We believe the most conflicted professional is the one who can wear “two hats”, effectively turning off and on their fiduciary duty to clients at their discretion. Increasingly, these financial professionals are ‘dually-registered’ with both a broker-dealer and an advisory firm. Your financial professional is not a “fee-only” fiduciary for you at all times if:
- They are paid commissions for the sale of insurance, investments or other products.
- They receive compensation from parties other than you, including a mutual fund company, insurance company, broker-dealer, or others.
- Their website or financial literature includes the disclosures about their firm, usually in the fine print, “Securities offered through (XYZ Financial), member FINRA / SIPC”.
- Their website or financial literature includes the disclosures about their firm, usually in the fine print, “(XYZ Financial) may only discuss and/or transact securities business with residents of the following states: ………….”.
Additionally, the unwillingness of a financial professional to sign a fiduciary oath, pledging to place your interests ahead of their own or those of their employer, is a tell-tale sign of a non-fiduciary.