It may sound obvious, but shouldn’t we always expect to receive advice that is in our best interest? Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it is obvious to us when someone is selling us on something versus advising us.
The most obvious times are probably when you go to buy a car. Do you walk into the dealership and say, “Which car do you think is best for me? How much do you think is fair to pay for it?” Of course not! You walk in ready to negotiate and with the understanding that the person you are talking to has a VERY strong incentive, their commission, to sell you a car. They aren’t there to advise you, they are there to sell you.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates registered investment advisors as fiduciaries, the fiduciary duty also entails:
- Acting with undivided loyalty and utmost good faith
- Providing full and fair disclosure of all material facts, defined as those which "a reasonable investor would consider to be important"
- Not misleading clients
- Avoiding conflicts of interest (such as when the advisor profits more if a client uses one investment instead of another or trades frequently) and disclosing any potential conflicts of interest
- Not using a client's assets for the advisor's own benefit or the benefit of other clients
According to the Cornell Law Dictionary, "A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care." It entails always acting in another’s best interest, even if doing so is contrary to our own. This is how Kathmere Capital Management was formed, having a fiduciary obligation to our clients, independently owned, and not tied to any investment products.
If you aren’t receiving advice from someone with this commitment or you aren’t sure if you are or just want a second opinion on your financial situation, we’d love to talk. Email or call us today.