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How can I verify that my advisor is a fiduciary?

How can I verify that my advisor is a fiduciary?

Choosing an Advisor
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May 2018

If your advisor is a fiduciary, he/she should be registered as an investment advisor with either the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or with the state regulatory agency within the advisor's state. You can search the Investment Adviser database https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/ to view professional background and conduct, including current registrations, employment history, and disclosures about certain disciplinary events involving your advisor.

When you enter your advisor’s name in the database, if the summary result specifies that your advisor is only an “Investment Adviser Rep,” they are likely a fiduciary. If the summary result specifies “Broker,” they are most likely not a fiduciary. If the summary result specifies both “Investment Adviser Rep” and “Broker,” they are dual-registered and most likely a part-time fiduciary.

It’s important to read your advisor's Form ADV, the informational document that discloses details about your advisor’s business practices including compensation arrangements and potential conflicts of interest. If your advisor doesn't have a Form ADV, it's a good sign that they're not a fiduciary. 

If you would like more assurance that your advisor is acting in your best interests, you can ask your advisor to sign a Fiduciary Oath (http://www.thefiduciarystandard.org/fiduciary-oath/) declaring their commitment to adhere to a fiduciary ethic and, in so doing, be accountable for the advice he/she provides to you.

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