Fiduciaries vs Financial Advisors | Bank Rates

Financial Advisors

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The world of financial advisors can be a stumbling block, and it can be difficult to distinguish between trustees and non-trustees. But if you’re looking for financial advice, having a trustee by your side can give you the expertise and direction that best fits your situation.

Here’s what you need to know about the difference between a fiduciary and a financial advisor.

What is a Trustee?

A fiduciary is someone who is in a position to trust the affairs of another person.comes from Latin Fiduci, it means trust. Trustees are bound by law or covenant to put the client’s interests ahead of their own.

Trustees can be attorneys, trustees, financial advisors, or anyone with specialized knowledge.

What is a financial advisor?

Financial advisors provide advice and services on a wide variety of financial life issues, including retirement planning, investment management, budget preparation, and wealth planning. A financial advisor can create a financial plan to grow your wealth.

Financial advisors come in many different types, such as advisors with a specific focus, such as investment advisors and wealth managers, and advisors with specific credentials, such as those holding a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation. is an umbrella term that includes The term may also include salespeople acting on behalf of large financial institutions seeking to market the benefits of their products and services to potential customers.

What is the difference between a financial advisor and a trustee?

The roles of fiduciary and financial advisor may overlap in some respects but differ in other important aspects. Here are some of the biggest differences:

  • Duty of care: Trustees have a high duty of care to their customers. In other words, fiduciaries must always put the interests of their clients ahead of their own. Financial Her Advisors, by contrast, may only need to act according to suitability standards. This means that our advice and products should be right for our clients, not the best fit for their individual financial situation.
  • Areas of practice: Trustee is a cross-domain term meaning it can be used in areas other than finance. For example, lawyers are fiduciaries to shareholders, just like corporate directors. Financial advisors, by contrast, are concerned with issues related to helping individuals manage their money.
  • price: A financial trustee does not have to cost more than a financial advisor. Financial advisors may be paid a flat fee per job, an hourly rate, or a percentage of assets under management. Trustees, by contrast, are more likely to be paid in a way that helps align incentives. For example, many financial her advisors are commission-only trustees. This means that we only receive commissions paid by our customers, rather than receiving sales commissions from, for example, large financial firms, which creates a potential conflict of interest.

Need the best financial advice? Your best bet is to find an advisor (fiduciary) who works in your best interest and fit an incentive structure (such as commission only) to do so. Bankrate’s Advisor Matching Tool allows you to get started with an advisor in your area in minutes.

How to know if a financial advisor is a fiduciary

If you are looking for a financial advisor who is also a fiduciary, the easiest way is to ask your advisor. If the answer is anything other than a clear “yes”, the advisor is not a true fiduciary advisor. Ask the advisor to put it in writing and know that if they are not willing to do so, the advisor will not act as fiduciary. imposes certain obligations on advisors.

Fiduciary questions are one of the most important questions you can ask your advisor. This is because the advisor’s compensation structure indicates whether a financial conflict of interest may underlie the advisor’s decisions. You should be especially careful with so-called advisors who are not paid solely for their clients’ fees.

However, even with good alignment of fiduciary standards and incentives, you may end up with someone who does not treat clients correctly. It may be helpful to ask and meet with a potential advisor about your needs.

Additionally, having a trusted advisor is important, but clients need to understand what the advisor is doing and why. Good advisors want their clients to understand what’s going on and why it makes sense for their life situation. So ask.

Do you need a financial advisor or fiduciary?

If you’re making a big decision that affects your financial security, you need a fiduciary advisor to maximize your chances of getting unbiased advice. Working with an advisor who is actually a salesperson in disguise can end up being a financial instrument that can end up being confusing and costing you tens of thousands of dollars or more in your lifetime. It may look like it, but it can cost you a lot more later.

Of course, working with non-fiduciary advisors doesn’t mean you won’t get the best advice from time to time, but you can’t expect to get the best advice all the time. And it’s important to always get the best advice. Without fiduciary standards, we know how an inconsistent non-fiduciary advisor would act in his or her own interests.

Here are six tips for finding the right financial advisor and what to look out for.


Making sure your financial advisor is a true fiduciary is one of the best steps to getting the best advice you can get. It is also important to consider how advisors are compensated to get a more complete picture of whether they are aligned with their interests or not.

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