FINRA Rule 2165 focuses on preventing the financial exploitation of certain “specified adults”. The rule, put into effect on February 5, 2018, provides for a temporary hold on disbursement of funds or securities from the account of a specified adult. Two rule changes put into effect include reasonable efforts required to get in touch with a “trusted contact person” and the ability to put a hold on the funds.
A specified adult is defined as “a natural person age 65 and older; or a natural person age 18 and older who the member reasonably believes has a mental or physical impairment that renders the individual unable to protect his or her own interests.”
A temporary hold may be placed on disbursement of funds or securities of a specified adult’s account under certain circumstances:
1. “The member reasonably believes that financial exploitation of the Specified Adult has occurred, is occurring, has been attempted, or will be attempted;” and
2. “The member… provides notification orally or in writing… of the temporary hold and the reason for the temporary hold…;” and
3. “The member immediately initiates an internal review of the facts and circumstances that has caused the member to reasonably believe that the financial exploitation of the Specified Adult has occurred, is occurring, has been attempted, or will be attempted.”
The rule allows the member to get in touch with a “trusted contact person” about the hold on the account. A trusted contact person is the person who may be contacted about the Specified Adult’s account in accordance with Rule 4512. “The temporary hold authorized by this Rule will expire not later than 15 business days after the date” the hold was placed.
These provisions “will allow firms to investigate the matter and reach out to the customer, the trusted contact and, as appropriate, law enforcement or adult protective services, before disbursing funds when there is a reasonable belief of financial exploitation. It is a critical measure because of the difficulty investors face in trying to recover funds that they have inadvertently sent to fraudsters and scam artists.”