Seniors are one of the fastest growing demographics in the country. Today’s seniors are healthier and wealthier than in the past but their unprecedented numbers, combined with longer life spans, mean that the prevalence of cognitive decline and elder financial exploitation will also rise, notes IFIC.
So in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which takes place tomorrow, IFIC has released two checklists aimed at helping advisors prepare for the challenges of working with aging investors – one on cognitive decline and the other on financial exploitation.
The checklists are grouped into three sections: how advisors can prepare to work with potentially vulnerable investors, what to watch for when advising these clients, and recommended actions to ensure the advisor and dealer are meeting their regulatory and legal obligations.
“From an advisor perspective, the keys to supporting vulnerable investors, like seniors, lie in demonstrating good awareness of the individual’s abilities, relationships and wishes from an early stage in the advisor-client relationship, and to include discussions about the potential for cognitive decline in regular client conversations,” says Jan Dymond, IFIC vice president of public affairs.
As Canada’s baby boomers age, advisors can expect to see more cases of financial exploitation and abuse among their older clients, says IFIC. Statistics for Canada are scarce but according to the United States Department of Justice, 20% to 40% of all elder abuse cases involve financial exploitation in some form.
“Financial advisors are often the first to witness the signs of financial exploitation,” says Joanne De Laurentiis, IFIC’s president and CEO. “As a result, they are in a unique position to look out for potential signs of abuse and to help their clients by reporting their concerns to their firms and the appropriate authorities.”