Jason’s Financial Favorites: Your Full-Time Fiduciary

Fiduciary

Jason’s Financial Favorites: Your Full-Time Fiduciary

* This article was originally published on Dec. 11, 2019. It has been updated for 2021.

Fiduciary. 

It’s a word you probably became familiar with before you started working with us. Back when you were searching for a financial professional to work with, you likely saw many online sources suggesting that the first question you ask a financial pro is, “Are you a fiduciary?”  You may also have seen it in advertising on websites, business cards, or billboards. 

… but, even if you’ve heard it before, do you know what “fiduciary” means?

The dictionary definition of the noun “fiduciary” is “one that holds a fiduciary relation or acts in a fiduciary capacity.” What? 

As an adjective, “fiduciary” means “of, relating to, or involving a confidence or trust: such as a) held or founded in trust or confidence, b) holding in trust, c) depending on public confidence for value or currency.” 

While the adjective description is better, the definitions still aren’t exactly clear. Sure, the keywords “confidence” and “trust” may stand out. And while they’re familiar words that paint a certain picture of a financial professional, that probably still leaves you with the question of what “fiduciary” actually means — and why it’s important, especially in the financial planning world.

Much more than a definition

You’ve probably heard me say that, as a fiduciary firm, all of us on the FPFoCo team are required to act in your best interest at all times. You may also know that registered investment advisors are obligated to act as fiduciaries. That’s because registered investment advisors are in the business of offering advice, so they can’t put anyone’s interests, including their own, ahead of yours. 

And while my explanation includes “at all times,” that doesn’t necessarily apply to every registered investment advisor. Even with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) ruling a couple of years back, a double standard exists. In fact, many investment advisors can already “switch hats,” following the fiduciary standard for one situation and moving to the Reg BI standard the next. 

How is that possible? Some financial professionals are dually registered as investment advisors and representatives of a broker-dealer. This is where the term “fee-based” comes from. Without additional affiliation, a registered investment advisor can only receive compensation from clients for the advice he or she gives those clients. Representatives of broker-dealers can also receive commissions and other compensation for the products they sell. Put both together, and it means that dually registered pros are required to be fiduciaries when acting as investment advisors, but they can change standards when they “switch hats” and act as broker-dealer representatives.

How do you know when a financial professional is acting in which capacity? In a perfect world, all financial professionals would adhere to the fiduciary standard of care. Unfortunately, perfect our world is not.

The fiduciary and best-interest standards

To better understand these capacities, here’s how the fiduciary and best interest standards work:

Fiduciary standard: Financial professionals operating under the fiduciary standard are required to never put their own interests ahead of their clients in all situations and circumstances.

Best-interest standard: Brought about by the SEC’s Reg BI, this standard requires brokers to act in their clients’ best interest when making securities transaction recommendations. The rule requires adherence to four key obligations: disclosure, care, conflicts (and how they’re managed), and compliance.

Perhaps the most obvious question is, aren’t the fiduciary and best-interest standards essentially the same thing? That’s where the situation gets murky. Adding to the confusion is that the SEC didn’t define what “best interest” means in Reg BI — all we know is that, by design, it is not a fiduciary standard (or else they would simply call it that and skip 1,100-plus pages of rules, regulations, and exceptions). 

But that’s not the only confusing part. To meet the best-interest standard, broker-dealers must disclose conflicts of interest to their clients, use care when making recommendations, address those conflicts of interest, and generally otherwise be in compliance with Reg BI. Part of that compliance means financial professionals registered only with broker-dealers won’t be able to call themselves advisors — but those with dual registrations will. That means Reg BI will only apply to dual registrants when they act as brokers — but not when they act as investment advisors, which requires the fiduciary standard. 

Isn’t there a way to make it easier?

Your Full-Time Fiduciary

Yes! We’re your full-time fiduciary. And it really is that simple. In fact, we are so passionate about our unwavering fiduciary duty to our clients that we’ve trademarked the term “Your Full-Time Fiduciary™.”

By acting in your best interest 100% of the time, you know that we’re putting you first 100% of the time. 

You can also check us out on the SEC’s Investment Advisor Public Disclosure (IAPD) website. Just type in one of our team member’s names or the firm information, and it will populate results, including our registration information. 

Want us to sign a fiduciary oath or acknowledgment? You got it! Your client agreement includes an acknowledgment of our fiduciary status.

If you’d like to learn more about how we work with clients like you, feel free to check out our Form ADV Part 2A. And, even though we’re not required to provide it, we voluntarily offer Form ADV Part 3. There, you’ll find an easy-to-understand summary of how we work with clients like you. We encourage you to take a look and ask questions. 

After all, we’re not just a full-time fiduciary. We’re your full-time fiduciary.

If you have questions, try the chat feature at the lower-left corner of this page.

Ready to schedule your next meeting? Simply head to the Meeting page where you can find and schedule a convenient time to discuss whatever is on your mind.

Jason Speciner
jason@fpfoco.com

Jason Speciner is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, an Enrolled Agent, and the founder of fee-only firm Financial Planning Fort Collins. He is also a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), Financial Planning Association (FPA), and XY Planning Network. Since 2004, he has served clients of all ages and backgrounds with unique experience working with members of generations X and Y. To learn more, check out Jason's blogs and see the media he's been featured in.



MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
The minimum initial investment for the Invest:FOCO platform is only $5,000 per account. This minimum can be met via transfer of an existing account or with new funds.
ANNUAL FEE
1.00% of assets under management ($100 per $10,000 managed). Debited from your account(s).
FINANCIAL PLANNING
Strategy:FOCO financial planning services are ongoing, and include unlimited phone, email, web and in-person meeting and consultation time. Pricing is based on the unique circumstances of each client situation. Generally, there is a one-time plan development fee ranging from $500 - $2,000 and a monthly fee of $150 - $500; cancel anytime. Clients utilizing investment management services with portfolios of $500,000 or more will typically receive financial planning services for no additional fee.
INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
Assets Under Management (AUM)Annual fee as a % of AUM or flat-dollar
$0 - $249,999(See Invest:FOCO)
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 - $2,999,9990.50%
$3,000,000 - $3,999,999$15,000
$4,000,000 - $4,999,999$20,000
$5,000,000 or more$25,000 + $2,000 per additional $1mm
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
There is a minimum initial investment of $100,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. A client household may generally include accounts for a head of household, a significant other, dependents, and any controlled organizations or entities.

Minimums do not apply to inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service.
ANNUAL FEE
Assets Under ManagementFee as a % of AUM
$100,000 - $249,9991.00%
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 or more0.50%

inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service: $1,000/year or $100/month
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
There is a minimum initial investment of $100,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. A client household may generally include accounts for a head of household, a significant other, dependents, and any controlled organizations or entities.

Minimums do not apply to inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service.
ANNUAL FEE
Assets Under ManagementFee as a % of AUM
$100,000 - $249,9991.00%
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 or more0.50%

inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service: $1,000/year or $100/month
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
The minimum initial investment for the Invest:FOCO platform is only $5,000 per account. This minimum can be met via transfer of an existing account or with new funds. Invest:FOCO is currently available for Individual, Joint, Traditional IRA, and Roth IRA registrations.
ANNUAL FEE
0.65% of assets under management ($65 per $10,000 managed)
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
The minimum initial investment for the Invest:FOCO platform is only $5,000 per account. This minimum can be met via transfer of an existing account or with new funds.
ANNUAL FEE
0.65% of assets under management ($65 per $10,000 managed)
TAX PREPARATION
Invest:FOCO clients are eligible for a 10% discount on income tax preparation services offered through Fort Collins Tax Service, LLC. This discount applies to the base cost for return preparation as well as Schedules B & D. More details can be found here.
MINIMUM RELATIONSHIP SIZE
There are no minimums when utilizing inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service.

When investment management services are desired, there is a minimum initial investment of $125,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. A client household may generally include accounts for a head of household, a significant other, dependents, and any controlled organizations or entities. inStream proactive financial planning is then included at no additional cost.
ANNUAL FEE
inStream proactive financial planning as a stand-alone service: $1,250/year or $125/month

Assets Under ManagementFee as a % of AUM
$125,000 - $249,9991.00%
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 or more0.50%
TAX PREPARATION
Strategy:FOCO clients are eligible for a 50% or 100% discount on income tax preparation services offered through Fort Collins Tax Service, LLC. This discount applies to the base cost for return preparation as well as Schedules B & D. More details can be found here.
Monthly Economic Update
Stay in the loop with our Monthly Economic Update. It's a great way to catch up on the things effecting your financial plan in an easy to read and relatable format.

We promise to only use your name and email address for sending our Monthly Economic Update. We will not sell, rent, lease, loan, or use your name or email address for any other purpose, internally or externally. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Monthly Economic Update
Stay in the loop with our Monthly Economic Update. It's a great way to catch up on the things effecting your financial plan in an easy to read and relatable format.

We promise to only use your name and email address for sending our Monthly Economic Update. We will not sell, rent, lease, loan, or use your name or email address for any other purpose, internally or externally. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
MINIMUM ACCOUNT SIZE
Minimums do not apply to always-on, real-time financial planning as a stand-alone service.

For investment management services there is a minimum initial investment of $125,000 per Strategy:FOCO client household. This minimum can be met via transfer of existing accounts or with new funds. Investment management fees are generally debited from the accounts to which they apply. Financial planning services are included for Strategy:FOCO investment management clients at no additional charge.
ANNUAL FEE
Always-on, real-time financial planning as a stand-alone service:  $125/month or $1,250/year

Assets Under ManagementFee as a % of AUM
$125,000 - $249,9991.00%
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 or more0.50%
Five Savings Secrets
Are you 30 - 60? Let us give you a few tips with our free white-paper: Five Savings Secrets. Then stay in the loop with periodic emails featuring relevant information on financial planning, investment management, and income taxes.

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or use your email address for any other purpose, internally or externally. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Notice

This website or its third-party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the privacy policy. If you want to know more or withdraw your consent to all or some of the cookies, please refer to the privacy policy.

By closing this banner, scrolling this page, clicking a link or continuing to browse otherwise, you agree to the use of cookies.

FINANCIAL PLANNING
Financial planning services are ongoing, and include unlimited phone, email, web and in-person meeting and consultation time. Pricing is based on the unique circumstances of each client situation. Generally, there is a one-time plan development fee ranging from $500 - $2,000 and a monthly fee of $150 - $500; cancel anytime. Clients utilizing investment management services with portfolios of $500,000 or more will typically receive financial planning services for no additional fee.
INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT
Assets Under Management (AUM)Annual fee as % of AUM or flat-dollar
$0 - $249,9991.00%
$250,000 - $499,9990.90%
$500,000 - $999,9990.80%
$1,000,000 - $1,999,9990.65%
$2,000,000 - $2,999,9990.50%
$3,000,000 - $3,999,999$15,000
$4,000,000 - $4,999,999$20,000
$5,000,000 or more$25,000 + $2,000 per additional $1mm
ESTIMATE YOUR FEE
Your fee is determined by the complexity of your needs and situation. The primary proxy we use for complexity is your investable net worth, which is generally your total net worth, excluding your primary residence. Your investable net worth includes the value of cash, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, rental real estate, and other business or financial interests. This aligns with the holistic nature of our comprehensive services. You can use the chart below to estimate your fee based on your investable net worth. In some circumstances, your fee may be more than the minimums in the chart below.
Minimum Annual Fee Investable Net Worth (INW)
$4,000Up to $500,000
$6,000Up to $1,000,000
$8,000Up to $1,500,000
$10,000Up to $2,000,000
$11,000Up to $2,500,000
$12,000Up to $3,000,000
+ $1,000per additional $1,000,000 of INW
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Need some tips to help you tackle your next critical money moment? Stay in the loop with our weekly(ish) email!

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Do you have a cash surplus? Learn more what to do with extra money in the free-preview of our Teachable course: Sudden Money and Windfalls.

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Critical Money Tips
Are you here because of a big change in your finances? Subscribe for our PDF on 6 questions to learn the benefits of working with a full-time fiduciary.

We promise to never sell, rent, lease, loan, or otherwise use your email address for any reason inconsistent with our privacy policy. You can easily unsubscribe at any time.
Inheriting Money Can Be Overwhelming.
We have the expertise to be your guide as you navigate receiving a windfall.
Equity Compensation Can Be Confusing.
Let us make it less complicated for you. Whether it’s a one-time award or ongoing compensation, we know how to help.