The definition for, and the application of, a fiduciary standard is a topic in great debate now within the U.S. financial services industry. In Australia, members of the Financial Planning Association must adhere to the (slightly abridged) following Code of Ethics.
Principle 1: Client First
Placing the client’s interests first is a hallmark of professionalism, requiring the financial planner to act honestly and not place personal and/or employer gain or advantage before the client’s interests.
Principle 2: Integrity
Integrity requires honesty and candor in all professional matters. Financial planners are placed in positions of trust by clients, and the ultimate source of that trust is the financial planner’s personal integrity. Allowance can be made for legitimate differences of opinion, but integrity cannot co-exist with deceit or subordination of one’s principles. Integrity requires the financial planner to observe both the letter and the spirit of the Code of Ethics.
Principle 3: Objectivity
Objectivity requires intellectual honesty and impartiality. Regardless of the services delivered or the capacity in which a financial planner functions, objectivity requires financial planners to ensure the integrity of their work, manage conflicts, and exercise sound professional judgment.
Principle 4: Fairness
Fairness requires providing clients what they are due, owed, or should expect from a professional relationship, and includes honesty and disclosure of material conflicts of interest…Fairness is treating others in the same manner that you would want to be treated.