Who Is Looking Out For Me?

The world of investments can seem like a foreign language to many.  For numerous investors, they rely heavily on their advisor or broker to do the right thing, to understand what their financial goals are.  They rely heavily on their advisor or broker, because investments are difficult to understand, with a multitude of investment choices, returns, tax advantages and fees within those choices. How do you know who is looking out for your best interest?

According to the Bloomberg article `Clueless’ U.S. Investors Believe Brokers Have Fiduciary Duty (Survey Says, September 2010)  “Three out of four U.S. investors mistakenly think that financial advisers at brokerage firms are required to put clients’ interests first, said a survey by several consumer and financial planning organizations.”  This raises many questions an investor needs to ask when meeting with their advisor, such as ‘What is a fiduciary?’ and  ‘Are you acting as a fiduciary for me?’.  The answer to what is a fiduciary should be something along the lines of:  A fiduciary is a person or institution given the power to act on behalf of another, in situations that require great trust, honesty and loyalty and in YOUR best interest.    A fiduciary does not buy and sell to generate commissions for themselves, they do not choose investment vehicles based on commission for themselves,  a fiduciary bases holdings in your account on returns, tax advantages and what fits best overall into your portfolio and for YOUR best interest. 

All that said, is it time you find out who is acting as your fiduciary?

Diane E. Guimond

Wealth Advisor