As investment fraud continues to be a growing concern, consumers are being encouraged by financial service providers to name a “trusted contact,” a person who can be contacted if there is a suspicion of fraud, cognitive decline, or other unusual activity.

Starting next month, Vista will be reaching out to clients ages 62 and older to request they name a trusted contact for our records.

What is a trusted contact?

A trusted contact is a person you authorize Vista to contact in limited circumstances, such as if we have trouble reaching you after repeated attempts or have a reasonable belief your account may be exposed to possible financial exploitation or fraud.

Why designate a trusted contact?

While you are not required to have a trusted contact, establishing one adds another layer of protection toward keeping your accounts safe. A trusted contact can help Vista move quickly and decisively to address our concerns about your well-being, including suspicions of fraudulent activity or abuse.

When would we reach out to a trusted contact?

Vista might reach out to your trusted contact in the following instances:

  • If we are reasonably concerned you are vulnerable and are being financially exploited.
  • If you are experiencing health issues and we need to confirm your well-being.
  • If we need to contact you but cannot after multiple and repeated attempts.
  • If we need to confirm the identity of any legal guardian, executor, trustee, or holder of a power of attorney on your accounts.

What is a trusted contact empowered to do?

A trusted contact is someone who can help us reach you and who is familiar with your whereabouts and general well-being. They can add useful context to our questions, observations, or concerns about you.

A trusted contact does not have any authority to act on your behalf, execute transactions, or engage in activity in your account. A trusted contact does not become a power of attorney, legal guardian, trustee or executor simply by virtue of being a trusted contact. We will not share financial or other sensitive personal information about you with them.

We simply want to know whom you trust, and to gain your permission to contact them if we have concerns about your well-being and are unable to contact you.

Who can be a trusted contact?

Trusted contacts are typically family members or close friends who are at least 18 years old.

We suggest you designate a person who is likely to understand your current situation and who isn’t already authorized to conduct business or receive information on your behalf—in other words, someone other than your spouse or partner.

Toward Greater Peace of Mind

Maintaining the privacy and security of your accounts is an important part of our work as financial advisors. This is, in part, why we’ve chosen to custody your assets at Charles Schwab & Company, and why we’ve adopted rigorous security measures for our internal systems.

If we ever suspect you may be a victim of elder abuse or fraud, or if we have concerns about your cognitive ability, or if we simply can’t reach you after multiple and repeated attempts, we want to know who we can contact to help us determine the best course of action.

We encourage all clients to name one trusted contact as a proactive way to protect you and your assets when the unexpected occurs.

As always, if you have questions, please contact a member of your Vista team.