It is important to have complete trust and confidence in your financial advisor. Unfortunately, even those who take advantage of their clients talk a good game, so how can you tell if your advisor is worthy of your trust?
In a nutshell: trust but verify. Having a “gut level” feeling about us is nice, but it is not enough. Talk to your friends and co workers about their experience with us. Investment managers managing over $100 million in assets are required to be registered with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). Look at our clean record at www.sec.gov. In addition to undergoing rigorous SEC audits we are also held to the fiduciary standard, which essentially means we are required to act in the best interests of our clients. We disclose conflicts of interest and are required to put client interests ahead of our own. Our independent, fee only business structure results in objective advice and minimizes conflicts of interest.
Please note the fiduciary standard is quite different from the suitability standard. Securities sales people are subject to the suitability standard, as set in federal legislation dating back to 1940. This allows them to push products that maximize their own compensation, as long as such products are appropriate, or suitable, for their clients, though not objectively the best for their circumstances. Be sure to ask your advisor or prospective advisor what standard they are held to through their registration.
Also be aware that your Financial Plan, Inc. advisors are CFP practitioners who must comply with the CFP code of ethics or risk sanctions.