Many RIAs are fee-only advisors, meaning they can’t work off commission or sell a client any investment products that aren’t in the client's best interests. Financial planners don’t have to be RIAs to work under this business model. Fee-only financial planners generally make money via an hourly rate, an annual fixed retainer, or as a percentage of the investment assets they manage on behalf of their clients. They also have a fiduciary duty to their clients over any broker or dealer.
Broker-dealers are regulated by the SEC, but they are not required to be fiduciaries. Rather, they are held to the “suitability standard”—they only have to prove that an investment is suitable for their client at the time of its purchase, not that the advice was in the client’s best interest. Broker-dealers typically earn a commission on sales of investments.
This market will continue to grow rapidly as firms abandon traditional defined-benefit plans in favor of defined-contribution plans or other cheaper alternatives, such as stock option plans. Furthermore, mandatory automatic enrollment in the employer's retirement plan will keep bureaucracy and paperwork to a minimum for the advisor, who is only responsible for the actual advice given on an individual basis, as opposed to the overall plan assets and their composite performance.
Anyone can hang out a shingle as a financial planner, but that doesn’t make that person an expert. They may tack on an alphabet soup of letters after their names, but CFP (short for certified financial planner) is the most significant credential. A CFP has passed a rigorous test administered by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards about the specifics of personal finance. CFPs must also commit to continuing education on financial matters and ethics classes to maintain their designation. The CFP credential is a good sign that a prospective planner will give sound financial advice. Still, even those who pass the exam may come up short on skills and credibility. As with all things pertaining to your money, be meticulous in choosing the right planner.
Outside of Quebec, there are currently no restrictions, no educational prerequisites, and no licensing requirements for individuals calling themselves financial planners, or for businesses using "financial planning" in their name or services offered. As of July 2020, Ontario and Saskatchewan have introduced legislation to regulate financial planning titles, but the legislation has yet to be enacted.
After you have covered the basics and want a solid overview at a more detailed level, The Wall Street Journal Guide to Understanding Money & Investing is a great place to start. When you are done with that, your local library or bookstore will contain a variety of magazines covering both timely and general financial services topics. When you are ready to learn about equities, Value Line is a great publication that provides an introduction into how you can begin to research and analyze stocks. Even if you choose not to conduct your own stock analysis, the website is worth a visit.
Asking someone whether they’ll beat the market is a pretty good litmus test for whether you want to work with them. What they should be promising is good advice across a range of issues, not just investments. And inside your portfolio, they should be asking you about how many risks you want to take, how long your time horizon is and bragging about their ability to help you achieve your goals while keeping you from losing your shirt when the economy or the markets sag.
The advantages that employees can reap from a fiduciary advisor are mainly based on getting personal. The employees will have a full-time financial planner who personally knows them and their individual situations and has their best interests in mind when making recommendations. This personal level of service will likely lead to other benefits as well, as the advisor could assist employees in other areas such as budgeting, estate planning, or income taxes.
The Financial Expert is a 1952 novel by R. K. Narayan. It takes place, as do many other novels and short stories by this author, in the town of Malgudi. The central character in this book is the financial expert Margayya, who offers advice to his fellow townspeople from under his position at the banyan tree. He is a man of many aspirations and this novel delves into some level of psychological analysis.The Financial Expert tells the story of the rise and fall of Margayya.
If you make it this far, you are clearly serious about your endeavor. Now it's time to make your quest a daily habit. Subscribing to the The Wall Street Journal will give you a daily overview of the issues impacting global business operations. The WSJ also has a great "Money and Investing" section. Barron's is another fine publication read by many professionals in the financial services industry. There are many other top-quality publications dedicated to various aspects of the financial services world. Find one that matches your interests and read it.
Look for a fiduciary. In short, this means the planner has pledged to act in a client’s best interests at all times. Investment professionals who aren’t fiduciaries are often held to a lesser standard, the so-called sustainability standard. That means that anything they sell you merely has to be suitable for you, not necessarily ideal or in your best interest. This point is critical, and should be a deal breaker if a prospective planner is not a fiduciary.
The planner might have a specialty in investments, taxes, retirement, and/or estate planning. Further, the financial planner may hold various licenses or designations, such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), or Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA), among others. To obtain each of these licensures, the financial planner must complete a different set of education, examination, and work history requirements.
Balu, his spoilt-child throws his account book, containing all the entries of his transactions with his clients into the gutter, and it becomes impossible for Margayya to resume his old practice. He shows his horoscope to an astrologer and is assured that good times will come for him if he offers puja to Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth. The puja is done for forty days, with ash from a red lotus and ghee made of milk from a grey cow. Margayya goes through the puja with all rigour and at the end of it is full of a prosperous career.
The R.F.P. is the older (established in 1987) and more stringent of the two publicly monitored designations. All R.F.P.s must first demonstrate their competency, then abide by a code of ethics and adhere to rigorous practice standards as defined by the granting body, the Institute of Advanced Financial Planners (IAFP). Every R.F.P. must attest each year that financial planning is their primary vocation.