A doctor is expected at a minimum to do no harm. The best version of a doctor is someone who diagnoses the patient’s needs, matches the need to a cure or therapy that will help, comforts the patient, and maybe even inspires them to live a healthier life.
The same should be expected of a financial advisor. At a minimum, we should seek to do no harm. In our industry, that means that financial advisors should not make recommendations that benefit themselves more than their clients. That seems pretty straightforward. At BFS Advisory Group, we seek to go further, taking something that can be confusing and oftentimes scary to people – investments – and teaching our clients enough to feel confident in their overall financial plan, maybe even inspiring them to make healthier decisions.
Our industry puts considerable focus on the word “fiduciary,” as it should. The challenge is that while most people inherently understand that a fiduciary is someone who looks out for you or your money, they don’t understand the importance of how the word should apply when you choose a financial advisor.
Kiplinger recently released an article that described how to find out if your advisor is committed to acting in your best interest. The article highlights the SEC’s 2019 Regulation Best Interest rule, which says that recommendations by financial advisors must be suitable. Even this rule doesn’t call for all financial advisors to be fiduciaries. However, all CFPs do in fact have to meet a fiduciary standard. According to Kiplinger: “As part of their certification, CFP® professionals make a commitment to the CFP Board to act as a fiduciary when providing financial advice.”
At BFS Advisory Group, we have both CFP and CFA designations on the team, which means that we always put our clients’ interests first. We sought these designations not because we wanted yet another regulatory requirement, but because we value expertise and have always chosen to behave as fiduciaries. Our mission is to help our clients to use their money to have the lives they want. If you have questions or want to talk about your financial plan, or if you have suggestions about what you want to learn about here, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Debra Brennan Tagg is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and the creator of the DBT360 Financial Plan, a proprietary program that helps her clients prioritize their goals, leverage their resources, and address their risks. She is the president of BFS Advisory Group and teaches the public and the financial services industry about the importance of values-based financial planning and investor education.