Your finances and welfare may depend on the real difference between what is in your best interests and what is just potentially suitable. We will always recommend that you accept nothing less than a fiduciary standard of care — you deserve it.
Fee-Only Fiduciary vs. Commissioned Based
For those not familiar with the term fiduciary, a fiduciary is “an individual in whom another has placed the utmost trust and confidence to manage and protect property or money. The relationship wherein one person has an obligation to act for another’s benefit.”
Most investors are not aware of a major division of financial professionals in the investment management world. This distinction lies between a fee-only fiduciary who are free to act in your best interests and commission-based agents and brokers who are required to act in the best interest of the companies that employ them. Even when people have some indication about the differences, several important misconceptions continue to remain about both and it can easily become very confusing.
A fee-only fiduciary has a legal obligation to act in a client’s best interests. A commission-based agent or broker has no such legal obligation, and while they are allowed to pose as a financial advisor, they are merely no more than a salesman. Their legal standard is called suitability, which means that the products they sell clients have to be vaguely suitable for their clients to purchase. They are legally safe as long as they follow their regulations regarding signatures and disclosures, which clients may not always pay attention to.
It’s Simple to Ask For
What this means is, if you are looking to hire someone to watch over your life savings and investments, ask them one simple question: are you a fee-only fiduciary? If the answer is not a clear yes, it may be best for you to look else where. While they might offer some reasonably good financial advice, chances are, their primary objective is to sell you some kind of investment product, even if it’s not good for your bottom line.
Also, keep in mind that some banks, credit unions, and investment services also offer free financial help. The takeaway is the same — ask if they’re a fiduciary.
Iron Mountain is a
Meaning we always keep your best interests at the foremost of our thinking. Our firm is “fee-only” in that we are not paid anywhere other than directly from you, our client. We do not receive commissions or sell financial products.
All fees are fully disclosed before a Client service Agreement begins.
Our Fiduciary Oath
Because we believe in placing our clients’ best interests first, we commit to the following five fiduciary principles:
- We will always put our clients’ best interests first.
- We will act with prudence; that is, with the skill, care, diligence, and good judgement of a professional.
- We will not mislead clients, and will provide conspicuous, full and fair disclosure of all important facts.
- We will avoid conflicts of interest.
- We will fully disclose and fairly manage, in our clients’ favor, any unavoidable conflicts.