Salem Oregon Capitol BuildingThe Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) and its Division of Financial Regulation (DFR) announced that TK Keen, who has been serving as the acting administrator of DFR, has been officially appointed administrator of the division. According to DCBS and DFR, Mr. Keen has been a deputy administrator with DFR since 2015.

DFR is responsible for licensing and regulating certain investments professionals and investments in Oregon. DFR also licenses and regulates other industries in the state, including check cashing businesses and pawnbrokers.

DFR has resources for investors and retirees to learn about investing and to report investment and consumer fraud. DFR also provides easy access to check whether an investment advisor, stockbrocker, or other investment professional is licensed.

check mark image with workersIn an October 29, 2020, regulatory notice, FINRA announced the adoption of a new rule that creates new requirements before any person associated with a firm regulated by FINRA obtains power of attorney or is named a beneficiary, executor, or trustee for or on behalf of a customer. Rule 3241 now requires firms regulated by FINRA to review and approve or disapprove any such status or role by a registered person associated with the firm.

The rule is intended to limit conflicts of interest that arise when a broker or registered representative is a customer’s beneficiary, executor, trustee, or has power of attorney. These conflicts are problematic and dangerous for any investor, but especially for elderly and unsophisticated investors. In explaining the new rule, FINRA said many member firms already address this potential conflict by prohibiting or imposing limitations on an associated person from being named as a beneficiary or to a position of trust when there is not a family relationship with the customer. FINRA added, “Nonetheless, FINRA observed situations where registered representatives tried to circumvent firm policies, such as resigning as a customer’s registered representative, transferring the customer to another registered representative, or having the customer name the registered representative’s spouse or child as the customer’s beneficiary.”

By requiring the registered person to provide written notice of such proposed status to the member firm and receive written approval from the firm, the new rule may provide limited additional protection for investors.