What makes Gunnell Financial better than your average Stockbroker?
One word: Fiduciary. I am a fiduciary, your broker most likely is not.
Non-Fiduciary Responsibility vs. Fiduciary Responsibility
In simple terms, advisers with fiduciary responsibility have a legal responsibility to put your needs ahead of their own.
Some estimates claim that only 15% of advisors have a fiduciary responsibility. The Paladin Registry puts the number even lower, estimating that just one in 12 advisers have fiduciary responsibility.
Fiduciary advisers are usually Registered Investment Advisers (RIA’s) or Investment Advisor Representatives. These advisers are registered with the SEC or the state security division, and they are acknowledged fiduciaries that provide ongoing financial advice and services. Fiduciary advisers receive compensation on a quarter-by-quarter basis for continued services, and that compensation ends if the investor is dissatisfied and chooses to leave the firm.
An adviser with fiduciary responsibilities is held to a higher ethical standard and should have the knowledge to provide sophisticated wealth management services and advice. RIA’s are licensed to provide ongoing financial advice, and fiduciary advisers are required to provide disclosure in their ADVs.
Industry estimates show that approximately 85% of financial advisers do not have fiduciary responsibility. This includes stockbrokers, insurance agents or simple sales representatives. They may hold various licenses, but since they are not fiduciaries, they are often more interested in selling insurance and investment products than managing your portfolio.
Non-fiduciary advisers are compensated through commissions, which are often equivalent to management fees over several years. In the end, stepping away from one of these products usually involves a hefty surrender fee–no matter how bad the service or the results.
Titles for non-fiduciary advisers are unregulated, which means they can adopt any title they like: financial adviser, vice president, financial consultant, financial planner or whatever else sounds good. Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that they are really insurance agents or brokers. It also doesn’t change the fact that they typically do not have a fiduciary responsibility to put an investor’s interests ahead of their own, which means they are generally more interested in selling financial products with the largest commissions.
These sales reps have limited disclosure requirements and are not allowed to have account discretion. Most of them receive a large commission up front on the initial sale, which means they have very little incentive to continue helping the client.
“Ed was great and we plan to use him every year for our taxes!”
“Great service will be using his services for years to come“
Our Clients Are Like Family
By providing comprehensive financial planning, and working with our clients in all their important financial needs, we get to know them well and feel that they are family.
Years in the Business
For the first 15 years, we worked with our clients on investment and insurance planning. A little over 15 years ago, we had several clients that that same year had their accountant move, retire, or in 2 cases, die, and asked for help with their taxes and accounting. As the federal government continues to “simplify” or “improve” the tax code, the need for tax planning has exploded and continues to do so. We are licensed as a Registered Investment Advisor, meaning we are a fee-based client-focused financial planning firm. We are independent insurance agents so we can offer insurance based on the best value from a variety of companies. For tax, we are licensed as an Enrolled Agent (EA), which is a national tax license. A CPA is a state license. As we have clients either living or with business activities in 25 or so states, being federally licensed works best. We are a National Tax Payer Institute Fellow. This is a special certification only available to EAs, CPAs, and attorneys on how to work (or battle) with the IRS on complex issues. There are only about 4500 NTPIFs in the nation. Lastly, in an effort to stay ahead of the current expansion of the IRS, Ed is currently working on his Masters of Science in Taxation.