The very first question and most significant for you to ask when searching for a potential advisor, (see our recent  post on 15 questions), is: are you a fiduciary? Since you have a choice with whom you choose to work with, it is critical to know if the advisor is officially and legally working in your best interest at all times. Are they forthright about their fiduciary relationship with you? If they are not talking about it, chances are they don’t want you talking about it either.

Look For a Fiduciary Advisor in Chicago and Beyond

So what does it actually mean to you – the client – who is making major life decisions with advice given by someone who is a fiduciary? Our colleague, Tim Maurer, Director of Personal Finance with The BAM Alliance, gets to the essence of the firm that has a passion for keeping clients front and center. They are someone who knows their way around the market, but who can see past the spreadsheets to understand your dreams and goals.

I’m an educator at heart. I absolutely love writing. I also love speaking to groups of people, and I love educating both clients, as well as advisors who are looking for ways to better connect with their clients. It’s all about client interaction, to see the education that we are about, positively impact the lives of clients every day. This is the money business. It needs a lot more people-people, as opposed to money-people.

Most people are shocked to learn that the vast majority of the financial services industry has not positioned themselves, such that they must legally act in the best interest of the client. It befuddles me why anyone would choose to work with someone who was not willing to lay it all on the line and say, “Officially, legally I pledge to only act in the best interest of you, my client.”

Fiduciary to me, to us, is really about a state of heart, a state of mind, it’s the way that we operate, it’s who we are, it’s the only way we know how to do things. By choosing the fiduciary path, we always have and we always will commit to a legal standard that requires us to act in the best interest of the client. They are making major life decisions based on the advice that I am giving, based on the advice that we are giving.

To have the opportunity to see people’s lives actually change over time as a result of the recommendations that we’re making, as a result of the relationship that we have is incredibly rewarding. We have the passion of keeping our clients at the center of everything we do. It’s beyond job, it’s beyond profession, it’s beyond vocation, it’s a sense of calling that we have a role to play in helping change the way the financial services are delivered.