WASHINGTON—Today, AARP expanded its BankSafe online training platform for bank and credit union staff to include financial advisors. The training platform equips financial advisors with the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to better understand and interact with older clients, identify red flags of financial exploitation and take the right steps prevent exploitation.
“AARP is committed to helping defend older adults against financial exploitation,” said AARP’s BankSafe National Director Jilenne Gunther. “Working together with the financial services industry, we know this program will help protect millions of older adults from exploitation.”
First made available to banks and credit unions in spring 2019, the award-winning BankSafe training has already better protected nearly 11 million consumers and stopped more than $23 million from exploitation.
The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) have signed on as founding distributors for the free training platform. Collectively, these organizations represent more than 300,000 financial advisors and are working with AARP to encourage their members to complete the training.
“Protecting senior investors from financial exploitation is a top, long-term priority for SIFMA. Financial exploitation of seniors and vulnerable adults is a serious issue that destructively impacts our friends, family, neighbors, and in turn, our country,” said Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., SIFMA President & CEO. “We are pleased to be working with AARP to offer BankSafe to our broker-dealer members as they work to help protect their aging client base.”
The training, available at no cost to financial advisors in the United States, combines AARP’s understanding of the needs and desires of older adults with the access and services of the financial industry. Designed to meet the unique needs and demands of client-facing staff, the BankSafe platform is an interactive, 60-minute training that employees can complete in one sitting or at their own pace as they complete more than 20 education and training activities.
“Financial advisors are often some of the first people to spot financial exploitation,” said Kevin Mayeux, CEO of NAIFA. “Our members protect more than 90 million American households in a rapidly changing Main Street USA. We are always looking for new training for our members. The BankSafe training provides them with everything they need to identify potential exploitation and take the right steps to stop it.”
As part of the BankSafe program, investment firms that train at least 80 percent of their financial advisors and confirm that they have a financial-exploitation escalation or reporting policy can apply to use an “AARP BankSafe Trained” seal in certain contexts, recognizing their efforts to fight exploitation. The seal is not a product or service endorsement, but indicates that an advisor’s front-line employees have been substantially trained in financial exploitation prevention.
More than 2,000 professionals from the financial industry, trade associations, adult protective service agencies, non-profits, government organizations, regulators and the legal field helped AARP in the development of the training. For more information about the training platform, including registration instructions for interested investment firms, can be found at aarp.org/banksafe.
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation's largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.