FPC Investment Advisory, Inc. is a fee-only, fiduciary wealth management firm. Unfortunately, not everyone who we speak with knows exactly what that means. Many people who are researching financial service professionals to partner with know they should be looking for someone who has their best interest at heart, but in today’s world, it’s tough to know which advisors are actually acting in a fiduciary capacity. Let’s talk about what it means to be a true fiduciary, and why it’s something the FPC team is so passionate about.
What Does It Mean to Be a Fiduciary?
The truth is, “fiduciary” has been a bit of a buzz word in the financial services world for a while now. The Department of Labor (DOL) had created the fiduciary rule to help regulate the financial planning profession, and the rule was intended to be “phased in” from April 2017 to January 2018, when it could be revised if necessary.
The Fiduciary Ruling At a Glance
The DOL’s Fiduciary Ruling holds all financial and investment advisors to a standard of acting in their client’s best interest at all times, and always putting their client’s best interest above their own. While this might seem like a given when working with a financial professional, it’s unfortunately not always the case.
Many advisors have conflicts of interest, specifically when it comes to the way they’re compensated. If an advisor receives compensation from the sale of financial products, not exclusively from the fees clients pay, the advice and guidance they give are called into question.
Where Does the Fiduciary Rule Stand Now?
In June of 2018, the rule was officially vacated. Currently, the DOL is working with the SEC to have the rule reinstated, but until then, many advisors are using the term “fiduciary” to describe their businesses while not adhering to the now-vacated fiduciary rule standards.
This causes a lot of confusion for consumers seeking a financial professional. An advisor can claim to be acting in their best interest, but not fully disclose how they’re compensated – and that’s a problem.
What Does “Fiduciary” Mean to FPC?
At FPC, we firmly believe in the value of fiduciary financial planning relationships, and advice that’s free of conflicts of interest.
That’s why we’ve structured our business to be fee-only. In other words, we’re only compensated by our clients – we don’t receive any compensation from third-party companies for the sale or recommendation of financial products. This in itself helps to bind us to the DOL’s original vision for the fiduciary standard, but we take it a step further.
We’re only compensated by our clients, and we’ve also structured our business to reflect our primary goal: to empower FPC clients (and readers!) to make the financial decisions that are best for them. That means we don’t measure our success internally with number-oriented sales goals that we have to meet, or a specific number of plans we want to create and deliver. In fact, we don’t even focus on targeted client advertising. Our firm has grown almost 100% through client referrals because we believe in always putting the needs of our current clients above our own, and creating an exceptional experience for every individual we work with.
At FPC, we focus on one thing when measuring our own success as a wealth management firm:
How many lives are we able to positively impact?
When we’re able to build lifelong relationships with our clients and create financial strategies that take our clients’ goals and values into account, we believe we’re accomplishing exactly what we set out to do.
Fiduciary Financial Strategies
When we build financial strategies with our clients, we believe in getting an understanding of their whole picture. We believe that we’re more than just number crunchers – we want to help you see the big picture, bird’s eye view of your financial life, and develop the next steps that make the most sense for you.
This doesn’t always look the same for every client, even if they’re at the same point in their financial journey. It doesn’t even look the same year to year or month to month for a single client – your life evolves, and so do your financial goals and needs. We believe that by digging deeper and understanding who you are and what your goals and values are, we’re able to build you an ever-evolving financial strategy that truly prioritizes your best interest.
We’ve Got Your Back
At FPC, being a group of fiduciary professionals is something we take a lot of pride in. We’ve baked the fiduciary standard into everything we do – from the way we price our services, to the way we interact with clients. It’s always unfortunate to see people get burned by advisors who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk when it comes to putting their client’s best interest at heart. It’s one of our goals as a firm to be as transparent as possible and to continue educating people on what it means to be a true fee-only, fiduciary financial planner.