There are dozens of questions to ask when interviewing the person you will entrust to manage and safeguard your hard-earned dollars. One of the first questions you should be asking any professional is whether they are a Registered Investment Advisor held to the fiduciary standard of care, or a broker held only to suitability standards.
A fiduciary advisor is required to always place the interest of a client above his or her own and is therefore legally held to a much higher standard of care regarding a client’s wants, needs, and goals. When acting in a fiduciary capacity, an advisor is also required to provide advice based on a thorough and complete analysis of a client’s entire financial picture in order to be sure any advice given is as accurate as possible. A fiduciary advisor represents the client only and not the motives and profitability of a company and is therefore also required to give full disclosure and transparency of any potential conflicts of interests that exist.
A broker is someone who introduces a willing buyer and willing seller, and for brokering that transaction they often times get an up-front commission. You will typically see the designation of “registered representative of “named” broker dealer” when working with an advisor in this capacity. While broker-dealers and their registered representatives are required to provide advice that is in the best interest of their client, they receive their compensation regardless of whether any services will continue to be performed.
Epstein & White Financial LLC is a registered investment adviser. We provide all of our investment advisory clients a contract in writing that says at all times, we must legally meet the fiduciary standard. In other words, at all times we must always do what we believe is truly in your best interest.
So, how do our fees work at Epstein & White? Well, we work exclusively in the advisory channel and have no brokerage relationships. We charge an annual fee to manage investments and provide ongoing advice, and do not have separate financial planning fees like some firms do. We charge our advisory fee on a monthly basis and proudly say we are “fire-able” at any time. We bill our clients in arrears, which means we receive nothing up-front and only continue to earn our fees if our clients are happy with the services we provide and remain with us. Our clients can feel good about the ongoing duty we have to deliver customized investment advice that is in their best interest .
You, as the consumer, have a choice of which type of financial professional you work with and which compensation structure you are more comfortable with.
At Epstein & White, let us show you how to avoid up-front commissions, hidden fees, and murky costs, and align yourself with a fiduciary advisor held to a higher standard of care.