It’s an advisor’s duty to help protect their clients from financial abuse, and seniors are most vulnerable to this. In fact, according to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, 62.5 percent of elder abuse cases are financial. What can you do to give your senior clients the gift of financial protection this holiday season?
At the Distinguished Advisor Conference in November, Alexis Verganelakis from Franklin Templeton touched upon how it’s an advisor’s duty to protect and provide comfort-focused counsel to elderly clients and their family members. What forms of financial abuse should you be on the lookout for?
In Canada, one of the most common forms of financial abuse are scams – with many people being victimized by criminals claiming to represent the CRA in order to collect unpaid taxes. According to reports, the Better Business Bureau has estimated that these scams cost taxpayers $3 million in 2015, $4.3 million in 2016, and over $5 million by 2017. This number is expected to grow in 2018. Although seniors aren’t the only victims of these scams, many elderly people hesitate to report that they’ve been a victim of a crime. In fact, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, fewer than 5 percent file a report.
In this excerpt from his law blog, Philippe Richer outlines additional forms of elder financial abuse advisors should be aware of:
As an advisor, you have an important responsibility: to oversee the finances of a senior as a part of helping them protect and grow their wealth. As a professional, you can also play a key role in bringing family members into the conversation if you notice your client’s metal capacities are diminishing, leaving them more vulnerable to financial abuse.
How can you prepare to fulfill this important role? First, by ensuring that your senior clients remain tax-compliant during filing, and acting on their behalf with the CRA. The January CE Summits provide an advanced personal income tax update with workshops in six Canadian cities, January 17-25.
Secondly, become a certified Real Wealth Manager so you can offer your clients of all ages a new value proposition that builds strong, inter-generational, multi-advisory relationships throughout personal and financial lifecycles. This coordinated approach to wealth management addresses what is lacking between all of the financial intermediators, including financial, legal, and tax advisors.
Bridging this gap provides greater financial protection to aging clients through the development of a common strategy for inter-family, inter-advisory collaboration that will stand the test of time despite rapid technological, regulatory and tax change.
* Ontario Human Rights Commission Report referred to in paragraph one.
Additional educational resources: Register for any of Knowledge Bureau’s designation programs before December 15 and save $50 on tuition. Or, if you’d like to preview the curriculum prior to enrolling, take a free trial and earn 2 CE/CPD credits upon completion!
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