There is no perfect solution. There are no perfect strategies, perfect investments or no perfect financial products. Ultimately, your job is to orchestrate the very best outcome you can using the best information available to you. When you truly work with your client’s best interests at heart, the opportunity to positively impact families and futures is tremendous.
So what’s the problem? How can this go wrong? If you do make the mistake of placing your own interests above your clients’, things can go very wrong. To get the best result for your client, there should be no “selling,” only discovering and facilitating. We discover the client’s true desires and needs, and only then do we facilitate her commitment to the most appropriate strategy and the purchase of the most suitable product or investment. Putting those steps in the wrong order will eventually lead to problems.
There has been and will continue to be much talk within the financial advisor community concerning a fiduciary “standard of care” when serving clients. At the heart of that issue is the question of how to keep clients’ interests ahead of advisors’. Again, no perfect solutions are to be found. And until that regulation is fully developed, the burden falls on each individual advisor to continually ask whether his business model allows for a client-first approach. If there is a nagging feeling that the need to sell certain products trumps the client’s true needs, then the business model may need to be revamped.
Yes, we are imperfect human beings serving other imperfect human beings in an imperfect financial system. We may very well make mistakes. But there is no doubt that professional integrity and old-school honesty lead to better outcomes for the families we serve. And that’s what being an “advisor” is all about.
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Adam Cufr, RICP®, is a founding principal of Fourth Dimension Financial Group, LLC. He is an advisor, a sought-after financial commentator, and the author of “Off the Record – Secrets to Building a Successful Retirement and a Lasting Legacy.” To learn more, go to www.OfftheRecordRetirement.com.