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  • Herb Thomas

How to Know if a Financial Advisor is a Fiduciary

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

When it comes to managing your money, there are many resources at your disposal. A fiduciary is one important component of your financial toolbox. In essence, a fiduciary is a person or company that manages assets. While there are many types of financial advisors, not all are fiduciaries. A fiduciary has specialized knowledge and areas of expertise. Most importantly, however, a fiduciary is bound to represent your best interest. A non-fiduciary financial advisor, believe it or not, is not bound in the same manner. Here are some ways to ascertain whether a financial advisor is, in fact, a fiduciary.

Financial Advisor

Check the SEC

The best way to determine if a financial advisor is a fiduciary is to check the SEC’s advisor search tool. This search tool will provide you with important information about your financial advisor. As part of their listing, look for a Form ADV Part 2A filing. This should be available for public viewing. If you see this attached to the name of your financial advisor or financial advisor’s firm, it’s an indication that they are a fiduciary.

Review Their Website

Closely review the website of your financial advisor for further information about whether or not they’re a fiduciary. If they are, it should be mentioned somewhere in the language of their site. Specifically, carefully read through the disclosure.

Another term for a fiduciary firm is an “investment adviser,” or “investment advisor representative.” If this language appears in the legal disclosure of the website, the financial advisor in question is likely a fiduciary. This is not a foolproof method, but it can provide you with more information.

Search Databases

There are some databases that can help you to find and identify true fiduciaries. One of these is the NAPFA. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors is one such database. Another is the Fee-Only Network. In the case of both of these databases, only true fiduciaries are allowed membership. Therefore, if you find someone on either of these databases, they should be a fiduciary. If you’d like to verify a professional you’ve come in contact with, or are currently working with, you can check their information against the information on this database. If they can be found on either site, they are a fiduciary and are bound to act in your best interest.

Alameda Fiduciary Services

If you’re in need of a reputable fiduciary in the Alameda area, contact us. At Kairos Fiduciary Services, we’re committed to acting in your highest interest. We’re also available to administer Special Needs Trusts, as well as settlements. We look forward to speaking with you. Please contact us at 510-749-8358.

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