Tag Archives: fiduciaries

7 Services that a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) Provides

Investing is serious business.  How well you manage your investments can make the difference between a comfortable retirement and working ‘till you drop.  Most people use a financial advisor of some kind.

Back in the day, people opened an account with a major investment firm and used a broker who would call and make recommendations to buy or sell.  They were essentially stock and bond salesmen whose loyalty was to their firms.

That has all changed.

The trend now is away from the major firms and toward Registered Investment Advisors – RIAs.  RIAs are fiduciaries whose duty is to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own.  They help people plan their future and take over the every-day investing decisions for them.

What can an individual expect from an RIA?

  • Asset management. This means creating a portfolio appropriate to the client, making changes in the best interest of the client, and reacting to market conditions.
  • Financial planning. Organizing a client’s financial affairs.  Determining the best way of achieving the client’s objective.  Reviewing the client’s insurance and estate planning needs.
  • Reporting and record keeping. Maintaining the organization of finances.  Performance reporting.  Maintaining cost and purchase data.
  • Life planning. Helping the client uncover what they really want to accomplish and creating a roadmap to getting there.
  • Retirement planning. Providing a path to living well once the paycheck stops and people are dependent on fixed income sources and their personal savings.  Retirement is a major life change.  RIAs typically offer comprehensive retirement plans that help people decide when to retire and what how well they can live.
  • Estate planning. Leaving money to heirs and charities must be carefully planned or large portions of an estate can go to taxes or the wrong individuals.
  • Concierge services. This can include attending meetings with attorney, accountants or bankers.  It can include services such as buying cars, arranging for travel or hiring someone to pay bills.  Relations between an RIA and a client are often so close that they are even consulted on issues such are marriage or divorce.
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What if Brokers Had to Call Themselves Brokers?

From “Financial Advisor IQ”

Brokers have run away from their long-held designations and now call themselves “financial advisors” or given impressive sounding titles such as “Vice President – Investments” by the Big Box stores.  But most of them are salesmen for their firm’s products who sell on commission.

There is a difference between sales people and fiduciaries, a difference the few people who use brokers or financial advisors understand.  And there’s a reason.

He [Bob Veres] characterizes the debate over the fiduciary standard as a single skirmish in “a long war between professionals and sales agents.” The latter — Veres’ term for brokers who work at wirehouses and big broker-dealers — won’t rest until they “emasculate” the legal framework that currently separates them from fiduciaries. “Tossing millions of dollars into congressional campaign coffers,” the brokerage industry wants regulators to dilute the fiduciary standard until it looks just like the suitability standard, he says.

I have lots of friends in the investment community, many who work for the big big names on Wall Street.  Many are good people who try to do their best for their clients.  But they are not fiduciaries; that is, people who are legally obligated to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own.  And that makes a big difference.

If you want to know more about the difference between brokers and fiduciaries, please contact us.

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