How to help senior clients avoid investment scams

By Staff | June 13, 2018 | Last updated on June 13, 2018
2 min read

Senior clients are more likely than younger clients to be approached by scam artists offering phony investments.

That finding comes from the Alberta Securities Commission’s latest investor index study.

The study finds that more than one-third of older Albertans (36%) report having been approached with a potentially fraudulent investment—higher than the average approach rate for all Albertans (26%). (In the study, older Albertans are defined as those aged 55 and over.)

Potentially adding to older investors’ vulnerability is a lack of feeling financially secure: one-fifth (about 22%) of older Albertans don’t feel secure, finds the study. More than one-quarter (29%) aren’t confident they have sufficient retirement funds, and 16% say they’ll require family’s financial support in retirement. A recent FPSC report had similar findings.

Read: Running out of money tops financial fears for seniors: report

“The pressure to secure a comfortable retirement in a short period of time or to ‘leave something for the kids’ can cause people to rush into investing decisions that are too good to be true,” says Alison Trollope, director, communications and investor education at the ASC, in a release.

On a positive note, financial security increases with financial literacy, finds the study—a key area where advisors can help. (The ASC says it made the connection between financial literacy and increased financial security, in part, by having respondents answer test questions and comparing results to respondents’ responses on security.)

Further, encouraging your older clients to have financial discussions could be beneficial, since more than half of older Albertans say they don’t talk to family or friends about finances. The lack of money talk indicates a potential vulnerability to abuse, says the ASC in the release.

About the survey: The investor index research was conducted by Innovative Research Group, Inc., between May 11 and 18, 2018. The research group surveyed 1,599 people living in Alberta and included an oversample of 750 Albertans aged 55+.

Also read:

When senior clients can’t—or won’t—retire

OSC seeking members for Seniors Expert Advisory Committee

Detecting capacity issues and undue influence staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.