THROWBACK THURSDAY: What is a Trusted Contact, and should I have one?
BY STACEY GODWIN, CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER
Looking out for our clients’ best interest and being good stewards of their assets is our most important job. One thing we can suggest to help in this regard is that our clients name a Trusted Contact for their investment account(s). You may be wondering what a Trusted Contact is and why you should have one.
Earlier this year, regulators enacted new rules around protecting senior investors against financial abuse. One of the results of this regulation is that brokers and custodians are now encouraging clients to choose a person who can be contacted if fraudulent activity, financial exploitation, diminished mental capacity or other situations arise and we’re unable to work directly with the client. You may have already received information from your custodian about this topic and possibly even named a Trusted Contact. If not, we highly recommend you consider doing so in the near future.
You may be wondering who you should consider naming as a Trusted Contact. Anyone serving in this capacity should be at least 18 years of age. We typically see clients name family members, close friends, trusted accountants or attorneys…..basically anyone you trust and would be in a position to answer questions about a concerning situation that might arise about your finances or personal affairs. There are no hard and fast rules related to who should be appointed to this role. We do advise that you carefully consider who you choose and be sure it’s someone you completely trust to act in your best interest given any information they’re provided about your situation.
It’s important to note that Trusted Contacts are not given any rights to your account information. This means they will not be able to see or receive information about your account(s), execute any transactions or view/inquire about account activity unless they have already been designated as an authorized party on your account(s). Their role is to act as a liaison between the custodian, adviser and our mutual client if we’re unable to discuss questionable situations that arise directly with the client or have reason to believe the client doesn’t have the mental capacity to act in their own best interest.
Designating a Trusted Contact is beneficial to investors of all ages, but particularly useful for senior investors. It’s never too early to consider naming someone to fill this role. Please contact MONTAG for more information about adding a Trust Contact to your account(s). Our friendly and helpful staff can assist with this task and answer any questions you may have.