If you’ve been unable to disconnect from the political news scene, it’s likely that you’ve heard some talk about a ‘fiduciary standard of care’ being imposed on financial advisors by the Department of Labor. It’s made news of late because President Trump signed an executive order proposing to delay the implementation of this new standard for further review. So what is this fiduciary standard and how does it affect you and me?
Before I get into specifics of the proposed standard, it may be helpful for you to know that Fourth Dimension Financial Group has been setup for this since 2010, serving you as a fiduciary since the very beginning of our firm’s existence. Therefore, you’re under the new standard because we’ve been voluntarily operating under the standard for years now.
Before I share more specifics, it may be helpful for you to click this link and read about the fiduciary standard in this Forbes article: CLICK HERE FOR ARTICLE
Since being a fiduciary requires me to act in the best interests of our clients, that means we do things a bit differently than most of the big-named firms that choose to not operate as fiduciaries. For example, a fiduciary must be transparent with their fees charged for services. If you’re a client of ours, you know that investment management fees, for example, are shown on your Folio, Fidelity, and Betterment statements. Believe it or not, non-fiduciary advisors will not always show their fees, using investments with costs that must be searched for in prospectuses and fund databases.
While fees are a very specific example, a bigger picture look can reveal other matters of interest to those seeking best advice for their life savings. If an advisor seeks to work in the client’s best interest, how likely is it that every client’s needs are best met by a single solution? As a fiduciary, we choose to seek out the best options available from any number of providers, whether it’s the three investment managers we work with, or the dozens of insurance companies we have arrangements with to provide annuities, life insurance, and long term care solutions. In other words, the fiduciary is out there regularly asking the question; “Who has the best option for my client?” rather than exclusively offering their company’s line of products.
If you read the linked Forbes article above, you may have noticed the recommendation to seek an advisor with credentials that demonstrate expertise in your area of need. You also may have noticed the RICP® after my name. That means I’ve completed studies and passed exams in the Retirement Income Certified Professional program, administered by The American College. It’s a very focused program that equips advisors to serve the income, health care, and life planning needs of those who are transitioning into and through retirement. Based on who our client families are, that’s the vast majority of people we serve.
So while President Trump seeks to delay the fiduciary standard of care that requires advisors to act in the best interest of their clients, we are not in need of a delay; we’ve been carrying out the fiduciary standard for years. Your plans should not be affected by this, which is very good news. As for the rest of our industry, who is seeing this potential delay as a blessing, allowing them to maintain business as usual, we’re excited to have made the choice years ago to do what we felt was right, long in advance of being required to.
Please direct any questions to me here.
All the best,
Adam Cufr, RICP®