Financial advisor helping a senior couple at home

AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, has expanded its BankSafe online training platform to include financial advisors. The platform, which had previously been limited to bank and credit union staff, provides participants with the knowledge and skills to better interact with older clients, identify red flags of financial exploitation and take steps to prevent financial exploitation.

The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) have signed on as founding distributors for the free training platform. 

These organizations, which collectively represent more than 300,000 financial advisors, are working with AARP to encourage their members to complete the training.

“Financial advisors are often some of the first people to spot financial exploitation,” said Kevin Mayeux, CEO of NAIFA, in a statement. “The BankSafe training provides them with everything they need to identify potential exploitation and take the right steps to stop it.”

Ken Bentsen, president and CEO of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said BankSafe will be available to all the trade group’s broker-dealer members “as they work to help protect their aging client base,” which is “a top, long-term priority” for the organization. 

“Working together with the financial services industry, we know this program will help protect millions of older adults from exploitation,” said AARP’s BankSafe National Director Jilenne Gunther in a statement.

AARP says BankSafe training has already better protected nearly 11 million consumers and stopped more than $23 million from exploitation.

Training for the program, available at no cost to U.S. financial advisors, is an interactive, 60-minute training that employees can complete in one sitting or at their own pace as they complete more than 20 education and training activities. It is designed to meet the unique needs and demands of client-facing staff.

The training was developed with help from more than 2,000 professionals from the financial industry, trade associations, adult protective service agencies, nonprofits, government organizations, regulators and the legal field, according to AARP. 

Investment firms that train at least 80% of their financial advisors on the program and confirm that they have a financial-exploitation escalation or reporting policy can apply to use an “AARP BankSafe Trained” seal in certain contexts.

The seal is not a product or service endorsement, but an indication that a firm’s front-line employees have been substantially trained in preventing financial exploitation, according to AARP. More  information about the training platform and registration instructions can be found at aarp.org/banksafe.