Over 30 percent of people in a recent survey had no idea how their financial professional is compensated. That’s up from 28 percent last year*.
It’s a sign of the times. We live in an era where most of us just scroll through and accept the latest phone updates. Do you read the disclaimers? Did you really read the fine print of the pop-ups on your favorite website?
Somewhere in the inundation of details, many of us have resigned. We sign financial service agreements, trust the smile on the face of the representative, listen to assurances of their goodness, and based on our observations, consider if they’re offering a fair deal.
Unfortunately, the disparity between financial professionals differs far more than the disparity between cell phones or grocery stores. There are some financial professionals who aren’t very interested in making sure you know how, how often, and how much he or she is compensated.
That’s because the majority of financial professionals are not required to act under the fiduciary principle at all times.
Perhaps you’re ok with your financial professional charging commissions, pushing proprietary products, and facing conflicts of interest.
Even then, you should be aware of how he or she gets paid.
But if you’re not ok with commissions, proprietary products, and conflicts of interest, find an advisor you can trust – a fee-only fiduciary – who is obligated to always act in your best interest.
Every financial professional is required to divulge how they deal with you, and whether or not they are a fiduciary, in Form CRS. Ask for it. It’s typically available on their website.
Study the Form CRS, and make sure you get his or her fiduciary claim in writing. If you’re looking for help there, we’ve got a fiduciary oath for you on our website, a document you can print and have your financial professional sign. You deserve to know.