In any industry, there are a small percentage of unscrupulous salespeople who act in their own best interest at the expense of their customers. In our industry, the bad apples are the ones who push unsuitable products on seniors in order to garner high commissions.

With America’s 78 million baby boomers becoming more and more focused on retirement planning every day, the mainstream media knows articles about unethical business practices directed toward seniors will attract a lot of interest, so this small minority ends up bringing an unbalanced amount of negative attention to the industry with their conduct.

We know the vast majority of advisors who specialize in the senior market really do have the best interest of their clients at heart, and they work hard at matching products with those who can best benefit from them. Most providers have rigorous compliance and suitability standards in place designed to prevent the kinds of abuses outlined in articles such as Charles Duhigg’s July 8 New York Times article, “For Elderly Investors, Instant Experts Abound.”

As a byproduct of these types of articles, annuity products frequently receive an undeserved black eye based on sweeping generalizations that are often inaccurate.

As an industry, we need to explore ideas to better combat this consistent negative attention. We need to confront the issues head-on and create solutions to troubling issues such as the saturation of industry designations, compliance standards and media (and public) misconceptions about annuities and their commission structures.

Senior Market Advisor remains committed to being a strong advocate for ethical business practices. Through our editorial content we consistently promote the idea of always doing the right thing for the client.

We want to encourage the dissemination of ideas and provide forums for industry professionals to express their opinions on these crucial issues. Along these lines, we have devoted space this month, beginning on page 44, to share the responses from four industry groups to issues raised in the July 8 Times article. If you would like to sound off on these topics, visit our forums at www.SeniorMarketAdvisor.com or send a letter to the editor at feedback@seniormarketadvisor.com.

The best solutions to complex issues often spawn from the sharing of ideas. Let’s share.