A recent letter to the editor at Investment News caught my eye, I have reproduced it below. I've been against the CSA designation (Certified Senior Advisor) for years, ever since it came out because I believe it is a fraud. I believe it is an attempt by unscrupulous insurance agents to sell annuities to seniors. It is a way to help them OUT of their money, not help them WITH their money. The following is the letter, I think it is quite telling:
Frankly Appalled at CSA Classes
I was glad to hear about firms' dropping the CSA designation.
I agree that this designation is not all it is cracked up to be.
About four years ago, my previous firm sent me to what supposedly was an industry trade show.
It turned out to be some folks trying to teach me how to peddle equity index annuities to the elderly.
At this same trade show, I attended the Society of Certified Senior Advisors certification classes, as did my colleagues. I was frankly appalled at the classes. At one point, one of the Denver-based group's instructors actually read us a children's book and, at another point, had us meditate.
Although I have read that same book to my own children, I could not find the value in helping my clients.
The only thing I remember about Mr. Pittock is one day coming to the class for brief time and telling a crude and inappropriate joke.
At the end of the class, we took a test over the "material" that my 5-year-old could have passed.
I felt so uneasy about the designation that I have never used it and never will.
Since that time, I have seen many advisors misrepresent their knowledge and abilities as senior advisers by using the CSA designation to sell equity index annuities to the elderly. It is time someone questioned this designation's use in our industry.
Stacy B. Bush
Scott Dauenhauer, CFP, MSFP