WHAT MAKES AIF® DESIGNEES DIFFERENT?
IS THE INVESTMENT ADVICE YOU ARE RECEIVING REALLY IN YOUR BEST INTEREST?
Unless your advisor understands and follows a fiduciary process, you can’t really be sure. Even those investment professionals who are required to act as fiduciaries might not have the experience or training to prepare them for this enormous responsibility. I believe only Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) Designees have been certified specifically for their ability to follow a fiduciary process with their clients’ best interests at heart. Here are some attributes that I feel make AIF® Designees different from other advisors or financial professionals:
Designees are required to provide documented industry and educational experience to qualify for the designation.Education.
Designees must complete the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) Training, which covers the Prudent Practices® for managing fiduciary assets for wealth, nonprofit and retirement clients.Examination.
Designees must pass an examination to prove comprehension of the Prudent Practices® and ability to act in the best interest of clients.Ethics.
Designees adhere to a Code of Ethics and Conduct Standards that show a commitment to a higher degree of industry professionalism.Continuing Education.
Designees commit to keeping their knowledge and skills sharp by completing annual continuing education requirements.
AIF® DESIGNEES HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE AND RESOURCES TO HELP CLIENTS WITH:
- Creating and maintaining a comprehensive investment plan, strategy or policy statement that documents the processes and procedures that will be used to manage the plan/portfolio.
- Analyzing and optimizing asset allocation strategies and investment menus.
- Applying objective standards for evaluating and recommending appropriate investment options and products. Monitoring and reporting plan/portfolio performance.
- Evaluating a client’s current fiduciary practices and recommending actions to help mitigate compliance and litigation risks.
- Understanding their important fiduciary roles, responsibilities and obligations with more confidence.
DRIVE THE CONVERSATION WITH YOUR INVESTMENT ADVISOR:
Some advisors always operate in a fiduciary capacity, others only act as a fiduciary for certain specified services, and yet others are not permitted by their company to take on the obligations of a fiduciary at any time. Use the following points to better understand the standard of care your advisor is providing you.
- Will you act as a fiduciary in all scenarios when managing my portfolio or plan assets?
- How long have you been acting in this fiduciary capacity? Can you describe your experience acting as a fiduciary advisor?
- What fiduciary training have you received? Do you hold any designations focused on fiduciary best practices?
- Provide at least three references of clients who are using your services in your capacity as a fiduciary advisor.
- What services do you provide to help clients meet their fiduciary obligations?
- Please disclose and describe any potential conflicts of interest.
- Describe your total compensation or fees received for your proposed services.
In my opinion, an advisor should be able to provide clear and concise answers to all of these questions and be willing to disclose that information in writing. In addition, any AIF® Designee should be able to describe how their relationship with you will operate and list the resources and tools that are incorporated into their business practices.