Fiduciary. A fancy word, an important commitment, and a challenging standard for many in the financial services industry to live up to.
A fiduciary has an ethical and legal obligation to act in the best interest of another when entrusted with the care of money or property. (Investopedia Business Dictionary)
Being a fiduciary has garnered a tremendous amount of press this year due to the release of a new Department of Labor (DoL) rule. The rule requires all who provide advice to retirement plans and IRAs to abide by a fiduciary standard. The new DoL rule falls short, however, in that it requires putting clients’ best interest first only on retirement assets. On taxable accounts, for instance, such a rule does not apply for brokerage firms. Let the buyer beware when receiving advice from a broker who is only held to the lowly “suitability standard” on taxable investment accounts! See our blog entitled A Financial Advisers’ Motivation Matters for more on this topic.
Our Firm has served clients in Evansville and all over the United States from day one in a fiduciary manner. This heightened level of trust provides our clients with peace of mind that our Firm is looking out for their best interests. To further enhance trust, our Firm provides a written and signed Fiduciary Oath to each client clearly stating our responsibilities and we promise to fully disclose any conflicts.
How Can You Be Sure of Your Financial Adviser’s Fiduciary Duty?
Our Firm recommends asking your current financial adviser the following questions to determine if they are a fiduciary:
- Will you sign a written fiduciary oath?
- Will you tell me when you are advising me as a fiduciary and when your advice is only supported by a suitability standard?
- Is your advice independent from the investment products you recommend?
- How does your compensation vary based upon the financial products you recommend?
- Will you disclose all fees, along with fees embedded within investment products, so I can understand my total cost of doing business?
Our Firm also recommends having your service provider respond to these questions in writing so that it’s documented and they can be held accountable. Unfortunately, many in our industry will continue to do business in a conflicted manner and they will not provide answers to these questions in writing.
Our Firm believes that being up-front, honest and transparent, validates our fiduciary responsibility. Give me or any of our team a call today and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Authored by: Chad A. Sander,CFP®
Direct Phone: 812-602-6302