The CFPB, through its Office of Financial Protection for Older Americans, has issued a report to Congress and the SEC that makes recommendations for informing older consumers about the legitimacy of certifications of financial advisers to seniors, assisting older consumers in selecting the most appropriate financial adviser, and enabling older consumers to verify a financial adviser’s credentials.  The report was mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. 

The report draws on information received by the CFPB in response to a request for information it published last summer seeking comments on a series of questions dealing with various topics related to seniors, including  financial adviser certifications and designations.  The report finds that consumers are confused by the names and acronyms of numerous senior adviser designations and that there is a wide range of training, qualification requirements and oversight associated with different designations, and a lack of comprehensive enforcement for ensuring senior designations are not used to mislead or harm consumers. 

Among the CFPB’s recommendations are for federal and state regulators to implement rigorous criteria for acquiring senior designations, set strict standards of conduct for those using such designations, and increase their use of supervisory and enforcement authority to stop misleading or other improper conduct by holders of such designations. 

As we have previously commented, we think helping older Americans avoid financial exploitation is one of the CFPB’s most worthwhile Dodd-Frank mandates.  We hope the report helps to advance that mandate.