Earlier this year, a U.S. financial services business dedicated to protecting seniors from financial abuse revealed that the elderly in America lose approximately $36.5 billion annually from both legal and illegal tactics.
The situation in Canada may be little different, although it’s raising questions about suitability obligations for advisors working with elderly clients.
In one particular case, WP reader Kevin Daize is challenging the suitability of certain investment recommendations for an elderly couple encouraged to put as much as a half of their investable assets into a single DSC fund.
In fact, when the advisor in question emailed the actual plan to the couple most of their nest egg was to be invested in a single DSC fund with a seven-year early redemption schedule.
“[The advisor] did bring up a ‘no load’ option that had a higher MER associated with the suggested fund in response to my asking about MERs and the load expenses at our meeting,” said Daize. “She still didn't go into detail breaking down the DSC cost schedule... I did that when researching the fund she was recommending.”
So, while the advisor did provide a couple of options, she failed to explain the fees involved including the early redemption charges
“I don't see how this could possibly be in their best interests ...they may pass before the fund even matures,” Daize wrote about the DSC recommendation. “I'm ticked at the lack of transparency, as she had already arranged a meeting for them to sign on the dotted line… a meeting that has been canceled.”
The fact that the advisor came back with a DSC alternative softens Daize’s position on the suitability of the recommendation but doesn’t change his annoyance with the process.
“I can say with confidence that any industry that doesn't put its customers interests ahead of their own will see it short lived, and/or forced to change.”