Certification alone is not enough to make one qualified to advise seniors making important financial decisions, several industry groups told the Senate Special Committee on Aging in advance of a Sept. 5 hearing, and more should be done to ensure consumers are receiving the help they need.
The committee’s interest in the issue arose from media reports of seniors being advised to make unsuitable purchases of annuities from advisors using titles such as “senior expert” that require little, if any, substantial training. (See story above.)
In a memo to Committee Chairman Herb Kohl, D-Wis., National Association for Fixed Annuities Executive Director Kim O’Brien said the group “fully supports any activity that protects individuals from purchasing products that do not help fulfill their financial and retirement objectives” and opposes any unethical sales practices.
“As the Committee is aware there are many designations and certifications available to anyone who sells registered security products and regulated insurance products,” she said. “NAFA highly recommends continuous and rigorous education and training for everyone selling these products. One simply cannot be too educated or trained.”
The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors also noted that a designation does not necessarily indicate an advisor’s ethics. In a statement for the committee, NAIFA said its members “believe that the possession or use of a particular professional designation or certification by an advisor should not, in and of itself, create a presumption about the qualifications or ethics of the advisor.”