FINRA Webcast Offers Insights on Working with Seniors

In the midst of a growing concern about the vulnerability of senior citizens, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has announced the availability of a free, instructional webcast regarding compliance obligations advisers have when working with senior customers.
“This new addition to FINRA’s collection of on-line compliance tools is meant to make a difference in customer interaction, an aspect of firm operation where a lack of diligence can yield potentially disastrous consequences,’ said FINRA CEO Mary Schapiro. “As the senior population grows, so does regulators’ responsibility to ensure that this important segment of the investing public is treated fairly and appropriately by the firms and brokers they do business with.’
The Webcast, “Suitability Considerations for Work with Seniors’, is now available at FINRA’s on-line learning section. It addresses not just to working with seniors, but the vast number of boomers who are at, or near, retirement. A similar Webcast aimed at firms’ supervisory personnel and a formal online e-learning course addressing senior issues will be posted to FINRA’s web site in coming weeks.
The new Webcast’s launch comes just one month after FINRA – created through the consolidation of NASD and NYSE Member Regulation (see What’s In a Name?) – announced two major regulatory sweeps intended to ensure that securities firms adhere to appropriate sales practices when dealing with seniors and individuals nearing retirement (see FINRA to Check Securities Firms’ Sales Practices with Seniors). The first “sweep’ to take a look at the use of so-called “professional’ designations to possibly mislead or defraud investors; the second at early retirement seminars conducted by firms that are designed to entice older workers to liquidate retirement savings in employer-sponsored plans for investment with a specific firm or representative.
Since January 2005, FINRA has completed approximately 100 formal disciplinary actions involving or related to seniors. Currently, FINRA has about 70 open investigations that involve seniors or related issues, according to a press release.

FINRA Webcasts are brief online tutorials available on-demand and take less than 10 minutes to view. Through FINRA’s monthly report, training managers can view and download a list of employees at their firm who have registered for and viewed the Webcasts.

See also Certify Able, Making Your Designation(s) Work