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CFPB Addresses Misuse of 'Senior' In Financial Advice
WASHINGTON (4/23/13)--A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report outlining the confusion and risks that financial advisers with so-called "senior designations" can create for older Americans is one of many topics tackled in this week's Credit Union National Association Regulatory Advocacy Report.

The CFPB report, entitled "Senior Designations for Financial Advisers: Reducing Consumer Confusion and Risks," noted that the designation often implies a certain level of advanced training, knowledge and expertise regarding the financial needs of older consumers. However, the CFPB report added, the level of training required to obtain these designations ranges from none to extensive. Some are accredited, while others are not, the CFPB report said.

Differences in the more than 50 titles and acronyms that various firms have created to describe the designation also cause confusion, according to the CFPB. To address these issues, the bureau recommended:
  • Improving the dissemination of information and consumer education around senior designations;
  • Developing standards for the acquisition of senior designations;
  • Developing standards for senior designee conduct; and
  • Enforcement related to the misuse of senior designations.
While this report is not directed towards credit unions, some credit unions employ financial professionals through credit union service organizations and dual employees who sell financial products, CUNA warned. Some of these professionals may be impacted if requirements are put in place for the use of senior designations. CUNA will continue to monitor this topic with the CFPB.

Other issues addressed in CUNA's weekly members-only publication on regulatory developments include:
  • CFPB mortgage insurance regulations;
  • Regulation Z clarifications;
  • President Barack Obama's 2014 budget; and
  • A National Credit Union Administration letter on low-income credit union designations.
Employees or volunteers of CUNA and state credit union league member credit unions can sign up below to receive the Regulatory Advocacy Report.

The Regulatory Advocacy Report is archived on cuna.org.
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