Working with a thoughtful fiduciary advisor

Gary LoDuca |
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When looking for an investment professional to assist you in your financial decision making, there are a few distinctions you may prefer to look for.  A primary differentiator is an advisor who is an independent fiduciary investment advisor.  The independent aspect means they can provide advice and solutions that are unrestrained by corporate mandates or preferred partnerships that are typical of financial service providers.  The fiduciary aspect means the advisor assumes legal requirement to provide advice that is in your best interest.  Most savers who choose to engage and pay fees for financial guidance expect their advisor to provide advice and strategies that they can't create or implement on their own.  These services could include risk based managed savings strategies designed to protect savers from harmful market losses, tax - smart savings strategies designed to reduce or eliminate taxes as well as savings strategies designed to provide upside capital growth while preserving investment capital.  To get the most “added value” from an investment advisor, you need to explain your expectations and agree on how you both will work together.

Ideally, you should have initial consultations with prospective investment professionals to learn about their background, experience, and philosophy. Be clear about what you expect and ask questions. Here are some ideas:

  • Ask how they choose their savings strategies, products, and solutions. Some advisors have “open architecture” solution platforms where they can find or create solutions based on client needs, whereas others have access to a limited number of proprietary or corporate mandated products.
  • Ask them what their investment principles are and how they were founded. What is their savings philosophy?
  • What is their overall experience and how long have they been assisting clients?  How does their experience help them provide thoughtful financial choices and options for you to consider?
  • When it comes to fees and payment, are they fee-only, commission-based, or a hybrid combination of the two. Depending on your needs and expectations, you may prefer one fee structure over another.
  • If you’re looking for an investment professional that puts their client's needs ahead of their own, ask if they follow a fiduciary standard. See if they have their policy in writing.
  • Are you looking for an advisor who’s highly responsive?  Ask what their communication strategy is.  Do they follow up frequently?  Are you able to reach them when you have a question?  Do they ask you to commit to a certain number of meetings per year?
  • Do you want access to a broad range of expertise and resources?  Ask if they have a network of professionals they consult with or recommend.  Some advisors connect savers to tax, insurance, estate, or specialists when needed.
  • Check their professional credentials. How long have they been in their field, and what’s their professional background?  What is their current level of education?  Are they a life-long learner and continuing their education?  What designations do they have?  How do their designations and continuing education help them provide thoughtful financial choices and options for you to consider?
  • Most importantly, ask them about their compliance history.  Do they any have client complaints or adverse events during their financial service career?

Some of the investment professionals you meet may not meet your needs, which is why it’s important to have an initial consultation. Setting the tone for an ongoing relationship with an investment professional is a critical first step, so ask as many questions as you can. Give us a call if you’d like to learn more about our process and see if we could be a good fit for you.


This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us of a specific investment or the purchase or sale of any securities. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. This material was developed and produced by Advisor Websites to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Copyright 2022 Advisor Websites.