In the last year, there has been a lot of discussion over a proposed Department of Labor (DOL) rule requiring financial professionals to put a client’s interests above their own when providing advice for retirement accounts. Hold on a minute– don’t all financial advisors do this? And why should it apply only to retirement accounts? If you are confused by all the talk, you are not alone.
Two Types of Advice
The DOL’s attempt to implement a fiduciary standard has shined a bright light on the differences between brokers who operate under a so-called “suitability standard” and registered investment advisors who follow fiduciary practices. Basically, the financial advisory industry is divided into two camps:
– Advisors who buy and sell products (funds, stocks, trusts, insurance…) that meet your objective and may be paid commissions on those transactions.
– Advisors who give advice in your best interest, based on established principles and your own goals.
Some firms only sell products. Some offer only advice. Others do both – which creates a lot of confusion.
Is All Advice of Equal Value?
Unfortunately, no. And separating advice that’s in your best interest from advice that is not is as hard as separating real facts from fake facts.
To identify an advisor whose interests are aligned with your own, start by looking at their services, processes and fee structure.
HTG is a Fiduciary
When HTG Investment Advisors was founded twenty four years ago, we wanted to be good stewards of wealth. While no clear standard of care existed at the time, we adopted a fiduciary state of mind. In order to ensure that we serve your best interest, we:
• Learn about you and your goals.
• Minimize and disclose conflicts of interest.
• Provide transparency regarding fees, portfolio design and reporting.
• Manage discretionary portfolios based on your needs/goals.
• Use independent, unaffiliated custodians.
• Accept revenues solely from you, not commissions related to the buying and selling of products. We are a fee-only advisory firm.
Our goal is to provide experienced advice and a high level of service, tailored to your circumstances.
While we didn’t need regulation to tell us the right thing to do, we certainly support any effort which can help and protect the individual investor. We don’t know the fate of the DOL Rule, but fully agree with its underlying principle.
With or without the DOL rule, HTG will always operate as a fiduciary. It’s woven into our original fabric.
Learn more about HTG Investment Advisors, read Our Story.