That is one of the questions FINRA sought to answer in its recent National Seminar Investor Initiative. FINRA confirmed that many representatives use such designations, but some of them are bogus or no better than a certificate you find as a prize in a cereal box.

The problem is that some representatives use these bogus designations to pray on seniors. Some seniors, unfortunately, get lulled into believing the “senior” alphabet soup next to their broker’s name really means the person has some special skills when it comes to helping seniors.

This is not to suggest that there are not real senior designations or people particularly skilled to help seniors. Instead, it is a caution to firms that retain such individuals.fraud.jpg

To address the senior designation issue, firms have a few possible options:

  1. Prohibit the use of senior designations.
  2. Require that senior designations have a verified curriculum, a continuing education element, and accreditation from a recognized independent organization.
  3. Mandate supervisory approval prior to the use of such designations.

If you decide to let your representatives use senior designations that are properly accredited, the use of such designations have to be properly supervised. If you do not supervise this activity, you – like an unknowing senior – may become the victim of a fraud.

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