The word fiduciary does not just apply to the financial world. Basically, to be in a fiduciary relationship means that an individual or an institution is operating on someone or something's behalf and that they have a responsibility to act with honesty, integrity and transparency. For example, this would apply to a partnership with an attorney, a banker or an officer of a public company not just with a financial advisor. It signifies an obligation to always put the client or customer's interests ahead of their own. It is a way to assure that they are being truthful and instructing others to the best of their ability, avoid professionals from decision making based on how they would profit off of their recommendation or action, cut down on conflict of interests and discuss them if they arise, and show transparency on decisions by providing all of the necessary information upfront. By knowing that you are partnering with a professional who is a fiduciary and has those particular duties in how they operate, it should bring clients or customers some additional peace of mind that they are in reputable hands. At Appelman Financial, both Lynn and Alissa are representatives with a Registered Investment Advisor firm (through Trustmont Advisory Group, Inc.) and they are fiduciaries bound to always put their client's interests first.
The CFP Certification designation identifies individuals who have met the 5 E’s established by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.:
The CFP Board owns the CFP® certification designation and licenses qualified individuals to use it. Only a Certified Financial Planner™ or CFP® licensees are authorized to use this important designation. The designation also signals that the person has voluntarily submitted to the regulatory authority of the CFP Board.Direct from the CFP® website:Most people think all financial planners are "certified", but this isn't true. Anyone can call himself a “financial planner”, but only those who have fulfilled the certification and annual renewal requirements of the CFP Board can display the CFP® marks, which represent a high level of professionalism. CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct require CFP® professionals to act in your best interest, putting your needs above their own.
The CFP Board’s certification process assures you that individuals authorized to use it are dedicated to a high level of professionalism! As a Certified Financial Planner™, they have been asked by the CFP Board to act always in the best interests of the client and to put those interests ahead of their own at all times. They are also required to do so with the heightened duty of care of a "fiduciary", which as defined by the CFP Board means "one who acts in utmost good faith, in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the client." The seven principles of the CFP® Code of Ethics are: Integrity, Objectivity, Competence, Fairness, Confidentiality, Professionalism, and Diligence...certainly qualities anyone would want in their Financial Advisor!
For any additional information on the CFP Board or their Standards of Professional Conduct, please click on the link below.
The Chartered Financial Consultant® designation is the indication of the highest standard of knowledge and trust in the Financial Planning industry as it requires the strictest educational standards for any financial services credential. In order to obtain this title, advisors must take nine or more college-level courses through the American College of Financial Services pertaining to a wide range of aspects in financial planning. It is estimated that each candidate spends 400 hours to satisfy the criteria of receiving this designation and then they need to complete an additional 30 hours of continuing-education credits every two years, follow strict ethical standards, and fulfill vast experiential requirements as well.
The Commitment of a ChFC®:
“In all my professional relationships, I pledge myself to the following rule of ethical conduct: I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”
Those with the Chartered Financial Consultant® designation are required to operate under the highest of professional standards. The authority to use the ChFC® mark is granted by the Certification Committee of the Board of Trustees of The American College and its use is conditional on the adherence to extensive ethical guidelines. It is required that Chartered Financial Consultants operate in a manner they would choose for themselves in a similar situation and this guarantees that they advise based on what would be most beneficial to their client. Thus this prestigious credential is a way to ensure both the expertise and integrity necessary for consumers to get the professional financial advisement they seek.