Don Trone, CEO of 3Ethos—who’s often referred to as “Mr. Fiduciary”—has launched a new fiduciary designation—the Global Fiduciary Strategist (GFS)—that will compete with fi360’s Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) designation. Both credentials, Trone says, will play a vital role once the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) promulgates its uniform fiduciary standard rule for brokers and advisors.
Says Trone (left): “There will be a lot of demand for fiduciary training once the SEC’s [fiduciary] rule gets defined.”
GFS represents the “next generation of fiduciary training,” Trone says, which will be much more “rigorous” than the AIF designation he crafted for fi360 back in 1999—when he was fi360’s principal, founder and CEO. After going through a legal tussle with fi360 last year, Trone’s new company, 3Ethos, and fi360 are now competitors.
The new GFS designation will also be based on an academic certificate awarded by one of the leading graduate schools, which Trone says he plans to announce soon.
Training for the GFS designation will include both core courses and electives, with electives being drawn from the following practice areas: wealth management, retirement planning, financial planning, healthcare and special needs planning, insurance planning, and trusteeship (working with foundations and endowments).
Professionals will have a choice of completing the coursework online, or at one of several designated campuses. Organizations also can request custom training at sites designated by the organization.
“When I developed the training program for the AIF for fi360 back in 1999, we were still in an environment where the vast majority of the industry was in denial about fiduciary responsibility,” Trone says. In developing the first generation of fiduciary training back then, “my focus was just to come out with a clear message that when you provide comprehensive and continuous investment advice, the likelihood is you will be held to a fiduciary standard,” he says. ”And I developed one approach with the idea of one size fits all—whether you call yourself a wealth manager or retirement advisor, insurance planner—here is one approach that fits no matter what your practice area is.”
(3Ethos, by the way, comes from the three traits that distinguish “truly great” advisors: their leadership behavior, core values and decision making. The Greek word ‘ethos’ is defined as ‘character,’ which is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community.)
The new GFS takes the concept to a graduate degree or undergraduate degree level, and “will include electives that will tie the practice area to fiduciary standards.”