I've been practicing as a fee-only fiduciary for 18 years. As a white-glove, concierge-style practice in upstate New York, I have a grand total of 45 client relationships. I am writing this post to help consumers who are visiting this website because they're looking for a committed financial professional.
Having attended more than 300 professional educational webinars over the past decade on Advisors4Advisors (A4A), which sponsors this website, I wish to encourage consumers to trust the financial professionals who meet the educational requirements on Advisors4Consumers (A4C).
I have been part of the A4A community of financial professionals since early 2009, engaged thoroughly by all A4A continuing education programs and related content. Prior to becoming an independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), I worked as an estate planning attorney and advised high-net-worth clients, business owners and fellow professionals with their tax planning, estate planning and real estate financing.
As a Master Registered Financial Consultant (MRFC)®, I am required to earn at least 40 hours of continuing financial education every year. The MRFC designation was recently fully accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), a leader in credentialing since 1987. The Accredited Estate Planner (AEP)® has a similar professional education requirement, with at least 30 hours of classes every two years pertaining exclusively to estate planning. As an attorney (Juris Doctor), I also must earn an additional 24 credit hours bi-annually on legal-related topics. I also earned a Master's in Health Care Administration (MHA) and hold the Registered Fiduciary (RF)™ designation.
Why is this important? Getting information from thought leaders is critical to my success. More importantly, it is critical to my clients' success. My clients' financial well-being is a direct result of my deep involvement over the past 10 years with the A4A professional education programs.
A4A is for advisors passionate about our "calling." Ours is not a "job" that we go to every day just to make a living. Rather, we feel compelled to do what we do. The A4A community is a group of like-minded professionals who feel similarly. Many so-called "advisers" are really salespeople — wolves in sheep's clothing. They are simply not interested in the in-depth financial and economic news analysis, or the statistical, factually-based lessons and learning presented in A4A continuing professional education webinars. A4A attracts professionals who want the quantitative analysis of economic fundamentals and those who value the use of broad diversification and prudent investment management. These dedicated advisors are those who want to learn and, in particular, they are those who practice and deliver strict fiduciary advice—those who are called to the profession by their passion for helping others.
A4A is a self-selected group of professionals who are collectively doing what is best for their clients, and those clients are the consumers of their financial advice and professional guidance. Only those advisors who value the rigorous academic-based approach supported by A4A's thought leadership educators would be committed to maintaining an ongoing membership.
A4A membership connotes a few other things: No products to be sold, no politics to be played, and no individual school of thought or of a particular economic leaning. Intellectual integrity is genuine.
A4A members like me crave the kind of knowledge and informative content provided to us on an ongoing basis, year in and year out. We are the truly fortunate recipients of the broad database of information, and a brand of knowledge that we want to subsume as true fiduciaries. This entails the delivery and analysis of hard data, along with empirically-based, pertinent information as well as reporting which is unbiased and agnostic in all respects.
The content provided by A4A educational programs is not sponsored content. It is different from content in other publications, such as Investment News, Financial Advisor magazine, Financial Planning magazine and many other traditional trade publications. Although I read all of the aforementioned publications (and many others) on a regular and ongoing basis, none compares to the content that A4A members receive. Rather, what we receive is the core information needed to provide low-cost, professional advice — advice unadulterated and untainted by opinion or political persuasion. This information service is a reliable source of authoritative knowledge, and an increasingly important kind of service in high demand and low supply.
The level of dedication demonstrated by Andrew Gluck, Fritz Meyer, Bob Keebler, and Craig Israelsen to making a difference in the professional advisory community is remarkable. Their collective foresight and vision into the critically important topic of continuing education in our industry is unique. Serious and discerning advisors—those interested ONLY in the best interests of their clients—are well-served by participating fully in the A4A community. And best of all, it can all be had for a fraction of the cost of any other continuing education, business-building organization out there.