Golotko: Tips for choosing the right financial planner

We all make hundreds of decisions every day, from what we wear, to where we eat lunch. Many of these decisions are simple and don’t have a lasting impact on our lives. Some decisions are more important, like deciding to buy a house.

A few decisions are so important we will feel the effects of them the rest of our lives. Choosing a financial adviser is one of those decisions: Having the right planner can be the difference between having a long, happy retirement and running out of money and leaving nothing to your children.

A good planner is more than just an expert on finances and taxes – the right planner should feel like a friend you can share your hopes, dreams and fears with. The job of “financial planner” is just as much about teaching and counseling as it is about investments, taxes and insurance.

The very first thing you need to do before you look for a financial planner is to educate yourself on how the financial-services business works. Just about anyone can call themselves a financial planner. Financial planners have varying qualifications, education and professional licenses. A potential adviser should be able to explain how their education, experience and professional credentials are relevant to your needs, and how they will help you make good financial decisions.

There is no single government agency that regulates financial planning, so it is important for you to understand the different kinds of business models financial advisers can use. Many advisers sell insurance products and loaded mutual funds to earn commissions, while a few are fee-only and do not accept commissions for selling products. Once you start interviewing potential advisers, be ready to ask tough questions.

Sometimes it will take tough questions to separate salesmen from the advisers. When it comes to interviewing an adviser, no question is off-limits.

• Ask the adviser what qualifies him or her to give financial advice.

• If you’re expecting tax advice, ask if the adviser is licensed to represent clients before the IRS.

• Ask what kinds of products the adviser might recommend.

• Most importantly, ask how the adviser is getting paid, and how the adviser’s firm gets paid.

Communication style is a critical part of the client-adviser relationship. No matter how qualified and experienced an advisor is, if you don’t understand the advice, and he or she doesn’t understand your hopes, dreams and fears, the relationship probably won’t work. Talking to the right adviser should feel like talking to a teacher who can take complicated things and explain them in a way you can understand.

Remember, it’s your money and your future. Choosing a financial planner could be one of the most important financial decisions you make. Take the time to educate yourself, ask questions and find a well-qualified adviser who speaks in language you can understand.

Peter C. Golotko is president and CEO of CPS Investment Advisors. Matthew A. Treskovich is the chief investment officer for CPS Investment Advisors and a CPA financial planner with the firm.

Financial planners should work towards your goals, not theirs

Updated

January 17, 2018 17:37:47

Rainbow over boats moored at marina
Photo:

If one of your main retirement goals is a new boat, then your financial planner should help you achieve that. (Boombi, ABC Contribute)

The other day a friend of mine was telling me she and her husband had just bought a boat, and their financial planner was furious.

My friend is in a very senior role earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. Her husband is also in a senior role with a big income.

In a nutshell, they are not poor and can easily afford their new toy.

Buying that boat will have no impact on their standard of living in retirement, yet their financial planner is not happy.

It set me wondering why, and I think there are two reasons.

As the conversation with my friend progressed, I learned her financial planner charges her what’s known as an asset-based “fee”, which is a percentage of the money he manages on her behalf.

It’s a commission by any other name and the more money he manages, the more money he earns.

So, to announce that you’ve just spent the best part of a million dollars on a boat is saying to this financial planner that he will have a million dollars less to manage and will be getting paid less.

Ouch! Who wants a pay cut?

Fee for advice the only way to avoid conflicts

But the much bigger issue, as we have seen in all the financial planning scandals over the years, is that how financial planners get paid affects the advice they give.

If your salary depends on how much money you are managing, you will want that money pile to be as big as possible.

This is where the conflict between your interest and their interest emerges.

CPA advice tackles conflicts

CPA launches a conflict-free, fee-for-service financial planning arm, but it could have supported this standard universally.

For many people, the best advice a financial planner can give is to simply pay off their house.

As with the boat, though, there’s no incentive to give that advice if they are giving themselves a pay cut at the same time.

It’s why genuine fee for advice must be the way forward.

You want a financial adviser who only gets paid for his or her advice and nothing else.

It liberates advisers to focus on what’s best for you, rather than thinking, “if I say this or that, how will I get paid?”

If a financial planner is charging an asset-based fee you can’t be sure he or she is working for you and not themselves.

Advice to achieve goals, not maximise wealth

The second reason I think my friend’s financial planner is unhappy with the boat is that I don’t think he fully understands his role.

A financial planner is not there to solely maximise your wealth.

The role of a financial planner is to help people achieve their goals in life.

Your adviser should know your goals because it should be one of the first questions asked when you meet for the first time.

Which is why my friend’s decision to buy a new boat should have been no surprise. The planner should have known they already had a boat and at some stage would be replacing it.

Once goals are out on the table the job then is to devise a strategy to pay for them, and that’s where the planner earns his or her money.

For some people it may mean extracting every cent possible from their wealth generating ability. For others it won’t.

And, of course, a goal that’s at or near the top for all of us is to be happy.

My friend and her husband could have invested their million dollars in a share portfolio they don’t need and made lots more money.

They’re much happier with the boat.

Topics:

consumer-finance,

consumer-protection,

superannuation,

banking,

australia

First posted

January 17, 2018 06:00:00

MDRT Study: Successful Financial Planning Contingent on Personal …

Personal connections deepen trust
Most Americans (87 percent) have at least some trust in financial professionals and 53 percent have a moderate amount or great deal of trust. When asked what would make an advisor more trustworthy to them, more than half (56 percent) of consumers cite communication on a personal level. Others look at professional credentials, like years of work experience (54 percent) and membership in industry associations (35 percent).

A financial professional’s gender and age are generally less important. The majority (82 percent) have no gender preference if they were to hire a financial professional, and only 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent) would prefer an older financial professional.

For some, a dedication to social responsibility and contributions to local communities is important. About one in four millennials (ages 18-34; 26 percent) are more inclined to trust professionals who volunteer and are involved at the local level, more so than those age 45 and above (14 percent).

“Consumers should seek advisors who match their personal values and preferences for communication style, experience level and association involvement,” said James D. Pittman, CLU, CFP, MDRT President. “These factors will help develop a long-term professional and personal connection to set yourself up for success.”

Of those with an advisor, 63 percent have been working together for five years or more. Roughly one in four (26 percent) for five to nine years, 13 percent for 10-14 years and 24 percent for 15 years or more.

More than half plan with a purpose
Overall, about three in five Americans who currently work with a financial professional (62%) say they do so to set realistic financial goals for themselves. Additionally, 56 percent work with a professional to set up a comprehensive plan and steps to achieve personal financial goals. The study revealed 77 percent of those currently working with a professional are confident in their finances as a result of working with a financial professional.

For millennials who work with a financial professional, the aim is to set realistic financial goals (70 percent) and set realistic personal savings goals, like saving for homes, cars or vacations (64 percent). Additionally, roughly half of millennials work with a financial professional in hopes of developing an all-inclusive plan to reach their goals (52 percent) and to better understand complicated financial matters (50 percent).

For a high-resolution infographic that explores the worth of paying for financial service professionals, please contact Mary Pattara at mpattara@gscommunications.com.  

Survey Methodology:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of MDRT from August 17-21, 2017 among 2,065 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 754 currently work with a financial advisor, 263 are millennials (18-34) who don’t work with a financial professional, and 106 are millennials (18-34) who currently work with a financial professional.. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Tori Unger.

About MDRT
Founded in 1927, Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), The Premier Association of Financial Professionals®, is a global, independent association of more than 62,000 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 69 nations and territories. MDRT members demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of excellence in the life insurance and financial services business. For more information, please visit mdrt.org and follow them on Twitter @MDRtweet.


Cision View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mdrt-study-successful-financial-planning-contingent-on-personal-connections-300582274.html

SOURCE Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT)

Related Links

http://www.mdrt.org

Those Who Work With An Advisor Are More Confident In Their …

PARK RIDGE, Ill. (Jan. 16, 2018) — A new study commissioned by the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), conducted online by Harris Poll among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, including over 700 who currently work with a financial professional, examines what consumers think of financial professionals, what clients aim to achieve through financial planning and what they look for in a financial professional.

Of those who currently work with a financial professional, 77 percent say they are more confident in their financial future because they have the advice of a financial professional. The study found that 87 percent of Americans have at least some trust in financial professionals and 53 percent have a moderate amount or great deal of trust.

Thirty five percent of Americans said their trust would increase in a financial professional if they are a member of an industry association, showing an opportunity for advisors to highlight how their memberships benefit their clients. In addition, over half of Americans say their trust would increase if a financial professional communicated with them on a personal level (56 percent) or had several years of work experience (54 percent).

What Consumers Look for in a Financial Professional

When it comes to hiring a financial professional, the vast majority (82 percent) of Americans do not have a preference in regards to gender. Nearly one in five (19 percent) Americans would prefer their financial professional to be older than them if they were to work with one.

Among those who currently work with a financial professional, 62 percent say they hope to set realistic financial goals, 47 percent would like to better understand complicated financial matters and 42 percent want to assess their current financial health.

“The technical know-how with financial planning products is obviously key for professional success,” said James D. Pittman, CLU, CFP, MDRT President. “The results of this study show the greater importance of being trusted partners to our clients and providing the right guidance to help them feel more knowledgeable and confident.”

Millennials as the Next Big Market

The survey found that 62 percent of millennials (ages 18-34) who aren’t working with a financial professional said they would be more confident in their financial future if they did hire one. Also, 78 percent of millennials who work with a financial professional said they feel more confident in their financial future because they work with one. In addition, 26 percent of millennials noted community involvement and volunteering would increase their trust in a financial professional.

“Understanding millennials’ priorities is vital in order to foster positive relationships with our next generation of clientele,” added Pittman. “There is a major opportunity for advisors who can provide them with confidence about their financial future while emphasizing shared values, such as volunteerism.”

MDRT Study: Successful Financial Planning Contingent on Personal Connections

Personal connections deepen trust
Most Americans (87 percent) have at least some trust in financial professionals and 53 percent have a moderate amount or great deal of trust. When asked what would make an advisor more trustworthy to them, more than half (56 percent) of consumers cite communication on a personal level. Others look at professional credentials, like years of work experience (54 percent) and membership in industry associations (35 percent).

A financial professional’s gender and age are generally less important. The majority (82 percent) have no gender preference if they were to hire a financial professional, and only 1 in 5 Americans (19 percent) would prefer an older financial professional.

For some, a dedication to social responsibility and contributions to local communities is important. About one in four millennials (ages 18-34; 26 percent) are more inclined to trust professionals who volunteer and are involved at the local level, more so than those age 45 and above (14 percent).

“Consumers should seek advisors who match their personal values and preferences for communication style, experience level and association involvement,” said James D. Pittman, CLU, CFP, MDRT President. “These factors will help develop a long-term professional and personal connection to set yourself up for success.”

Of those with an advisor, 63 percent have been working together for five years or more. Roughly one in four (26 percent) for five to nine years, 13 percent for 10-14 years and 24 percent for 15 years or more.

More than half plan with a purpose
Overall, about three in five Americans who currently work with a financial professional (62%) say they do so to set realistic financial goals for themselves. Additionally, 56 percent work with a professional to set up a comprehensive plan and steps to achieve personal financial goals. The study revealed 77 percent of those currently working with a professional are confident in their finances as a result of working with a financial professional.

For millennials who work with a financial professional, the aim is to set realistic financial goals (70 percent) and set realistic personal savings goals, like saving for homes, cars or vacations (64 percent). Additionally, roughly half of millennials work with a financial professional in hopes of developing an all-inclusive plan to reach their goals (52 percent) and to better understand complicated financial matters (50 percent).

For a high-resolution infographic that explores the worth of paying for financial service professionals, please contact Mary Pattara at mpattara@gscommunications.com.  

Survey Methodology:
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of MDRT from August 17-21, 2017 among 2,065 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 754 currently work with a financial advisor, 263 are millennials (18-34) who don’t work with a financial professional, and 106 are millennials (18-34) who currently work with a financial professional.. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Tori Unger.

About MDRT
Founded in 1927, Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT), The Premier Association of Financial Professionals®, is a global, independent association of more than 62,000 of the world’s leading life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 69 nations and territories. MDRT members demonstrate exceptional professional knowledge, strict ethical conduct and outstanding client service. MDRT membership is recognized internationally as the standard of excellence in the life insurance and financial services business. For more information, please visit mdrt.org and follow them on Twitter @MDRtweet.


Cision View original content with multimedia:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/mdrt-study-successful-financial-planning-contingent-on-personal-connections-300582274.html

SOURCE Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT)

Related Links

http://www.mdrt.org

CFP Board Center for Financial Planning Names Kathleen McQuiggan Special Adviser on Gender Diversity

“Last year, we saw a record number of women earn CFP® certification, but the fact remains that women make up only 23 percent of CFP® professionals,” said CFP Board Center for Financial Planning Executive Director Marilyn Mohrman-Gillis. “Kathleen is a true expert on gender diversity in financial services and passionate about empowering more women to succeed in the financial planning profession. We are fortunate indeed to have someone with Kathleen’s knowledge and commitment join the Center to advance programs and initiatives that will effect real change.”

McQuiggan began her career at the financial services firm Alex Brown in Baltimore and later spent 13 years at Goldman Sachs, before departing in 2009 to focus on her passion – investing in women. She founded the consulting firm Catalina Leadership, where she began an engagement with Pax World Management and later joined the firm as Senior Vice President of Global Women’s Strategies. In that role, she was responsible for product management of the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund and ran the firm’s Women Wealth practice management initiative. McQuiggan currently works at Artemis Financial Advisors.

She holds a B.S. from Towson University and is currently working toward becoming a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. A longtime advocate for advancing women in leadership, McQuiggan served on the CFP Board WIN Council since the initiative’s inception in 2013.  She is also an active member of SheGives, Women Working for Oceans, Ellevate Network, Plum Alley Investments and Dartmouth Natural Resource Trust. In 2015, she was among 20 financial advisors and industry executives honored on InvestmentNews’ inaugural “Women to Watch” list.

McQuiggan takes over the role of Special Adviser on Gender Diversity from Eleanor Blayney, CFP®, who recently established the Eleanor Blayney Gender Diversity Fund in concluding her official role with the Center. Blayney will continue her involvement in the Center’s Women’s Initiative as a member of the WIN Council and as a WIN Advocate.

ABOUT CFP BOARD

The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board’s mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® professionals and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.  CFP Board currently authorizes over 80,000 individuals to use these marks in the U.S.

ABOUT the CFP BOARD CENTER FOR FINANCIAL PLANNING

The CFP Board Center for Financial Planning seeks to create a more diverse and sustainable financial planning profession so that every American has access to competent and ethical financial planning advice.  The Center brings together CFP® professionals, firms, educators, researchers and experts to address profession-wide challenges in the areas of diversity and workforce development, and to build an academic home that offers opportunities for conducting and publishing new research that adds to the financial planning body of knowledge. More about the Center and its initiatives can be found at www.CenterforFinancialPlanning.org.

 

Cision View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cfp-board-center-for-financial-planning-names-kathleen-mcquiggan-special-adviser-on-gender-diversity-300582176.html

SOURCE Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.

Related Links

http://www.cfp.net

Former Tulsan returns to shoot promos for her financial planning firm

Quite a bit has changed since the last time Catherine Flax was in Tulsa.

“It’s almost unrecognizable,” she said.

Flax, CEO of Pefin, lived in Tulsa in the late 1990s while she worked with the city of Tulsa and the Williams Cos. before a career on Wall Street that included executive roles with BNP Paribas and JPMorgan Chase.

Flax spent the past few days in Tulsa with a production crew in tow to film promotional materials for her company.

Pefin is an artificial intelligence financial advisory platform that provides customers financial advice and planning and recommends adjustments to meet their goals.

Clients answer basic questions and plug in their credit card and banking information as well as debts and assets, and then the online platform analyzes their financial situation.

It predicts their income, assets, retirement and other dimensions of their financial life until they turn 100.

“The advice is not immediately about investing because for a lot of people, the type of advice they need is about saving enough and how to save, how to pay off debt, optimizing a 401(k),” Flax said. “There are so many things in a person’s life that comes way before what type of investment portfolio they should have, so we thought it was important to have a place to provide those insights.”

The platform is organized around life events like a first job, having a baby, buying a house or sending children to college.

“We think about it as a life journey and helping them move from one step to another,” Flax said. “Most people want to make good financial decisions. It’s just not always clear how to do that.”

For the typical user the platform will analyze 2 million to 5 million data points to create their profile and provide continuous feedback.

For instance, if a selected goal is not achievable with their current income and spending habits, the platform will use its algorithms to search for ways to make that goal possible.

$3.95 a month: The new cost for doing business in Tulsa.

If you care about business and this community, it’s a small price to pay to be in the know. For a limited time, get a digital subscription for just $3.95 a month. Sign up now at tulsaworld.com/subscribe.

If the search determines that reducing restaurant spending by 10 percent will make the goal achievable, and the user agrees to that plan, the platform will follow spending habits to make sure that the 10 percent reduction is being followed.

“If they aren’t, it will come back and say this isn’t really working for you, should we look for something else or try again,” Flax said. “The platform sees everything you are doing and can analyze those behaviors and give you ways to improve the situation.”

The company uses military-grade encryption as part of its safety protocol, Flax said.

Pefin is a subscription-based service that costs $10 a month. More information about the company can be found on its website, pefin.com. The platform uses three types of artificial intelligence: reinforcement learning where it learns users’ spending habits, a neural network that looks at all the variables that impact the users’ financial lives and generalized artificial intelligence.

“We want to genuinely understand the financial situation of each person and give them advice that is tailored to them,” Flax said.

Flax said the production company shooting the advertisements recommended shooting in Tulsa because the same budget would allow for a much higher level of production quality than if it stayed in New York City.

“This is an incredible value, and we will be back,” she said.

Former Tulsan returns to shoot promos for her financial planning firm

Quite a bit has changed since the last time Catherine Flax was in Tulsa.

“It’s almost unrecognizable,” she said.

Flax, CEO of Pefin, lived in Tulsa in the late 1990s while she worked with the city of Tulsa and the Williams Cos. before a career on Wall Street that included executive roles with BNP Paribas and JPMorgan Chase.

Flax spent the past few days in Tulsa with a production crew in tow to film promotional materials for her company.

Pefin is an artificial intelligence financial advisory platform that provides customers financial advice and planning and recommends adjustments to meet their goals.

Clients answer basic questions and plug in their credit card and banking information as well as debts and assets, and then the online platform analyzes their financial situation.

It predicts their income, assets, retirement and other dimensions of their financial life until they turn 100.

“The advice is not immediately about investing because for a lot of people, the type of advice they need is about saving enough and how to save, how to pay off debt, optimizing a 401(k),” Flax said. “There are so many things in a person’s life that comes way before what type of investment portfolio they should have, so we thought it was important to have a place to provide those insights.”

The platform is organized around life events like a first job, having a baby, buying a house or sending children to college.

“We think about it as a life journey and helping them move from one step to another,” Flax said. “Most people want to make good financial decisions. It’s just not always clear how to do that.”

For the typical user the platform will analyze 2 million to 5 million data points to create their profile and provide continuous feedback.

For instance, if a selected goal is not achievable with their current income and spending habits, the platform will use its algorithms to search for ways to make that goal possible.

$3.95 a month: The new cost for doing business in Tulsa.

If you care about business and this community, it’s a small price to pay to be in the know. For a limited time, get a digital subscription for just $3.95 a month. Sign up now at tulsaworld.com/subscribe.

If the search determines that reducing restaurant spending by 10 percent will make the goal achievable, and the user agrees to that plan, the platform will follow spending habits to make sure that the 10 percent reduction is being followed.

“If they aren’t, it will come back and say this isn’t really working for you, should we look for something else or try again,” Flax said. “The platform sees everything you are doing and can analyze those behaviors and give you ways to improve the situation.”

The company uses military-grade encryption as part of its safety protocol, Flax said.

Pefin is a subscription-based service that costs $10 a month. More information about the company can be found on its website, pefin.com. The platform uses three types of artificial intelligence: reinforcement learning where it learns users’ spending habits, a neural network that looks at all the variables that impact the users’ financial lives and generalized artificial intelligence.

“We want to genuinely understand the financial situation of each person and give them advice that is tailored to them,” Flax said.

Flax said the production company shooting the advertisements recommended shooting in Tulsa because the same budget would allow for a much higher level of production quality than if it stayed in New York City.

“This is an incredible value, and we will be back,” she said.

Liz Weston: What good financial advice looks like

Good financial advice can help you achieve your life goals. Bad financial advice can cost you a fortune and leave you worse off than if you had tried to go it alone.

Unfortunately, you’re still on your own in trying to determine the good advice from the bad. The U.S. Department of Labor has delayed key portions of a fiduciary rule that would require financial advisers to put their retirement account clients’ interests first. The provisions are set to begin July 1, 2019, but it’s anyone’s guess if that will happen.

Officials say they need more time to consider possible changes to the rule, which was crafted under the Obama administration. Opponents of the delay say the rule has already survived legal challenges and a congressional effort to block it, so the delay amounts to a repeal.

“The safe thing is for the investor to assume it’s still the same buyer-beware market that’s always existed,” says Barbara Roper, director of investor protection for Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Many Americans believe, incorrectly, that their financial advisers already are required to act in their clients’ best interests. In reality, most are held to lower standards. Asking advisers to disclose their conflicts of interest is always a good idea, but here are some other ways to spot advice that truly puts clients first:

GOOD ADVICE DOESN’T PROMISE THE MOON AND STARS. Beware of advisers who only want to talk about their investing prowess and how they plan to beat the market. Few advisers can consistently deliver market-beating returns, and attempts to do so usually drive up their clients’ costs. A better approach for most people is to invest all or most of their portfolios in low-cost index mutual funds or index exchange-traded funds that strive to match various market benchmarks.

GOOD ADVICE DOESN’T PROMOTE “HIGH-COMMISSION GARBAGE.” That’s what financial journalist Bob Veres, publisher of Inside Information, a service for advisers, calls products that are notorious for high costs and potential to enrich advisers at the expense of their clients. These can include non-traded real estate investment trusts, indexed annuities and variable annuities inside retirement accounts.

Proprietary mutual funds also can be problematic. These are the house-brand funds offered by the bank, brokerage or investment company where you have your account. Your adviser may earn extra compensation for pushing them, and they can have higher costs or worse performance than competing funds. Advisers may be able to make an argument why any of these products make sense for you, but it’s worth getting a second opinion from someone who doesn’t make commissions selling them.

“The more complex, opaque and illiquid the investment, the more generous the compensation to the adviser tends to be,” Roper says. “The incentives line up in a way that is directly contrary to the investor’s best interest.”

GOOD ADVICE DOESN’T PRETEND TO BE FREE OR CHEAPER THAN IT IS. All investments have costs, and advisers can be paid in a variety of ways that may not be readily apparent to their customers. Financial advisers should be straightforward in explaining those costs and the ways they’re compensated.

Also, investors who pay a percentage of their portfolios for advice should know how that fee is calculated. A fee that’s “only” 0.35 percent each quarter seems dirt cheap, but that adds up to 1.4 percent a year, which isn’t. Veres’ survey of about 1,000 advisers found most charge annual advisory fees of around 1 percent for portfolios worth less than $1 million.

GOOD ADVICE DOESN’T DELIBERATELY CONFUSE PEOPLE. Some advisers make a big deal about being fee-based, but that means they also accept commissions or other incentives. Fee-only financial advisers , by contrast, are compensated solely by fees their clients pay. Also, some advisers have been telling their clients that the fiduciary rule required them to start charging fees. That’s not true, Roper says.

GOOD ADVICE COMES FROM AN ADVISER WHO PUTS CLIENTS FIRST. Only a few categories of advisers are required to be fiduciaries, or someone obligated to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. Those advisers include registered investment advisers and certified financial planners when they’re offering financial planning advice. Certified public accountants have a professional code of conduct similar to a fiduciary standard.

When advisers don’t have a RIA, CFP or CPA after their names, ask if they’re willing to be fiduciaries and to put that promise in writing. The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard, a volunteer group promoting the standard, has an oath advisers can download and sign.

______________________________________________________

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet.

Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: lweston@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lizweston.

RELATED LINKS:

NerdWallet: How to choose a financial adviser:

https://nerd.me/choosing-financial-adviser

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisers: What is fee-only advising?:

https://www.napfa.org/financial-planning/what-is-fee-only-advising

The Committee for the Fiduciary Standard’s fiduciary oath:

Fiduciary Oath

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Ben Offit | Clear Path Advisory

offit-ben-clear-path-advisoryBen Offit, CFP, a principal with Pikesville-based independent financial planning and wealth management firm Clear Path Advisory, has been named President-elect of the Financial Planning Association of Maryland by the Board of Governors.

Offit has nine years of industry experience and a Bachelor’s Degree in entrepreneurship from the University of Maryland.

The Financial Planning Association is the largest membership organization for personal financial planning experts in the U.S. and includes professionals from all backgrounds and business models. FPA helps connect thousands of consumers to competent and ethical planners who uphold the FPA Standard of Care.

Members of FPA are those who commit to the highest standard of professional competence, ethical conduct and clear, complete, disclosure to those they serve. They deliver advice using an objective, client-centered, ethical process. FPA membership consists of financial planners and all those who support the financial planning process.

Information in Movers and Shakers is provided by the submitter. To submit a Movers and Shakers item, visit http://thedailyrecord.com/movers/.