The benefits of choosing an AIF® designee

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Who is Looking After Your Best Interests?

Effective relationships between investors and advisors are built on trust. That trust is grounded in a commitment by the advisor to act solely in your best interests. But how can you be sure that the person you are entrusting not only embraces their commitment but is fully qualified to fulfill it?
Background research and client references will reveal an advisor’s experience and reputation. But one way you can quickly find out is to ask if the advisor is an investment fiduciary who has earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) Designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies™, the standards-setting body of fi360.
Perhaps no other concept causes greater confusion among investors than whether an advisor is fulfilling the role and responsibilities of an investment fiduciary. That’s why it is important to ask questions that reveal whether an advisor is truly serving your interests exclusively.

Trust Begins With Understanding

Who is a Fiduciary?

A fiduciary is any investment professional or financial advisor who is required by law and practice to act solely in the interests of and with undivided loyalty to their clients. A fiduciary’s advice and recommendations must align with your specific objectives, timeframe, and risk tolerance. When managing your assets, a fiduciary must strive for an optimal balance of risk and return. That person must exercise care, skill, diligence, and objectivity in evaluating, recommending, and reviewing investment options. Any advisor you hire to manage your investments in a fiduciary capacity is professionally obligated to ensure that:

  • Any advice or services he or she provides reflects your specific investment goals or expected returns, timeframe, and risk tolerance
  • Assets within your portfolio are appropriately diversified among a range of securities, mutual funds, or asset classes to mitigate risk and volatility
  • All investment activities, recommendations, and decisions are conducted in a thorough, objective, and prudent manner
  • Your assets are held in a secure account by a qualified custodian.
  • You will receive statements listing updated values, transactions, and interest and dividend payments for all positions in your account, typically on a monthly basis
  • Performance of your portfolio and its underlying investments will be monitored and reported on an ongoing basis, typically on a quarterly basis

What Is The Center For Fiduciary Studies?

Since 1999, the Center has served as the standards-setting body of fi360, the investment industry’s leading source of insights, education, and advocacy on all aspects of fiduciary responsibility. The Center’s team of subject matter experts includes experienced investment professionals, attorneys, technologists, and educators, all of whom share a commitment to promoting the widespread adoption of the fiduciary standard and helping investment professionals deliver the highest level of service to their clients.

The Center has leveraged its extensive knowledge of state and federal fiduciary regulations and its research into the processes employed by successful investment professionals to create the Prudent Practices for Investment Fiduciaries. Published in separate handbooks for investment advisors, investment managers and investment stewards, the Practices provide guidance on all aspects of investment management, including asset allocation, fund evaluation and selection, performance monitoring, reporting, governance and compliance.

Educational programs are available to promote widespread adoption of the Practices and instruct advisors in their practical application. In addition, the AIF® Designation formally distinguishes advisors who understand and follow the Practices.

Is Your Advisor Governed by a Professional Code of Ethics?

Will Your Advisor Disclose All Important Facts?

What Makes An AIF® Designee Different From Other Advisors?

While the Practices are available to all advisors, only those who have earned the AIF® Designation are formally recognized by the Center for demonstrating a full understanding of how to implement those processes to help individuals and families achieve their investment goals in a responsible and accountable manner. AIF® Designees are committed to using the knowledge and resources they have gained through their training to:
  • Employ uniform, industry-recognized processes for developing a personalized investment strategy based solely on your specific investment needs
  • Apply objective, comprehensive standards for evaluating and recommending investment options for your portfolio
  • Monitor and report performance of your portfolio and its underlying investments on an ongoing basis, and recommending changes when necessary
  • Conduct ongoing reviews of his or her business practices to ensure fiduciary principles are being properly applied
Designees are also trained to evaluate the fiduciary practices of investment stewards such as 401(k) and defined benefit plan sponsors and those responsible for managing endowment and foundation assets.

To maintain the Designation, AIF® Designees must complete continuing education training to keep up to date with changes in the industry and the ongoing evolution of legal requirements under the fiduciary standard. They also must recognize and formally affirm the principles and obligations stated in the Designee Code of Ethics, which governs their professional and ethical conduct.

Content courtesy of fi360.