We all know that real trust has to be earned over time through positive experiences. Especially in our world as planners, it can take several years for clients to faithfully allow us into their “Circle of Trust”. We’ve also noticed that as client relationships mature over time, meetings naturally become less frequent due to the established trust and a lot of the heavy financial planning lifting that has already been completed. However, we seek to keep up with all changes in our clients’ financial lives to ensure we have the correct information to continue to provide the best, holistic advice we possibly can.
At this point you’re probably thinking “sure, but so what”. Well, as of Oct. 1st, the CFP Board has updated their Code of Ethics and Standard of Conduct. The most impactful update is that as a CFP® professional, whether we are doing formal financial planning or not, it is our fiduciary responsibility to do the best we can to know everything about your financial life prior to making any recommendations. What this means is that our fiduciary duty has been expanded to apply to ALL financial advice, including investment recommendations, not just advice given while we are building a financial plan.
This isn’t a huge shift for us because most of our clients have engaged in formal financial planning at some point in time, but it may not be something we do each and every year. Oftentimes, we reassess every few years to make sure everything is still on track. In the meantime, without a specific catalyst or life change, we often aren’t kept up to date on all aspects of our clients’ financial lives, specifically information not under our purview. This puts a much bigger emphasis on reviewing and sharing information regularly.
At a minimum, that includes reviewing:
- Tax returns for more proactive tax planning
- Estate plans to make sure all beneficiary information is up to date and accurate
- Employer retirement accounts to make sure your allocation still fits with your overall plan
It’s important for us to always be planners first and help you maintain the proper perspective on any investment decisions and actions within the context of your plan. We appreciate the trust you have given us. It will always be our intent engage with you in a way that not only meets the standard of care that is required of us, but that allows us to be your true partners in what matters most – your life plan.
By: Adam Werner
Tracking # 904473