A Quarter Of All "Fiduciaries" Are Still Not Capitalizing On That Fact

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 22:59
A Quarter Of All

Tags: fiduciaries | prospecting

By this point, fiduciary advisors know that their conflict-free code of ethics is a big differentiator in the eyes of prospects. But this only raises the question of what a "fiduciary" means these days.

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The findings from Boston account aggregator ByAllAccounts reveal that 67% of advisors who describe themselves as fiduciaries do in fact capitalize on this fact at least some of the time. 


But the matter of whether those advisors are true fiduciaries or simply flocking to the fiduciary banner was not clarified.


ByAllAccounts seems to have framed the topic in terms of monitoring client accounts in the aggregate -- "reporting and advising on all of a client's assets is one of the top three things two-thirds of advisors say is indicative of putting their clients' interests first."


According to that standard, 90% of all advisors the company talked to believe they are acting as a fiduciary. But in fact less than half of them engage in that sort of aggregate account monitoring.


A little over half say they provide conflict-free advice on retirement accounts, and that's how they earn the "fiduciary" label. And 72% create a financial plan for their clients.


Maybe the financial plan is the best indicator of fiduciary practice? But no -- according to the most recent court rulings, anyway. Remember, apparently advisors who prepare a financial plan for free are exempt from the fiduciary code, and thus are not fiduciaries.

Comments (2)

Using aggregation in the litmus test for fiduciary status is a little silly. Whether you aggregate accounts is a minor affair next to compensation issues. For a discussion of that, check out Steve Wershing's post (and the comments) this morning about using the fiduciary standard as the basis for marketing at https://advisors4advisors.com/i...temid=264.
agluck , March 18, 2011
I hear you. There seem to be some pretty obvious conflicts of interest involved in trying to attach the fiduciary brand to whatever characteristics happen to suit someone's business model -- in this case, the company that sells aggregation services arguing that fiduciaries are necessarily aggregators.

But that seems to be where we are now, for better or worse. "Fiduciary" has become such a buzzword that it's being grabbed by everyone ... and is losing its meaning.
ScottMartin , March 21, 2011

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