You may have heard media reports about a new fiduciary rule for retirement accounts. A Texas Court recently ruled against an action to stop implementation of the new rule, scheduled to take effect in April. However, President Trump recently directed the Department of Labor to reexamine the rule. Understandably, you probably have questions about how this might impact your accounts. The rule was designed to ensure recommendations made by financial advisors to their clients regarding their retirement accounts are always made in the best interests of the client without any conflicts of interest.
The good news is that this doesn’t affect your accounts with us at all. As a Registered Investment Advisor, we are already under the highest fiduciary standard – so enacting the rule or rescinding it doesn’t change our status. We have had this higher standard in place all along and will continue to do so. It’s always been part of our DNA.
A “fiduciary” who manages an investor’s assets has a legal and ethical obligation to put the investor’s interests first. That means helping the investor make decisions in his or her best interests. This fiduciary standard has always been at the core of our firm’s mission to our clients. Here’s how we protect you and your investments:
- We always put your needs first. We are committed to the highest professional and personal standards, and this commitment remains as strong as ever. Our sole focus is on your financial needs and goals and how we can best help you pursue them.
- We always act in your best interests. We are committed to putting your needs and goals before those of our firm. We provide a high level of transparency around any fees or expenses associated with your accounts, so that you always know what you own and what you’re paying for it, so there are never any surprises.
- We are an independent and objective resource. As an independent firm, we have no vested interest in promoting a particular product or service. Our only interest is that your financial objectives are met.
In financial services, there have traditionally been two types of standards: the suitability standard and the fiduciary standard. The suitability standard is defined as determining whether an investment product or strategy is “suitable” for the investor based on his or her financial objectives and risk comfort level. Many advisors operate under the suitability standard where the advisor simply determines whether a recommended product or strategy is suitable for the client. The fiduciary standard is a higher level of responsibility for the advisor.
The fiduciary standard goes beyond suitability and requires that any advice on products and strategies be provided in the best interests of the investor. The fiduciary standard of care requires that the advisor take into consideration whether the fees are reasonable, whether there are any conflicts of interest, and whether the investments are adequately diversified.
When it comes to managing your money, your financial relationships should be built on a foundation of trust, integrity and transparency. Not all firms and advisors adhere to the same legal and regulatory standards. We remain committed to earning and maintaining your trust through expert advice and effective strategies custom tailored to your unique needs. We define our success by seeing you succeed in achieving your financial goals. And our focus remains on serving your interests first and foremost.
Chief Executive Officer
Thank you to the Trust Company of America for their assistance with this article.