We are dramatically different from most other advisors. As a licensed Fiduciary, we are held to a much higher professional standard than a typical investment advisor. We will ALWAYS put your best interest first. We do not offer investments that pay us a commission from your money. We do not offer investments with fees buried in small print..
When you turn over your hard earned money to a professional so he or she can invest for your retirement, it's reasonable to assume your best interest will be taken to heart. That's not always the case. Given that investors lost a collective $5.5 trillion in the last financial downturn, it can be safely assumed that a number of investment advisors did not have their clients' best interest first and foremost in their minds.
A little publicized item in the financial reform bill moving through Congress would require anyone who offers investment advice to act in the best interests of the client. That there's a need to actually legislate this says a lot about the state of the investment business today.
The standard to act in the client's best interest is called the fiduciary duty. But many investment advisors are held to a lesser measure called the "suitability" standard. It merely calls for advisors to sell investments they "believe" are "suitable" for their clients, not necessarily what's best for the client.
Unfortunately, the average investor often does not know the difference.
The consumer is at a major disadvantage because of how this profession operates. The investment industry evolved so that now different professionals are governed by different standards. Registered Investment Advisors are governed by the Fiduciary Standard: stockbrokers, registered representatives and insurance agents are not.
"The average investor would be appalled to see how hard some members of the financial industry are working to avoid acting in the best interest of their clients" said Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America.
To avoid any confusion and too make certain your best interests are always first and foremost, simply ask your financial professional what standard they operate under. For your best interest make certain they operate under the Fiduciary Standard which mandates they have a Series 65 License. Any other license they may hold means your best interest may NOT be their number one priority.