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Beware of

Misleading Senior Designations

Because seniors have built up a lifetime of savings, they continue to be the targets of individuals recommending investments that are fraudulent or unsuitable for their particular financial needs. Investors 55 years and older should carefully research the credentials of anyone claiming to be a “senior specialist.”

While there are legitimate organizations that require completion of rigorous programs of study and examinations as well as practical experience for certification, a number of organizations have been formed with less stringent qualifications and preparation. The designation may, in some cases, consist of training that involves nothing more than marketing techniques and sales tips for certain investment products being targeted to seniors.  In fact, the individuals touting these investments may not be registered or licensed to sell securities or give financial advice at all.

Take the time to determine the education and experience requirements by contacting the organization that issued the credential.  Then utilize the “Understand Professional Designations” database located in the Investor section of   It can provide a snapshot description of over 100 designations, including some senior ones.  Note that the database is not comprehensive and does not allow comparison of designations.

For licensing purposes, the state of Arizona recognizes the following designations:

CFP    - Certified Financial Planner
ChFC -  Chartered Financial Consultant
PFS    -  Personal Financial Specialist
CFA   -  Chartered Financial Analyst

CIC   -   Chartered Investment Counselor

Most importantly, ask and check with the Investigator on Duty at the Commission's Securities Division to determine license status and disciplinary history of the person and company by telephone, 602-542-0662, or by email.