The financial advisor of the future must go beyond today's conventional wisdom to favor a more complete risk management framework that better recognizes the retirement income needs of millions of retirees, says The Retirement Income Industry Association (RIIA), a national, not-for-profit organization whose members are defining the future of retirement security in the United States. RIIA's chairman and executive director Francois Gadenne, points out that the association has already developed a job description for financial advisors that he believes is more relevant to the practical challenges that retirees are now beginning to confront. "In order to be effective in the future, financial advisors seeking to provide the best possible results for their clients must embrace a host of new responsibilities and personal professional skills. And, based on feedback that financial advisors have brought to RIIA, they are concerned about helping investors plan, implement, and manage their retirement to achieve and maintain a desired standard of living over the long term. That's a complex task which calls for new insight and education." The association’s director, David Macchia, explains that the advisor's job description has expanded significantly. "The advisor must have the skills to not only help investors accumulate financial capital--such as savings, investments, insurance, annuities, and IRAs--but also to understand the changing roles of financial capital combined with human capital (wages and earnings) and social capital (social security, support from family or friends, defined benefit plans) as investors address their retirement income security needs." RIIA says foresees a new dimension of professional advisor education that will be called for in light of the shifting challenges confronting retirees. To support advisors in maintaining a high degree of proficiency in retirement income planning, including specialized professional education that provides the skills and insights needed in the years ahead, RIIA is developing a Retirement Income Management Body of Knowledge. This curriculum, it notes, will match specific learning objectives with practice management skills derived from a Retirement Management Professional job description and leading to a Retirement Management Analyst™ (RMA) designation. Elvin Turner, its director, asserts that the association’s expanding body of knowledge is the key to addressing financial advisors' concerns about delivering comprehensive retirement income planning to their clients. "Ethics and practice management skills are foundational elements of RIIA's body of knowledge. The reason is to help RMA designation candidates sharpen their ethical behavior and practice skills needed to address retirement needs in an effective and objective fashion." According to Gadenne, the ability to identify the vital attributes of tomorrow's successful financial advisors is attributable to what he feels is the association’s unique perspective in the financial services industry. "RIIA and its members have been able to view across silos by pulling down barriers between product and process, manufacturer and distributor, academic and business, to achieve a needs-based perspective that would otherwise not be possible. It is this perspective that is driving the definition of prudent retirement planning, including the skill set that advisors must maintain and refine over time." For more information, visit www.riia-usa.org.
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