There has been a lot of discussion lately about the merits of being a fiduciary and whether the Fiduciary Rule will be enacted, or if it will indeed be struck down by President Trump.
Fiduciaries have been around for hundreds of years. In fact, the idea of fiduciaries started back in feudal times, when knights went off to fight in the Crusades and had to leave their estates for many years. They needed someone with which they could trust their livelihoods who would treat the property the way the knight would treat it.
This is the fiduciary standard.
People are often confused and believe the fiduciary is to treat the assets the way they would treat their own assets, but this is not the case. A fiduciary must act as the owner would act. He must place himself in the position of the owner and act as the owner would act. A fiduciary must be impartial between beneficiaries, and his first duty must be to the client, above himself or anyone or anything else.
Some may think this is a huge burden, but it’s actually a privilege. In fact, being a fiduciary allows you a unique perspective into the lives of your clients that you can’t get in any other profession. You become a part of the family, a confidante, more than just a financial advisor. Yes, you manage their investments and help them with their estate and retirement planning, but it is so much more.
I’ve had clients that tell me that I am the only one they can share their problems and concerns without judging them. They have concerns about their children they don’t want to share with others. They share their worries about the future, not just financial, but about their children, grandchildren, church and anything else that is on their minds.
We can’t solve all their problems, but we can listen and offer advice on the things in which we have expertise and through what we’ve seen work in other situations. Our clients are grateful for the help we offer and appreciate a sympathetic ear from someone they know cares and understands their situation. I even have a client that calls me Mama!
That’s a great feeling and one that you can’t get as just a financial advisor or a transactional business. It’s a bond formed by trust and respect and by being in the trenches with the client. Yes, there are challenges, but they are far outweighed by the benefits of knowing you are helping people.
Old North State Trust, LLC (ONST) periodically produces publications as a service to clients and friends. The information contained in these publications is intended to provide general information about issues related to trust, investment and estate related topics. Readers should be aware that the facts may vary depending upon individual circumstances. The information contained in these publications is intended solely for informational purposes, is proprietary to ONST and is not guaranteed to be accurate, complete or timely.
Susan Willett is the director of trust services and oversees all aspects of trust administration for Old North State Trust, LLC. Old North State Trust, a North Carolina chartered trust company, provides: asset management services; income, estate and trust tax consulting; retirement planning and administration; and trustee and estate services to both individuals and businesses. Old North State Trust professionals have many years of experience and for over a decade have assisted clients in identifying and reaching their financial goals. For more information, visit www.oldnorthstatetrust.com or call 910-399-5470.
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