The Role of Financial Advisors
What to Look for in an Advisor
The first step our Los Angeles financial elder abuse attorneys recommend is making a sharp distinction between an “advisor” and a “broker.” Imagine you were going to have someone help you select a car. You have two people who are discussing the merits and failings of different vehicles, talking about mileage, resale value, and other factors. Then, you find out that one person is will get a large sum of money if you buy the car they recommended to you, while the other is only being paid for the time they spend helping you. It’s pretty clear which person’s advice is less likely to be biased.
Since insurance brokers don’t go out of their way to draw a distinction between selling and advising, it falls to the consumer to try to find out who they can trust. Our Los Angeles financial elder abuse attorneys believe that seniors who don’t carefully investigate their financial advisors are at an increased risk for fraud.
Trustworthiness in Advisors
Both brokers and financial advisors rely on trust to do business. Nobody will take advice from someone they think may intentionally mislead them. However, this trust can be earned either by legitimate or underhanded means. Some financial advisors operate on a strict fee-only basis, ensuring that they don’t have any financial stake in your decision one way of the other. Instead, they only offer their own experience and knowledge for your benefit.
Others go the other way, operating on a commission basis, and try to create a veneer of respectability by hanging plaques and throwing around terms like “Elder Financial Advisor”, “Senior Financial Consultant,” and other generic terms to make their client think they’ve devoted a great deal of time to helping retirees. None of these terms has any real meaning, and some of these certifications can be earned in a few hours though online courses.
Financial Advisors and Financial Abuse
As we’ve talked about before, around 1 in 13 financial advisors has been disciplined for misconduct, and more are likely to have gone unpunished. This statistic draws no distinction between brokers and advisors, but clearly indicates that consumers need to be aware of the risks when they walk into an insurers office.
If you or a loved one has experienced financial elder abuse in California, contact the Evans Law Firm financial elder abuse attorneys at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our attorneys have experience with complex financial contracts and large insurance companies. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities.