When is a Fiduciary Not Really a Fiduciary?
It is often difficult to distinguish the services of one financial “advisor” from another. The cynical among us would suggest that this is the result of calculated efforts to confuse the public mind on the issue. We have those who function as nothing more than product salespersons calling themselves “advisors”. When you go into the Ford dealer to buy a car, you are well aware that they are trying to get you to buy a Ford whether they call their representative a salesperson, an advisor, a consultant, or whatever. But when you walk into a brokerage firm (the financial industry’s version of a car dealer), we think someone with the title of “advisor” is actually objectively reviewing all alternatives and merely “advising” us on what is truly the best for us?
A big push over the past few years has been to educate the public on the difference between a “fiduciary advisor” – i.e., someone who truly IS objective and unbiased and owes you the obligation to guide you to what is best for you – and these salesperson “advisors”. However, now some of the salesperson “advisors” have structured themselves in a way to be able to claim they are providing “fiduciary” advice. It is certainly not the same level of fiduciary advice as is provided by an independent fiduciary because of the rampant conflicts of interest between the product sales element of the brokerage firm and the advisory arm of the “fiduciary”. But it certainly and effectively muddies the waters.
If you are confused about these differences, visit our website at www.financialfiduciariesllc.com. We provide convenient and updated access there to information that will hopefully bring you to a clearer understanding on differences between financial services providers. Also on our website and/or YouTube channel enjoy the short video Tom Batterman presents on “Fiduciaries vs. other “financial advisors”, which will provide a somewhat humorous – yet meaningful – take on the these distinctions.