DEFINITION of 'Fiduciary Fraud'

Illegal practices committed by financial institutions and financial professionals that constitute a breach of trust between the financial agent and the client. Fiduciaries are legally (and ethically) obligated to act in a way that benefits the client. Fiduciary fraud occurs when a fiduciary acts in his or her own self interest to the detriment of the client.

BREAKING DOWN 'Fiduciary Fraud'

There are plenty of obvious cases of fiduciary fraud, including Ponzi schemes, churning and so on. However, there are cases where the line is difficult to draw. For example, just because an advisor makes poor investments - and collects commissions - doesn't necessarily mean he or she is guilty of fiduciary fraud. In these cases, good faith measures and the prudent person rule are often applied to measure the advisor's intentions.

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