Senator Kelli Stargel, the Deputy Majority (Republican) Leader of the Florida Senate, today filed Senate Bill 662, which seeks to add Section 517.34 to the Florida Securities and Investor Protection Act found in Chapter 517 of the Florida Statutes.
The bill is entitled, “Protection of Specified Adults.” A “specified adult” is defined as someone age 65 or older, or someone defined as a “vulnerable adult” in Chapter 415 of the Florida Statutes, which relates to adult protective services. A “vulnerable adult” is defined in Section 415.102(28) of the Florida Statutes as a “person 18 years of age or older whose ability to perform the normal activities of daily living or to provide for his or her own care or protection is impaired due to a mental, emotional, sensory, long-term physical, or developmental disability or dysfunction, or brain damage, or the infirmities of aging.” §415.102(28), Fla. Stat. (2017).
Among other things, the bill contains a provision allowing a securities dealer, investment advisor or associated person to place a temporary hold on a transaction in regard to an account of a “specified adult,” as long as the dealer, investment advisor, or associated person has a good faith belief that exploitation of the specified adult has occurred, is occurring or has been attempted in regard to the transaction for which the temporary hold is placed. If the bill ultimately becomes law, Florida will join the ranks of those states that have adopted similar provisions.
Senate Bill 662 requires the dealer, investment advisor, or associated person placing the temporary hold to notify Florida’s Department of Children and Families through its central abuse hotline within three business days after placing the temporary hold. The bill also requires the dealer, investment advisor or associated person to notify all persons authorized to transact business on the account of the temporary hold, unless any such person is the one suspected of engaging in the financial exploitation of the specified adult. The temporary hold will expire 15 business days after the date on which it is placed, unless the dealer, investment advisor, or associated person extends the hold for ten days based upon a continued good faith belief regarding the facts supporting the suspected exploitation.
Senate Bill 662 provides immunity from civil, criminal or administrative liability in regard to any dealer, investment advisor or associated person who takes action under its provisions. Of equal significance, the bill specifically provides that it may not be construed to create new rights or obligations on the part of a dealer, investment advisor or associated person or to limit the right of a dealer, investment advisor or associated person to refuse to place a hold on a transaction.
Bressler, Amery & Ross, P.C., will provide timely updates in regard to this new Florida legislation as developments occur.