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 put our clients’ interests ahead of our profit motive. We disclose conflicts of interest and are required to put client interests ahead of our profit motive. 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.
Why Choose a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional?
Being a CFP® professional does not in itself make someone an excellent financial advisor; however, it does demonstrate the CFP® professional has met the CFP Board’s stringent education, exam, experience, and ethic requirements.
The financial planning profession can be confusing to clients as there are many people who call themselves “financial planners,” but in reality they are selling commissionable products rather than providing comprehensive financial advice. There are only 77,000 CFP® professionals, but there are are over 250,000 “personal financial advisors” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CFP® professional designation is the first step towards differentiating elite advisors in the financial industry.
At Financial Plan we are committed to staying on the forefront of the dynamic financial industry, and have formalized this commitment by requiring all our advisors hold the CFP® professional designation.
Learn more about the CFP® professional designation…
Most investors are aware of the Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Bernie Madoff. Mr. Madoff used his client’s assets like a personal piggy bank, and used the deposits of new investors to meet the withdrawal demands of existing clients. He was able to engage in this fraud because his firm had custody of client assets and created the fraudulent statements.
Rest assured that at Financial Plan, your assets are held securely by our custodian TD Ameritrade Institutional. Your assets are insured against fraud and bankrupcy to $500,000 by the SIPC and to $149.5 million per account through private insurance purchased by TD Ameritrade through Lloyd’s of London.
Nowadays we are all aware of the problem of identity theft, the threat of internet hackers who can steal data. We also want our personal and financial data to be kept private. At Financial Plan, the only avenue through which a document containing personally identifiable information leaves our office is through a shredder. Our computer files are safe behind robust firewalls and passwords. We do not disclose your personal or financial information to anyone unless required to do so by law.