It is no secret that FINRA and the SEC are sharply focused on issues regarding elder clients, including severe disciplinary action. There is another elder “issue” that must be kept in the forefront as well; senior designations.
Senior designations are “certifications” that financial advisors tag onto their other designations like CFA, etc. Such designations are meant to give an advisor an air of credibility or specialization when it comes to servicing elder clients.
However, not all such designations are legitimate. Indeed, some are no different than the secret decoder rings we used to get out of a box of cereal. So what should you do?
You should not let any of your advisors tout any such designations unless and until you have had a chance to vet the legitimacy of the designation and the entity that is promoting it. Is there any sort of testing and continuing education requirement to maintain this designation? Have FINRA or the SEC ever commented on this designation and/or the entity that may be promoting it?
The key to any sort of senior designation is for you to conduct proper due diligence to ensure its legitimacy. Otherwise, you run the risk of running afoul with your regulator for allowing your advisors to tout a specialization that does not exist.