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Our Fiduciary Oath
Advisors at Virtus Wealth Management shall at all times act in good faith and place our clients’ interest first. We are transparent in all our fees. We will not receive any compensation or gifts over $100 from an investment sponsor unless expressly communicated to the client. Prior to the engagement of the advisor, and thereafter throughout the term of the engagement, we will provide written disclosure to our clients of any conflicts of interest, which will or reasonably may compromise the impartiality or independence of the advisor. Our advisors will not receive any compensation from a business for referrals.
Our Oath to You:
- Always act in your best interest
- Be transparent of all costs
- Eliminate conflicts of interest to the best of our ability, including the rejection of gifts over $100 and referral fees
What Is a Fiduciary Financial Advisor?
A fiduciary financial advisor places the client’s interest over their own in advisory relationships. Your interest is paramount. Our industry is inherently laden with conflicts of interest because we are dealing with money. A fiduciary financial advisor is required to eliminate as much conflict of interest as possible. If elimination is not possible, a fiduciary financial advisor is obligated to be fully transparent as to where the conflict of interest exists and why that path is still in the clients’ best interest.
What is an Independent Financial Advisor?
Advisors are either employees of a firm or independent. Being independent means having no proprietary investments or products. We have no incentive or reason other than believing it is in your best interest to use a specific investment. Many major firms have their own funds or products they require their advisors use. No firm has the best funds at every level or best insurance for every client. In many cases, there can also be hidden fees within these structures: such firms profit not only off the fee they charge to manage your money, but also in the fees within their funds they put you in. Another conflict of interest is if the fund family gives a kickback to the firm and the firm makes or pushes their advisors to use those investments. You should ask what are all the benefits paid to either the advisor or the firm if you invest in that fund or product.
We set out from the beginning to be an independent firm because we did not want that conflict of interest. Since we have no proprietary investments and our clients are our boss, we look out for you, not any other interests.
What To Look for When Choosing a Fiduciary Financial Advisor
A name is just a name. Do not choose a financial professional due to a title. In this industry, the same professional can call themselves a wealth manager, financial advisor, or broker. You can read about these different job titles on our website, here. At one point, an adviser (spelt -er) was different than an advisor (spelt -or) but today those two terms are interchangeable. In the past, the title of adviser was representative of a fiduciary. However, professionals in this industry can now be an advisor and be a fiduciary, like us.
The two most important credentials to look for are an independent advisor who is also a fiduciary advisor. Those two should be at the top of any list. Advisors who are not independent have managers and shareholders to answer to, not only the clients. Advisors who are not fiduciaries do not have to look out for your best interest.
Once you eliminate those with conflicts of interests, then you should look for a firm that offers a comprehensive or holistic approach. This enables firms to offer more than one service to ensure they can put a package together that is custom to your needs. A Wealth Management Firm like ours provides this kind of approach. We offer more than just investment advice. We can assist you with all of your investment, insurance, and planning needs. Our planning covers 5 stages: retirement or goal planning, risk management, tax planning, estate planning, and stress testing. We are active money managers also. Both the planning and money management should be custom to your needs, wants, value system, and objectives.
Next on your list of importance should be a partnership between you, the client, and advisor. Choose an advisor that you feel you can partner with to help you pursue your goals. Find a professional who will meet with you regularly, always listen to you without judgment, and give you the resources and options to make the best decisions for you and your family. An advisor and client working together will be more successful than one side telling the other side what to do all the time. Communication is a must.
Be careful getting sold a title or certification. We have advisors with certifications like the CFP® and CPWA®, and you can read about all our credentials here. Designations add value but they do not make an advisor. Would you rather have an advisor with 25 years of experience who learned by doing or an advisor with a couple years of experience who learned from a book? Experience matters when dealing with your wealth.
Finally, trust your instincts. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you feel pressured or not listened to by an advisor, that is likely not the best partnership for you. We have compiled a list of questions and red flags to bring you confidence when interviewing potential advisors, you can find that on our website, here.
Meet With Our Advisors Today
Due in part to the many different titles, fee structures, and services offered, choosing the right financial professional to work with can be difficult. Trusting someone with your money is trusting someone with your future. This is why we offer complimentary consultations so you can get to know our people, our process, and our office environment. To schedule this, you can fill out the contact form on the right side of this page or give us a call at (817) 717-3812.
We also provide more information in our Virtus View – a newsletter we send via email twice each month. For the latest investment insights, tips, and strategies to help you live your best financial life, you can sign up to receive this newsletter at the bottom of this page. In addition, past Virtus View articles can be read here on our blog.