NASAA Members to Offer Resources to Help Investment Professionals Work with Clients Affected by the Opioid Epidemic

WASHINGTON, DC, June 14, 2019 – The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) today released resources for use by its members to raise awareness of the impact of the opioid epidemic on investment professionals and their clients, especially senior investors. The announcement was made in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15).

“The opioid crisis in North America is devastating families and our communities. It is also a rising contributor to elder financial abuse and investment professionals are often the first to see the signs of this type of exploitation,” said Michael S. Pieciak, NASAA President and Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation. “Regulators have a responsibility to educate and provide resources to investment professionals as they confront these challenging situations.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2017 declared opioid abuse a public health emergency and estimated in 2017 that 11.4 million Americans misused prescription opioids. Recent research by Virginia Tech’s Center for Gerontology and the Elder Justice Coalition identified a connection between opioid abuse and elder abuse, including financial exploitation.

Pieciak said NASAA members – state and provincial securities regulators throughout North America – now have two new resources to help raise awareness of how the opioid crisis impacts investment professionals and their clients.

The first is a guide to help investment professionals understand the many ways opioid use disorder might affect their clients, how to spot signs of financial exploitation, and how to help clients affected by opioid abuse. NASAA members will make available versions of the guide customized with individual state or provincial resources. The second resource is a checklist of questions financial professionals can use to help start a conversation with clients about the financial ramifications of opioid addiction.

“Investment adviser representatives and broker-dealer agents are well positioned to be part of the solution, but they have to be prepared to talk to clients in crisis,” said Judith Shaw, Maine Securities Administrator and chair of NASAA’s board-level Senior Issues and Diminished Capacity Committee. Pieciak said. “The cost of opioid addiction and treatment can have major financial ramifications. Clients facing opioid addiction – either themselves or within the family – may be strapped for resources and can be vulnerable to poor financial decision-making or even fraud.”

To request a copy of these resources, please contact your state or provincial securities regulator. Contact information is available on NASAA’s website, Generic samples of each resource are available in the Industry Resources area of the NASAA website.

For More Information:
Bob Webster | Director of Communications

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