Senior Financial Advisors Beware, CFPB Is Watching Certifications

The Office of Older Americans launched in October by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may be new, but it is quickly beginning to examine financial products geared toward older Americans, as well as the people who sell to and advise seniors on those products.

The agency, mandated under the Dodd-Frank Act and launched in July, introduced its Office of Older Americans in October. The office is led by former AARP national board member Hubert “Skip” Humphrey, also a former Attorney General, and includes some reverse mortgage oversight under its authority.

“[Congress] wants us to look at financial transactions that seniors engage in,” Humphrey said during a webinar hosted by the National Council on Aging this week, noting health care and housing products as some of the most often used financial tools by seniors.

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The bureau will take a close look at the certifications of those who advise seniors on financial products, Humphrey told attendees. For some in particular, the rules could be positioned to change.

“[Some] unfortunately got their certifications by attending a two-hour conference at a hotel,” Humphrey said. “Congress is aware of that and they have told us to monitor and report back for regulation in those areas.”

Rule making by the agency has been hindered in part by the lack of a director to lead the bureau. The Senate voted today not in favor of moving forward the nomination of Richard Cordray, the Bureau’s enforcement chief whom President Obama nominated for the position.

Written by Elizabeth Ecker