Is Your Financial Advisor Acting in Your Best Interest?

Peter Mallouk
JD, MBA, CFP®
Chief Investment Officer
cpi@creativeplanning.com

Believe it or not, very few financial advisors are legally required to act in your best interests. With some, you may even be paying a fee for “advice” that results in the advisor advising you to buy their own products! This simple email to your advisor will help you determine if you are getting the advice you are paying for and deserve! You wouldn’t go to a doctor, lawyer or accountant that only had to act in your best interests some of the time, and you wouldn’t pay a fee to any of these professionals to determine which of their own products to buy. Demand the same from your financial advisor!

The answers you want to see to the following questions are simple. When it comes to your investments, you always want an advisor that has to serve as a fiduciary to you 100% of the time. Advisors that are brokers or that are dually registered don’t pass this test. Also, smart investors don’t pay a fee to an advisor to be advised to buy the advisor’s own products! The only good answer to #2 is a short and sweet “No.”

Dear [Financial Advisor],

Thank you for your efforts on behalf of my family. I am working on becoming as educated as possible about my investments. So I can better understand our relationship and my investments, please provide the following answer to me in writing:

1. When it comes to my investments, are you a fiduciary 100% of the time (solely an independent advisor that must always serve as a fiduciary to my family), a broker (sometimes can serve as a fiduciary and has the ability to not serve as a fiduciary) or a dually registered advisor (sometimes serves as a fiduciary and has the ability to not serve as a fiduciary)?

2. Do you, your parent company, or any affiliate offer their own investment products? Do any of your firm’s clients own these investment products?
I thank you in advance for your cooperation and understanding.

Sincerely,

[My Name]