June 15, 2012

CFPB Launches Fact-Finding Mission on Elder Abuse

CFPB director Cordray wants input on how seniors can best determine the legitimacy of advisors’ credentials

Photo: AP Photo: AP

As the White House was holding a symposium on Thursday to raise awareness of elder abuse, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued the same day a request for information (RFI) on the many ways in which older Americans are financially exploited and about the best practices for elder financial management.

Richard Cordray, director of CFPB, wrote in his Thursday blog that Congress gave the CFPB’s Office for Older Americans a “broad mandate” to look out for that group's financial interests. As part of that work, he said, “we are keenly focused on the important issue of financial abuse and exploitation of the elderly.”

He cited a recent study that found that seniors lost at least $2.9 billion to financial exploitation in 2010. “Unfortunately, it is a growing trend,” Cordray said. “From 2008 to 2010, there was a 12% increase in the amount of money scammed from seniors.”

The CFPB wants to hear from the public—especially people working directly with seniors—about these issues, Cordray wrote. In particular, he said, “we want input on how seniors can best determine the legitimacy of the credentials of financial planners and advisors.”

Said Cordray: “As my office conducts its research on certifications and designations of senior financial advisors, the information we hope to gather here will give us a better picture of what is happening in the marketplace.”

The CFPB, he continued, is also seeking information on “what financial education, counseling or management programs are tailored to the unique needs of older Americans, their families and their caregivers. We want to know what programs exist and how effective they are.”

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Read Swindling the Elderly: a Real and Growing Problem on AdvisorOne.

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