Fiduciary is a term that is entering the public consciousness dramatically. Advisors and agents should prepare to demonstrate exactly how they are placing their clients’ needs above their own.
Various surveys conducted by financial services companies indicate that 93% of Americans believe that financial advisors should be fiduciaries. Many of those surveyed said that if they found out that their advisor was not a fiduciary, they would either question the advice given or their advisor altogether.
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The bar is rising in wealth management and retirement income planning as more consumers discover the benefits of working with a fiduciary. The recent debate over the conflict of interest rule has fostered an awareness among the public about this topic. Discussions about fiduciary responsibility have many people questioning their assumptions about what makes for a reputable advisor.
Consumers of financial products and services now know the differences between a fiduciary advisor and one who is not. As they discover more, clients are starting to take a more in-depth approach when hiring someone to manage their finances.
Advisors can be sure that they will be asked whether or they are fiduciaries. Their backgrounds and expertise will be subject to greater scrutiny. Advisors wanting to stay ahead of the fiduciary trend must examine some of the most relevant questions clients will ask and prepare their responses in advance to ensure they meet changing client expectations.
Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions I get from prospects and clients, especially the average-income investors who stand to benefit most from the new fiduciary standards.
1. Are you a fiduciary?
This is a direct question that deserves an equally direct response. Don’t try to twist language around to make a prospect believe you are a fiduciary if you are not. A simple yes or no is all you need here.