The simple answer to this question at PFA is: “Yes, 100% of the time.”
For those unfamiliar with the term, operating under a fiduciary standard means PFA, and all of our associates, are bound to act in our client’s best interests and not place our own interests and profit ahead of our client’s. It’s a duty of care, loyalty, transparency and is a foundation of trust.
It probably feels like a straightforward moral obligation that all Financial Advisors should be held to, but unfortunately the world of personal finance is complex. Items that can affect an Advisor’s status as a fiduciary include licensing/registrations, multiple regulatory standards, obligations to code of ethics under a professional designation, etc… Additionally, because advisors can maintain multiple registrations, some advisors can work in a hybrid capacity where they are fiduciaries some of the time, and other times held to less stringent standards of care.
To complicate matters further, there are different terms and fee models for all of this. You may see/hear terms like “Financial Advisor,” “Fee-Based Advisor,” or “Fee-Only Advisor.” These terms give you clues about an advisor’s status as a fiduciary and how they make money, but you have to dig further.
For now, understand that PFA is a “Fee-Only” Advisor. This is the ONLY model that commits to a fiduciary capacity 100% of the time. It also means we do not earn additional revenue from the investments we use, or any other source.