Seniors: CFPB Seeks Advisor Reforms

CFPB seeks reform for financial advisorsKnowing where to get financial advice can sometimes be confusing, especially when there are so many different categories – or designations – of financial advisor who can have staggeringly different levels of qualification.

This can be particularly troublesome for seniors, who are having to deal with issues like retirement and possibly having to make longer-term care plans for themselves and their spouse.

The fact is that there is a bewildering range of titles for financial advisors: Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Consultant, Registered Investment Advisor and so on.

To give you an idea how widely the level of qualification varies, lets look at two examples: an Accredited Retirement Advisor and an Accredited Estate Planner. While both may sound like impressive professional titles, the reality is that former need only pass a single exam with multiple-choice questions then undertake 72 hours of further training every 36 months, while the latter needs to be already qualified to a level such as an accountant or lawyer and pass not one but two graduate-level courses.

No wonder that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is calling for new, stricter standards within the industry to avoid abuse, and prevent scams being committed against senior citizens in particular.

You can find out more about the CFPB report in this LA Times article. Advice for seniors can be found on the Consumer Finance website.



  1. Like many things in life, financial advice seems needlessly complicated. What’s more, sometimes it appears it is that way on purpose. Good to know the difference since I’ll be dealing with my mother’s estate very soon.

  2. We have found a financial advisor that it a long time family friend. Despite having to disclose all of our financial issues to him, we still think it’s better to have someone we trust to explain everything in detail to us.

  3. Yeah, I’ve got a number of impressive titles myself. I got them all for just a $50 testing fee, and a few afternoons to take exams. The testing board itself seems a little scammy, in the MLM sense, but I got all my certificates and got through it. Basically, what it all boils down to is sales…

  4. So, in the end, who should seniors turn to? Are there any people with fancy diplomas that can actually help, or is it still uncertain where we should go for financial advice?

    • I think this is more about making it easier to know what kind of advisor would be the most appropriate to see. There is a number of different types of financial advisors available, with highly varied standards of qualification: I think the point of this is to make sure that people can get advice from those that are properly qualified. As mentioned in the article, some of these financial advisors only have to sit a multiple choice exam to qualify.

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