In the news, the word “fiduciary” has been thrown around a lot in relation to a financial advisor and his or her duties. However, not all advisors are fiduciaries, and not all advisors adhere to the same rules or responsibilities. When you’re considering working with a financial advisor, it’s important to understand the differences and what type of advisor with whom you’re working.
Stockbrokers, insurance agents, and real estate agents acting on the other party’s behalf are not always required to serve in a fiduciary manner, meaning they may not be putting your needs first. As they represent themselves or their company, they are only required to provide you with “suitable” financial products, rather than those recommended based on your individual circumstances.
Wall Street brokerage firms can sell proprietary products, so their advice may potentially still be biased. For example, annuities and other high-fee investments that provide brokers a higher commission can still be sold into your retirement account. Additionally, while brokers must inform clients that they’re choosing to be paid commissions, if the investor neglects to read the email notification, they won’t know where their broker’s interests lie.
So, this leads to the question: What type is your advisor?
A Financial Advisor Versus a Personal Investment Advisor and CFO
As I shared, financial advisors’ duties and obligations vary significantly. Before working with an advisor, you’ll want to learn how he or she works and even ask if they are willing to sign a fiduciary agreement or oath. At Private Client Wealth Advisors, we go beyond the standard level of service an advisor may provide and instead not only serve as a fiduciary but also serve as a client’s personal investment advisor and CFO. By serving as your personal CFO, you can focus on your passions in life while we handle your finances.
As a Registered Investment Advisory firm, we are required to uphold a fiduciary duty and committed to putting your best interests first. We only recommend solutions that we believe align with a client’s individual goals. As a result, we believe our business model offers greater transparency so you always know what you are paying in fees.
The Benefits of Leveraging a Financial Fiduciary
I believe there are five key reasons to leverage a financial fiduciary for your financial planning and investment needs.
1. Eliminate Emotional Investing
It’s easy to let your emotions get tied up in your financial circumstances but behavior can have a significant impact on the success of our investment returns. How we respond and react to market fluctuations — and, particularly, market exuberance and its inevitable downturns — affects our financial success. An independent advisor can help you take the emotions out of investing and help you make informed decisions and stay the course.
2. Spend Less Time on Your Finances
With a financial advisor serving as your advocate and CFO, you can feel more confident that you have a detailed plan in place that a knowledgeable team of professionals is overseeing. As a result, you don’t have to worry about daily market performance or making frequent financial decisions without a trusted guide to turn to for advice.
3. A Second Opinion at Any Time
Throughout life, you face a lot of financial decisions. Can you afford a new car? Should you purchase a vacation home? Are your financial risks being protected? When can you retire? Having a personal investment advisor means you have a knowledgeable professional available when you have a question or face a difficult decision.
4. Access to New Opportunities
Working with a professional advisor can oftentimes provide you access to information and investments you may not otherwise had access to if investing on your own. We are constantly doing due diligence on investments for clients and helping shape investment portfolios. This type of constant information can be beneficial to our clients. An advisor can help you build an investment portfolio that aligns with your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.
5. No Conflicts of Interest
When you hire a fiduciary, there is no conflict of interest, or if there ever is one, it is disclosed up front before any decisions are made. As our clients’ fiduciary, we put their interests first and always disclose in advance any conflict of interest. There is no other way to work with clients.
Experiencing the Difference
We like our clients to think of us as their family’s executive team, sitting side-by-side with you as you navigate your financial journey, plan to attain your goals, preserve your future. You should be able to lean on our firm as your resource to allow for the best long term financial decisions for your family.
If you’re unsure about your current retirement strategies, haven’t reevaluated your investments in several years, or are interested in learning more about what it means to work with a fiduciary, I am happy to offer you a complimentary consultation. Contact me by phone at 303-945-2222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barry Steelman, AIF® is the Founder, Principal, Managing Partner, and Client Advocate at Private Client Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm based in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in working with individuals, families and businesses and conducting financial planning, portfolio management and retirement plan services. Along with more than two decades of experience, he is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, which signifies knowledge of fiduciary responsibility and the ability to implement policies and procedures that meet a defined standard of care. Learn more about Barry by visiting www.privateclientwealthadvisors.com or connecting with him on LinkedIn.