Elder abuse affects hundreds of thousands of people every year, and often goes undetected or unreported. Sadly, elder abuse can happen at home or in any community setting and can be caused by family, friends, paid care providers, staff or any person in a position of authority and trust. It’s not just physical abuse – for many seniors, it’s their financial savings that are at risk. Investment advisors often hold a place of trust and have a responsibility to ensure that the best interests of clients – particularly those that are vulnerable – are protected.
That’s why the Canadian Securities Administrators recently introduced a new industry standard – a Trusted Contact Person (TCP) – to help investment advisors protect their vulnerable clients. A TCP is someone who can be contacted if an advisor feels their client is being exploited or experiencing financial abuse.
From now on, when you open an account or updates your personal information, an investment advisor should ask if there is a Trusted Contact Person that can be added to your account to make sure you are protected from financial fraud or exploitation.
What is a TCP?
A trusted contact person is someone you trust will contact your investment advisor if they are concerned you are experiencing financial abuse or exploitation – or if he or she feels poor financial decisions are being made out of character.
Who can be a TCP?
A trusted contact may be any one of the following:
- Close friend or family member
- Another third party who you believe would respect your privacy and know how to handle the responsibility
To set up your chosen TCP with your investment advisor, you’ll need to know your contact’s phone number and physical address and confirm their relationship to you.
How is a TCP different from a Power of Attorney?
It’s also important to remember that a TCP is not the same as a power of attorney (POA) – an individual you should also appoint and ensure your investment advisor has a record of. Unlike a POA, your TCP does not have the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf. However, this person can alert your investment advisor if he or she doesn’t believe a POA is acting in your best interest.
Who needs a TCP?
Seniors or other vulnerable people who may be more susceptible to financial fraud or age-related mental health issues should ensure they have a TCP in place, but it’s also another layer of safety for anyone. Having a trusted contact also puts your investment advisor in a better position to help keep your finances safe.
When should I appoint a TCP?
The best time to choose a TCP is when you open an account, but you can add this information to your account by completing the TCP form with your investment advisor when you update your personal information.
If you know someone who could benefit from assigning a TCP, be sure to share this information with them.