) We have safety measures in place while our kids are young, like baby gates, parental controls on smart phones, etc. In a similar fashion, the SEC is adding safety measures to our industry. While my dad knows enough to hang up on those pesky sales calls (even though he is more likely to try to give them some advice about their job choices), it’s all too easy to let your guard down under the deluge of scammers. In fact, according to SIFMA, 1 out of every 5 people over the age of 65 has fallen prey to some kind of scam, resulting in damages of over $2.9 billion per year.
In response to the rising incidence of elder abuse, the SEC’s FINRA division instituted a new rule in 2018, called the “Trusted Contact” rule. This rule requires us to ask you if you would like to name a Trusted Contact when you open any new account. Many of you have gotten this question from us already. Here is how FINRA defines it:
What is a trusted contact? A trusted contact is a person you authorize your financial firm to contact in limited circumstances, such as if there is a concern about activity in your account and they have been unable to get in touch with you. A trusted contact may be a family member, attorney, accountant or another third-party who you believe would respect your privacy and know how to handle the responsibility. You may establish more than one trusted contact.
It’s important to note that we will only reach out to a Trusted Contact if we’re concerned about your health, possible financial exploitation, or in order to confirm who might be your legal guardian, executor or power of attorney. A trusted contact does not have access to any of your account information.
How would this protect you? It's one more layer of security, just like a baby gate – you want to have it in place before something happens.
Our broker/dealer, Commonwealth Financial, has found that Trusted Contacts have stepped in and helped to avoid or lessen financial harm in many cases. According to a senior member of Commonwealth’s Fraud Team, “We’ve certainly had a number of situations where we’ve reached out to trusted contacts that proved to be successful. On several occasions, when clients had been the victims of romance scams, we contacted the trusted contact, who was a family member in those situations, and they were able to intervene and speak to the client about the scam. In those cases, it seemed to be more convincing to the client that the advisor, me, and a trusted family member were all explaining to them in separate conversations why they were involved in a scam. In some of those situations, that led the client to appointing the trusted contact person as their Power of Attorney so that they could help them with their finances and prevent further financial loss. In almost every conversation I’ve had with a trusted contact, they were extremely thankful that we reached out to them.”
We know our family of clients very well, but let’s add one more person who knows you very well to the team, just in case we see something out of the ordinary going on. If you have not already, please give us your Trusted Contact’s information (all we need is a name and phone number). For those of you who are friends of MORWM but are not clients, please reach out to your financial advisors and do the same. Even if you've yet to see your first gray hair (darn you) - get a Trusted Contact in place.
Like Jerry Maguire says, "Help me help you!"
Have a great weekend!
a.k.a. the Maternal Prime Minister
Director of Operations
MOR Wealth Management, LLC
1801 Market Street, Suite 2435
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Main: 267.930.8300 | Direct: 267.930.8304 | F: 267.284.4847 |
email@example.com | www.morwm.com
The majority of this content was written and distributed MOR Wealth Management, all rights reserved. Securities offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, Member FINRA/SIPC. Fixed insurance products and services offered through CES Insurance Agency.