Our nation’s growing senior population means that an increasing number of older adults will need help managing their household wealth, retirement accounts and other assets. In response, more financial advisors are claiming to be experts on the financial needs of older adults. But according to a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the confusion arising from the many types of financial advisors who put the term “senior” in their title puts older consumers at risk of fraud. The report found that many such advisors lack expertise in senior financial issues, and some may in reality be little more than high-pressure salesmen.
The report, “Senior Designations for Financial Advisors: Reducing Consumer Confusion and Risks,” http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201304_CFPB_OlderAmericans_Report.pdf revealed that:
- The variety of titles and acronyms of senior designations confuse seniors.
- There is a wide variation in the training and qualification process and regulation associated with different titles.
- There is a need for a single authority to ensure that those using the “senior” designation do not mislead or harm consumers, selling them inappropriate investment and financial products or otherwise defrauding them.
According to CFPB director Richard Cordray, the report “underscores the need for consistent high-level standards of training and conduct for those advisors who want to acquire a bona fide senior designation.”
What can seniors and families do now to protect elder assets? Visit the CFPB’s Financial Protection for Older Americans web page (www.consumerfinance.gov/older-americans) to learn more about selecting a financial advisor [optional link to: http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201311_cfpb_flyer_senior-financial-advisors.pdf ] and to find information on other senior financial issues.
Copyright © AgeWise, reporting on information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 2014