The course, scheduled to debut in January, aims to provide “best practice guidelines’ for representatives in their transactions with members in this expanding investor group.
“The course will focus on fraud perpetrated through a variety of hard to resist selling techniques, such as the free lunch seminar, misleading professional designations, email pitches and other suspicious promotional tactics,’ said Melaine Kimmel, Senior Vice President of Securities Education at Kaplan Financial, in a press release.
This new program updates Kaplan’s Ethics and Senior Investors course that in the past has provided a foundation for financial service firms in a subject deemed crucial by government agencies, the company explained. Kaplan said this update was driven by requests from the firm’s financial services customers who wanted to proactively train their sales representatives in proper techniques and, at the same time, mitigate their compliance risks while promoting and selling to seniors and baby boomers.
Kaplan noted that some clients have provided input for the course (which they intend to use), while other firms see the ethics course as a stand alone element in sales training.
There has been increased emphasis on advisers selling into the Baby Boomer and senior market by certain regulatory bodies, including the SEC and the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. According to Kaplan, this $16-trillion dollar market is extremely vulnerable to fraud by unscrupulous representatives selling “too good to be true’ deals to which too many soon-to-retire baby boomers and seniors fall victim.
In September, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced the initiation of two regulatory sweeps intended to ensure that securities firms are using appropriate sales practices in their dealings with seniors and individuals nearing retirement (See FINRA to Check Securities Firms’ Sales Practices with Seniors).