The right to be treated fairly and respectfully:

You have the right receive an answer to any question.  If a question is not answered to your satisfaction, it should be researched further.  Be sure your advisor and/or financial services company and any other involved parties place everything in writing.

This includes the right to not be pressured. If there is a deadline, the reason must be presented. If an offer is too good to be true, then it most likely is too good to be true.

You have the right to be treated fairly and respectfully:

  • Financial consumers should be treated impartially sand objectively.
  • Conduct must be free from competing self-interest, prejudice and favoritism.
  • The sales, underwriting and servicing processes should all be transparent.
  • All information should be accessible upon request.
  • Conflicts of interest must be disclosed.
  • No discrimination based on, but not limited to, gender, race, age, religion, disability, nationality or sexual orientation.
  • Conflicts and disagreements should be addressed directly.
  • All members of the financial services industry should act in a professional manner.
  • Expertise should not be used to influence the decisions or actions of financial consumers in order to benefit personally.
  • All rights must be honored.

Privacy and confidentiality

Information must be treated by your financial representatives as confidential, except as required in response to proper legal process. You have the right to expect that any information provided to members of the financial services industry will not be disclosed to others unless specifically authorized by you. This includes sharing it with their partners.

No pressure

You should not be pressured into buying a financial product before you fully understand it and know it fits your needs. If you are given a deadline, you should ask the reason. Ask for time to think things over; a good deal will still be there tomorrow. This tactic works well if you’re not sure about something. Inform your advisor that you need to go over your offer with someone else first (e.g., your spouse). If the advisor discourages you from this or says that it’s a special deal, that’s a big red flag.

Members of the Financial Services Industry should always act with professionalism; in a manner that demonstrates professional conduct and the use of Principles such as The Financial Integrity Pledge.

Financial Consumer Tips: 

  • Always assume your information will get verified, so give accurate and honest information. The truth always has a way of coming out.
  • If you can’t remember a piece of information, don’t make up facts. Try to gather all the necessary information before getting a quote.  Beware of inaccuracies from guessing – don’t guess. Where it is required that you provide an exact date for an event such as when applying for a loan or for insurance; if you don’t remember an exact date for an event – medical test, speeding ticket, burglary, etc. – it’s best to estimate or let the financial services company know the event occurred and you can’t remember when.
  • Honesty is always the best policy. Lying to get a better rate can be tempting, but it does come with consequences. For example, your insurance claim could be denied later or you may end up facing fraud charges.

Advisors and financial service companies are only able to provide the best assistance and advice when someone is completely honest with them.  Providing accurate information from the outset helps to get the best quote that will result in the most favorable loan or insurance policy.

Special note for Seniors: 

A few states have adopted laws recognizing seniors as a protected class, which affords additional consumer protection.  Unfortunately, this varies significantly by state.  Consider checking with Adult Protective Services, AARP and other organizations for seniors.

Resources:

Financial Advisor Designation Table

What is underwriting and why is it important to me?

Choosing A Financial Advisor

Financial Advisor Research Checklist

Tips To Protect Yourself

Insurance Regulatory Agencies

Blog posts, articles & media:  (click to view)

 

Books:

Informative Links and services:

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