What is all this talk about fiduciary, anyway, and what’s it to me?
Let’s talk about that. One of the many new expressions technology has brought us is “Google-fu.” Derived from kung-fu, it means you’ve mastered Google’s search engine. With some help from our friends, such as the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), let’s get your “fiduciary-fu” going, with the following resources, from basic to advanced.
A fast-take on fiduciary: “A fiduciary is a professional entrusted to manage assets or wealth while putting the client’s best interests first at all times.” (Sheri’s addendum: People often assume their adviser is a fiduciary, but not every adviser is – not by a long shot.)
For more context around its stand-alone infographic, NAPFA also has created some nifty Fiduciary 101 talking points to assist: “Consumers are hearing the term ‘fiduciary’ more often, but increased awareness doesn’t necessarily equal increased understanding.”
So, how do you spot the difference between the different standards of advice? NAPFA has provided this handy booklet filled with the timeless tips worth considering, like this one: “Be sure that you understand the various ways in which financial professionals are compensated. How compensation is received may affect the advice you receive.”
We’ve also been covering the fiduciary beat in our own posts, such as here: “Who wouldn’t want all financial advice delivered by all financial professionals to be strictly in the best interest of those receiving it? We believe it’s no coincidence that the loudest critics of this ‘no duh’ notion seem to be those who stand to lose the most should the requirement come to pass.”
If you’d like to take a considerably closer look at the political machinations under way, Michael Kitces’ Nerd’s Eye View often offers solid perspective on that front. The details are subject to change as I type (for example, references to former Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder are now moot points), but Kitces’ overview of the issues remains relevant, as he surmises: “Confusion Reigns On The Fiduciary Rule’s Path Forward From Here.”
While I’m glad the public is becoming increasingly familiar with the term, “fiduciary,” the reason why is less ideal. It’s been frustrating to read about the ever-shifting roadblocks impeding fiduciary progress already underway. This includes the recent re-scrutiny of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule and another potential hold-up looming over the similar intents embodied in the Dodd-Frank Act.
Amidst the onslaught, I hope it helps to know that we at SageBroadview, our colleagues at NAPFA, fellow financial thought-leaders like Michael Kitces, and many other like-minded Registered Investment Advisor friends have long shared a common interest in advancing fiduciary standards of care among the financial advisor community. Regardless of the rules and regulations – or a lack thereof – that’s one reality you can continue to rely on. Give us a call anytime we can help you master your own fiduciary-fu.
SAGE Serendipity: Ever hear of nomophobia (derived from No-Mobile Phobia)? It’s the feeling of panic one has upon being separated from one’s phone or tablet. Or have you ever experienced the phantom ring aka Fauxcellarm or ringxiety? This refers to the perception that one’s mobile device is ringing (or, more precisely, vibrating) when, in fact, it is not. These are disorders currently being studied by clinical psychologist and cognitive neuroscientists. Tammy Kennon of The Week enlightens us in 5 New brain disorders that were born out of the digital age.