You may not be familiar with the word fiduciary, but you certainly understand the concept behind it. The definition of fiduciary is an individual or institution that has a duty to act in the best interest of the client in all matters, at all times. A stock broker or other commissioned salesperson cannot be a fiduciary because of the inherent conflict of interest associated with the sale of financial products.

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) defines fiduciary as: A financial advisor held to a Fiduciary Standard occupies a position of special trust and confidence when working with a client. As a Fiduciary, the financial advisor is required to act with undivided loyalty to the client. This includes disclosure of how the financial advisor is to be compensated and any corresponding conflicts of interest.

NAPFA is proud to be the only professional association that requires every member to adhere to a Fiduciary Oath. This oath is the guiding principle for NAPFA members as they go about advising their clients on a daily basis. All employees at Financial Planning Office sign this oath and the NAPFA Code of Ethics.

NAPFA Fiduciary Oath

The advisor shall exercise his/her best efforts to act in utmost good faith and in the best interests of the client.

The advisor shall provide written disclosure to the client prior to the engagement of the advisor, and thereafter throughout the term of the engagement, of any conflicts of interest, which will or reasonably may compromise the impartiality or independence of the advisor.

The advisor, or any party in which the advisor has a financial interest, does not receive any compensation or other remuneration that is contingent on any client’s purchase or sale of a financial product.

The advisor does not receive a fee or other compensation from another party based on the referral of a client or the client’s business.

Following the NAPFA Fiduciary Oath means we shall:

  • Always act in good faith and with candor.
  • Be proactive in disclosing any conflicts of interest that may impact a client.
  • Not accept any referral fees or compensation contingent upon the purchase or sale of a financial product.
  • We shall not accept compensation from any other party.

NAPFA CODE OF ETHICS

Objectivity: NAPFA members strive to be as unbiased as possible in providing advice to clients, and NAPFA members practice on a Fee-Only basis.

Confidentiality: NAPFA members shall keep all client data private, unless authorization is received from the client to share it. NAPFA members shall treat all documents with care and take care when disposing of them. Relations with clients shall be kept private.

Competence: NAPFA members shall strive to maintain a high level of knowledge and ability. Members shall attain continuing education at least at the minimum level required by NAPFA. Members shall not provide advice in areas where they are not capable.

Fairness & Suitability: Dealings and recommendation with clients will always be in the client’s best interests. NAPFA members put their clients first.

Integrity & Honesty: NAPFA members will endeavor to always take the high road and to be ever mindful of the potential for misunderstanding that can accrue in normal human interactions. NAPFA members will be diligent to keep actions and reactions so far aboveboard that a thinking client or other professional would not doubt intentions. In all actions, NAPFA members should be mindful that in addition to serving our clients, we are about the business of building a profession, and our actions should reflect this.

Regulatory Compliance: NAPFA members will strive to maintain conformity with legal regulations.

Full Disclosure: NAPFA members shall fully describe method of compensation and potential conflicts of interest to clients and also specify the total cost of investments.

Professionalism: NAPFA members shall conduct themselves in a way that would be a credit to NAPFA at all times. NAPFA membership involves integrity, honest treatment of clients, and treating people with respect.