Woodward Financial Advisors is a fiduciary firm. That is a legally defined standard of guidance and service that means an advisor is required to always act in his or her clients’ best interests. By contrast, non-fiduciary financial advisors, such as brokers, can recommend investments that are merely “suitable” for their client. That lower standard is one that most of the general public doesn’t know exists.
Until your own success is aligned with the success of your advisor, it’s difficult to ensure that your best interests are being put first. At our firm we are fiduciaries because we want to be, not because we need to be. Being a fiduciary lets us avoid the potential conflicts, constraints and pressures that many brokers face. Our clients know that the financial planning and investment management advice they receive is based on a foundation of putting their interests first, ahead of our own.
Steve Lockshin framed the issue well in an article I found on Advisor Perspectives, saying “the main reason I’m confident that fiduciaries are the future is because I have faith in the American consumer. Conflicted, self-serving non-fiduciaries will only be able to beguile consumers for so long. Eventually investors large and small will see through the slick marketing campaigns and glossy brochures of golden retrievers and sailboats and decide that they deserve solid, objective advice from able practitioners who are sworn to put clients’ interests first.”
We have purposefully chosen to do business as an independent, fee-only firm. We can’t imagine that folks would do business any other way. It’s time that everyone know that there’s a difference, so please get out there and keep spreading the “F word” with us.
Woodward Financial Advisors is a Chapel Hill, NC based wealth management firm that provides comprehensive financial planning and investment advice. We specialize in helping professional women and their families achieve financial success.