Today, June 15, 2015, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. To put a spotlight on the importance of the day, we’ve contacted advisor Christian Cordoba, president and founder of El Segundo-based California Retirement Advisors, who helped an elder client of his work through a very difficult fraud situation.
On the following pages, Cordoba, who offers securities through First Allied Securities, Inc., a registered broker/dealer, offers eleven important points about fraud so other financial professionals can better keep elder clients and their assets safe. 1. Recognize that exploitation is a reality, that people are making a living preying on the financial assets of the elderly, likely affecting one or more of your clients.
2. The demographics of the aging population makes this a looming risk you need to proactively safeguard your clients against.
3. Begin a program to communicate this issue to your clients regularly.
4. Put protocols in place and train your staff to recognize unusual distribution requests.
5. Attempt to encourage a “buddy” system for widows/widowers or any single elderly clients, especially those who do not have family, so they can be informed of each other’s financial situations, perhaps to the extent of granting them power of attorney.
6. Make certain POA forms are up to date and that any trust documentation addresses these issues.
7. Be certain that IRA custodians will recognize those POA documents, as many IRA custodians live by different rules.
8. Use technology to be able to better identify changes in values, not only of assets, but also liabilities (and not only of assets under management, but also those assets and liabilities held away).
9. Conduct family meetings to introduce family members to the client’s team of financial practitioners, so they know who to lean on in the event they notice something obscure and want to report it. This will also allow a method by which to meet family members and include them in meetings that would otherwise violate privacy policies.
10. Contact your broker/dealer to understand protocol and limitations in regard to privacy policies as they pertain to elder abuse situations.
11. Contact your local community resources to gain a better understanding and stay updated on possible solutions to this growing problem.