Here at Fort Pitt, we take pride in being proactive learners and doing our best to stay up to date on new ways that we can better serve our clients. Last week, Katrina Boyer from the Office of Investor Education and Consumer Outreach, a division of the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities, held a lunch and learn at our home office to share resources and insights on financial exploitation and ways that our advisors can help protect our clients.
Ms. Boyer provided our team with resources for what they should do if they suspect that a client is being exploited financially. As applicable for all residents in Pennsylvania, financial advisors can notify the state if they believe this is happening with one of the firm’s clients. Because of the trusted relationship between a client and an advisor, Fort Pitt is often on the frontlines of identifying red flags in our clients’ financial lives.
Aside from providing our staff with real life examples of elder financial abuse, Katrina also acknowledged that financial exploitation can start very subtly. This is why it’s critical for advisors to pay attention to their clients’ behaviors, requests and accounts. Some red flags advisors should be on the lookout for include clients who begin to isolate themselves, authorizations that allow someone new to communicate with Fort Pitt about an account and uncharacteristic decisions made by long-term clients about their accounts.
Although financial abuse is common among the elderly, it’s important to remember that any impaired individual can be taken advantage of. For example, a client who suffers from addiction, Alzheimer’s disease or who is financially vulnerable can be susceptible. A way to help prevent financial abuse is by designating a trusted contact to help keep your accounts safe.
It’s important for investors to not only have a financial advisor who is looking out for their best interests, but for the investor themselves to know how to protect their money and accounts from financial exploitation. Here are some additional resources from the Pennsylvania Department of Banking that may be useful for both financial advisors and investors:
- Opioid epidemic: Its impact on investment advisors, their clients, and firms
- Confessions of a scam artist
It’s always been the mission of our advisors to adhere to our fiduciary duties and work in the best interest of our clients. This is why the firm is very proactive and provides its advisors with these learning opportunities. Check out some of the photos from this lunch and learn below: