A platform has been launched to help advisers reduce financial abuse as misconduct rises during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The platform from Protecting Seniors Wealth would help advisers to improve and assist in protecting clients from abuse including protective and preventative measures and perpetrator profiles. It would be available online and offered continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities.
Topics included professional management of financial abuse, senior abuse, ‘inheritance impatience’, and professional accountability in assisting clients.
Anne McGowan, chief executive of the organisation, said financial abuse was rising during the pandemic and lack of adviser education on the topic was a factor in being unable to prevent it.
Around 80% of older Victorians had suffered some form of abuse, according to the National Ageing Research Institute Senior Rights Victoria.
“Financial abuse is devastating for seniors and vulnerable people as their money and/or property is taken, stolen or swindled,” she said.
“It is like a perfect storm presenting huge problems for the industry and senior clients with reports of misconduct rising 20%, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
“A very high percentage of senior abuse is directly related to financial abuse. If the industry was much better informed around how to recognise the often complex or complicated situations, and actually planning for prevention, which we cover fully in the training program, we could potentially see a huge decrease in the rate of people impacted and essentially see considerably better outcomes.”