In simple terms, a Fiduciary Advisor has a legal responsibility to put the client’s needs ahead of his or her own. There are a number of important differences that separate advisors who have fiduciary responsibilities from those that don’t.
It has been estimated that 90% of the people who fall into the category of financial advisors do not have any sort of fiduciary responsibility. They are also known as stockbrokers, insurance agents, or sales Representatives. They may hold various licenses, but since they are not fiduciaries they are often more interested in selling insurance and investment products than managing your portfolio.
Non-fiduciary advisors are compensated by commissions which are often the equivalent of years worth of management fees. And in the end, if you’re dissatisfied with your service, the only way to get out of the product is to pay a large surrender fee.
Titles for non-fiduciary advisors are unregulated, which means that these advisors don’t need to call themselves brokers or insurance agents, but can adopt titles like: Advisors, Financial Consultants, or Financial Planners. They are not required to put investor interests head of their own, and as such as more interested in making “suitable” recommendations that involve selling a number of products.
These sales reps have limited disclosure requirements and are not allowed to have account discretion. And most of them receive a large commission upfront on the initial sale, which means they have very little incentive to continue helping the client.
It has been estimated that only 15-20% of advisors have fiduciary responsibility, and are usually Registered Investment Advisors (RIA’s) or Investment Advisor Representatives. These advisors are registered with the SEC or the state security division (depending on their size).
These are acknowledged fiduciaries who provide ongoing financial advice and services. Compensation is on a quarter by quarter basis for continued services, and ends if the investor is dissatisfied and chooses to leave.
An advisor with fiduciary responsibilities is held to a higher ethical standard and should have the knowledge to provide sophisticated wealth management services and advice. RIA’s are licensed to provide ongoing financial advice, and fiduciary advisors are required to provide disclosure in their ADV’s.
The investor must always come first. At Paragon Wealth Management, we have a fiduciary responsibility to always put your needs ahead of our own, and live up to all of our responsibilities.
Copyright 2008 Paragon Wealth Management