The Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (MFDA) is stepping up its efforts to understand the challenges of dealing with senior clients with the launch of a new consultation group to focus on the issue.

In a recent bulletin, the MFDA says it is looking for representatives from fund dealer firms to participate in a ‘seniors consultation group’, which is being formed to provide MFDA staff with input from the industry on the challenges it faces in servicing senior clients, and to highlight areas involving senior investors where firms could most benefit from guidance from MFDA staff.

The deadline for applications to join the consultation group is April 30. Participants will be selected by MFDA staff with a view to ensuring that the group is reasonably representative of the MFDA membership, it notes.

With the aging of Canada’s population generally, and the investor population in particular, regulators are increasingly highlighting seniors issues as a focus of their compliance efforts. Last year, the Ontario Securities Commission’s investor advisory panel (IAP) held a seniors summit, along with the OSC, to examine some of these issues. And, in March 2014, the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC) also published a set of best practices for investment dealer firms when it comes to dealing with senior clients.

While these efforts have stressed that seniors are a very diverse group, they also often share certain concerns — such as the increasing risk of cognitive impairment, heightened worries about the adequacy of their retirement savings, and the prospect of more limited time horizons — compared with investors generally, which may create additionally challenges for the industry and regulators alike.