The Difference Between Fiduciary Advisors and Brokers

Fiduciaries

A Certified Fiduciary Advisor (CFA) is required by law to act in the best interest of his/her client. This means that a CFA will work with you to give advice that is best for you according to your goals. The client's interests are always put in front of the CFA’s, and all information about the CFA’s duties, qualifications, fees, modes of analysis etc are presented to you upfront before any contracts can be signed. After you become a client of a CFA, if any material conflict of interest comes up, the CFA must disclose the conflict to you or eliminate it.

Broker

A stockbroker is an individual that is engaged in the business of buying/trading for others. Titles of brokers include: wealth manager, financial advisor, investment consultant, wealth advisor, or financial consultant. No matter their title, stockbrokers are most often not fiduciaries. Without the legal ties of being a CFA, brokers have more freedom to mediate transactions for clients that might benefit the broker himself/herself financially. Your interests are not required take president over the broker’s.

How to tell if an advisor is a Fiduciary or Broker

• Look for accreditation. Most CFAs will have “CFA” at the end of their name on a business card or website • Ask if they are a fiduciary advisor • Because some advisors can be both a fiduciary and broker at the same time ask if they are “fee-only” or “fee-based.” Fee-only advisors are fiduciaries, and fee-based advisors are most likely both a fiduciary and broker