The proposed Fiduciary Rule DOL proposed by the Department of Labor raises interesting questions. Why do we have to issue regulations to tell people to treat people as we want to be treated, and are those regulations actually going to change people’s behavior? Several years ago, we answered those questions for our clients.

Fiduciary Responsibility

That’s a fancy legal term for the Golden Rule. Actually, it means to put your client’s interest above your own. In other words, if it’s good for the client, and bad for you, you do it anyway. Somewhere along the way America has lost this fundamental moral idea, and it’s time that it be restored.

We had been providing financial advice to our clients for years through a Broker/Dealer. Once we had Bernie Madoff, the Great Depression, and the regulatory aftermath, we realized that Broker/Dealers were more interested in saving their collective butts than taking care of the clients. Regulation upon regulation, rule upon rule, it was clear that small operators like ours were being forced out. Of course this did nothing to address the large firms that caused the problems in the first place, but that is a story for a different day. Forced with a change in our business model, we looked at our options so that we could continue to provide this valuable service to our clients.

Registered Investment Advisor

We settled on leaving the world of broker/dealers and became an Oklahoma Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). There are differences between an RIA and a broker/dealer, but the main one is that we would no longer be paid commissions. Fee only. Along with this came with the Fiduciary Responsibility referenced above, but that was fine with us. We were doing that already! It’s interesting to note that Wall Street and insurance companies have resisted the move to this model because they like to hide their true costs. With us, our fees are stated up front, in writing, and can only be changed if our client’s agree to it before hand. Brokers and insurance companies are only required to send an updated policy or prospectus, and before you know it, you’re paying more. If you want a literally impossible task, go figure out what the fees and costs associated with the annuity or variable life insurance policy you own.

Being fee for service puts us on the same side as our clients. Our fee is not determined by what products we sell you or don’t sell you. It is based upon the amount of money we manage, and the services that we provide. Additionally, it changes the sales mentality that burdens the financial services industry. Have you noticed after they get your money in house and have it invested, they stop calling you? There’s a reason. Their entire business model is based upon bringing in new money and selling product. They’re paid upfront when they do, and little, if anything afterwards. So what are the incentivized to do? You guessed it, go sell the next one. As a business model, most business owners see the flaw in this. If you had to go recreate your revenue stream every day, week, month, how good would you be at taking care of your existing customers? Not very.

Read About Small Business Retirement Plans in this Article

Wealth Management

I think this is a very bad description. For one thing, most people I know don’t consider themselves wealthy or having wealth. Money management doesn’t sound much better, sounds like something a big company would use. Financial Planning? Better, but honestly I think using the word planning is intimidating to most folks, takes a certain amount of commitment, kind of like a diet. I’m not sure what to call it, but what we do is help you reach your goals, and often this has nothing to do with money. Relationships, dreams, hopes, fears, confusion those are the things we deal with.

We Are Here To Help

If you would like to talk to ask a question, or want to talk further, shoot me an email at cbrim@coregroupus.com. No sales pressure, I promise! Contact one of our offices inĀ Oklahoma City: 405-720-1244 or Tulsa: 918-477-7650 and let our experts help you with any of you bookkeeping, payroll or tax needs.