The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) aims to prevent the use of any misleading and deceptive financial certifications and designations by recommending that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) create a rating system for financial certifications and designations.
The goal is to set a specific standard to help both seniors and other consumers get accurate financial advice from trustworthy financial advisors. This rating system will give consumers a tool to identify and avoid fraudulent advisors.
This recommendation is a result of a new survey – the Senior Americans Financial Exploitation Survey – conducted online by the CFP Board in July and August 2012 wherein a total of 2,649 CFP® practitioners participated. The survey revealed that almost half of the participating CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificants have worked with senior clients who have experienced abusive and deceptive practices while obtaining financial advice or during the sale of financial products.
CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller shares, “Older Americans have already given many years of hard work and dedication – raising families, serving in the military, building businesses – all to become one of our most financially secure generations. This survey reveals the pervasive financial abuse victimizing America’s seniors. CFP Board applauds the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for its focus on this problem and urges the Bureau to take prompt action to reduce the use of misleading certifications and designations and work with other federal and state regulators on legislative and regulatory policies to protect older Americans.”
The survey results were forwarded to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) as evidence and support for the recommendations by the CFP Board to help prevent the financial abuse of seniors.
Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis, Managing Director of Public Policy and Communications, also shared that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires the Bureau, through its Office of Older Americans, to provide recommendations to Congress and the SEC regarding effective ways for dealing with this problem. “We look forward to talking with them further about our ideas,” she says. “There are so many [designations] out there that it is impossible for seniors or any consumers at all, myself included, to parse them. There is no rating agency that rates these against any standards.”
A resolution to this problem will include not only establishing a rating system and providing education for all types of consumers, but also passing legislation and regulatory reform to put a stop to these abusive practices.