What is a Financial Planner That Acts In a Fiduciary Capacity?

Chris Maurer |

A certified financial planner (also referred to as a CFP) manages assets on behalf of their clients. They are considered the gold standard when it comes to financial planning.  Certified financial planners who act in a fiduciary capacity are an integral part of a retirement plan and as they seek their client's best interests. There are no hidden motives, just 100% transparency. 

Is my Financial Planner Seeking My Best Interest?

Certified financial planners are legally bound by their duties to act in good faith with client assets. They are legally barred from having conflicts of interest and must handle your accounts with vigilance. A financial planner who is not certified and doesn’t comply with a fiduciary duty can make investment decisions that may be in their own best interest, as their legal obligations to the client are much less stringent.

When determining who should handle your investments or help prepare for your retirement, hiring a certified financial planner is a non-negotiable. You want the expert you hire to be trustworthy and provide you with unbiased strategies to maximize your earnings. It is your planner’s responsibility to fully investigate all business or personal decisions that could impact your financial goals. Therefore you need someone in your corner who acts in good faith and will make recommendations best suited for you. 

How to Verify your Financial Planner's Certification 

To find a certified financial planner near you, BrokerCheck is a free resource where you can research the background and experience of financial brokers, advisers, and firms.

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission search feature also details formal actions taken against financial planners which can include theft and a breach of trust. 

By cross-checking these tools you can feel more confident your financial planner is loyal to their clients and is presenting full and fair disclosures of investments. 

I Need to Find a Certified Financial Planner. What Are Some Questions I Can Ask?

The vetting process doesn't stop at finding a certified financial planner within your area. After you identify potential planner, below are questions you should ask them to make sure they meet your requirements:

  • What License and certifications do you hold?
  • How often do you keep in contact with your clients?
  • How do you get your income?

You should also request a copy of the financial planner's Forms ADV and CRS. These are formal documentation required by the SEC advisory firms to file. Within these documents, the financial planner's business, salary structure, educational background, and disciplinary history are recorded.

Park Place Financial - Honesty, Integrity, and World-Class Service.

At Park Place Financial, you’re not just another face in the crowd. To us your financial goals are our top priority and we want to help you reach them. Our team members value ethics and put our clients' needs at the forefront. Request a consultation now