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From Banking and Finance Law Daily, November 12, 2013

CFPB releases guide on evaluating a financial adviser

By Stephanie K. Mann, J.D.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released a new guide to help consumers ask the right questions if they are shopping for a financial adviser with a title suggesting expertise in senior financial planning. The guide, “Know your financial adviser,” helps consumers navigate the challenging path of choosing a financial adviser for senior needs. The CFPB warns that titles likes “veteran’s adviser,” “retirement adviser,” “senior specialist,” “benefits coordinator,” and “financial planner” do not always mean that professionals are qualified to help consumers manage their money.

Military retirees. According to the CFPB, the decision is complicated even further by the need to find an adviser who understands the complexity of military retiree pay, veteran’s benefits, or disability benefits. This adviser should also understand the full financial impact of other benefits like commissary privileges, survivor benefit plans, and veteran’s service organization membership benefits.

Evaluating credentials. The guide lays out four things that consumers should think about when evaluating a financial adviser’s title or credentials:

  • How much training is required?

  • Is your adviser qualified through a training program that holds its members to strict ethical standards?

  • Is your adviser’s financial title accredited?

  • Does the adviser have an extensive background working with a specialized group like military retirees?

MainStory: TopStory CFPB

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