TORONTO, June 14, 2016 /CNW/ - In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which takes place tomorrow, The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) today 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.
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.
"The industry, regulators and investor advocates are already seeing beginnings of this trend and are seriously concerned about its potential impact on the financial well-being of investors," said Joanne De Laurentiis, IFIC's president and CEO. "In response, IFIC formed a multi-stakeholder task force to identify smart practices, develop training and tools, and advocate for necessary rule changes to support and protect vulnerable investors. Our new checklists on cognitive decline and financial exploitation will help advisors broach these sensitive topics with their clients before problems arise and know what actions to take if they become concerned that a client may be at risk."
The checklists are the first in a series of tools on cognitive decline and financial exploitation that are being developed by the task force. They are written in plain language and 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," noted Jan Dymond, IFIC vice president of public affairs and chair of the Vulnerable Investors Task Force.
As Canada's baby boomers age, financial advisors can expect to see more cases of financial exploitation and abuse among their older clients. Statistics for Canada are scarce but according to the United States Department of Justice, 20-40 per cent of all elder abuse cases involve financial exploitation in some form.
"Financial advisors are often the first to witness the signs of financial exploitation," said De Laurentiis. "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. We hope IFIC's checklists will support them in fulfilling that role."
IFIC's checklists are just two of many resources that IFIC and its members are creating and sharing with the goal of strengthening the advisor-client relationship.
The Investment Funds Institute of Canada is the voice of Canada's investment funds industry. IFIC brings together 150 organizations, including fund managers, distributors and industry service organizations, to foster a strong, stable investment sector where investors can realize their financial goals. By connecting Canada's savers to Canada's economy, our industry contributes significantly to Canadian economic growth and job creation. The organization is proud to have served Canada's mutual funds industry and its investors for more than 50 years.
SOURCE The Investment Funds Institute of Canada
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