Our Fiduciary Duty to You
As an independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), Hawthorne Financial Advisors, LLC (HFA) owes you a fiduciary duty. If your current advisor’s firm is not a Registered Investment Advisor, your advisor does not owe you a fiduciary duty and may not have your best interests in mind. Since many brokers are paid by commissions on products sold, there is pressure for them to do transactions and, often, to sell the proprietary products marketed by the organizations for which they work. This may not sound important but is a big deal – consider these points:
- The President’s Council of Economic Advisers estimated that non-fiduciary advice costs Americans 1 percentage point of their return annually, which amounts to $17 billion each year. (Source: Carson, Brett. “Is Your Financial Advisor a Fiduciary?” US News & World Report 19 March 2015 Web.)
- The brokerage industry spent huge sums of money fighting the push to hold them accountable to the fiduciary standard. They wanted nothing to do with this because it would have reduced how much money they made – all of which comes directly out of your pocket. And, it is often impossible to see exactly what it is costing you since the commissions are deducted from the amount you invest, the marketing incentives and soft dollars are not itemized, and it is hard to quantify if you are experiencing lower yield and/or higher risk as a result of being placed in one of their proprietary or high-cost products.
In contrast, HFA owes you a fiduciary duty. We chose to be an RIA precisely because the fiduciary duty is consistent with our philosophy of how we want to work with our clients. As a fiduciary, we will:
- Put your best interests first and advise you with a duty of undivided loyalty and utmost good faith,
- Act with the skill, care, diligence and good judgment of a professional,
- Provide conspicuous, full and fair disclosure of all important facts,
- Avoid conflicts of interest, and
- Fully disclose and fairly manage, in your favor, unavoidable conflicts.
Our only thought when selecting investment products for your portfolio is how those investments are going to help you achieve your financial objectives. We do not earn a commission on any investment product or accept marketing incentives or “soft dollar” compensation from investment product providers. Additionally, we do not pay other people for referrals and we do not hire outside firms to solicit new business on our behalf.