The Fiduciary and Fee-Only Difference
A fiduciary is someone who has been hired to act for and on behalf of another individual in circumstances that require a relationship of trust and confidence. The duty of a fiduciary is to provide the highest standard of care for a client. The fiduciary acts as a steward for the client, placing the interests of the client ahead of their own.
Southward Financial Services, LLC acts as a fiduciary in its relationship with you. You receive the services and advice that places your needs before any financial gain of the firm. We are a fiducairy by the letter of the law - a registered investment advisor must act as a fiduciary. We are a fiduciary by choice in that we believe this is the way to act.
Not everyone in the financial services world is a fiduciary. Some firms choose to sell investment products and are not required to follow this standard. Employees of these firms owe their loyalty, again by law, not to the client but to their employer. Their advice must be appropriate, not the higher standard of being in your best interests.
How a financial firm makes its money is also important to you. Southward Financial Services LLC is a fee-only firm. We believe that this business approach is consistent with being a fiduciary to you. The sole source of our compensation is the fee that you pay. We receive no commission or fees from you or from anyone else - we do not sell any investment products, funds, annuities or insurance.
The fee-only approach frees us to make recommendations and plans that best fit your needs without consideration as to our compensation. Someone who is selling a financial product may find it very difficult to make the same claim.
In short, fiduciary and fee-only puts us on the same side of the table as our clients. We work with you to acheive your success, not simply to make a profit.