As financial advisors, we should understand the importance of providing our clients with the best financial advice and guidance to help them meet their financial goals.
Unfortunately, there are some individuals in our industry who do not share our commitment to ethical conduct and instead, prey on vulnerable elderly clients for personal gain. Financial elder abuse is a serious issue that requires our attention and action.
What is Financial Elder Abuse?
Financial elder abuse is the illegal or unethical exploitation of a vulnerable elderly individual’s financial resources. This type of abuse can take many forms, including theft, fraud, or mismanagement of funds. Financial elder abuse can be committed by family members, caregivers, or even strangers, but financial advisors who take advantage of their clients’ trust and vulnerability are particularly heinous offenders.
How Does Financial Elder Abuse Happen?
There are many ways that financial advisors can exploit their elderly clients, but some common tactics include:
- Misrepresenting financial products: Some advisors may misrepresent the risks or fees associated with financial products in order to convince clients to invest in them.
- Churning: Churning occurs when an advisor makes excessive trades in a client’s account in order to generate commissions for themselves, rather than acting in the client’s best interest.
- Undue influence: Financial advisors may use their position of trust to exert undue influence over an elderly client, convincing them to make financial decisions that benefit the advisor rather than the client.
- Misappropriation of funds: Advisors may use their access to a client’s accounts to steal money or assets.
The consequences of financial elder abuse can be devastating, leaving elderly individuals without the resources they need to support themselves and their families. It can also erode trust in the financial advisor industry as a whole.
Preventing Financial Elder Abuse
As a financial advisor, it is one’s responsibility to help prevent financial elder abuse by taking steps to protect their clients and promote ethical behavior within the industry. Some strategies you can use to protect yourself or your client from unethical advisors include:.
- Conducting thorough background checks: Before hiring an advisor, it is important to conduct a thorough background check to ensure that they have a clean record and no history of unethical behavior.
- Monitoring accounts: Regular monitoring of you accounts can help identify any suspicious activity or unauthorized transactions.
- Reporting suspected abuse: If you suspect that an elderly client is being financially exploited, it is your ethical duty to report it to the appropriate authorities.
Financial elder abuse committed by financial advisors is a serious issue that requires our attention and action. As financial advisors, it is our responsibility to protect our clients and promote ethical behavior within our industry. By educating our clients, ensuring they conduct thorough background checks, monitoring their accounts, and reporting suspected abuse, we can help prevent financial elder abuse and ensure that our clients are able to achieve their financial goals.