Do to others what you would have them do to you. Matthew 7:12. I believe it was God that said this.
As a professional who looks out for the financial interests of my client’s, before my own or that of my firm, I abide by “The Do Right Rule.”
First and foremost, as a steward of other people’s money, understanding who you are, what you want and what you need should be paramount and priority before offering advice or products.
We are not a broker or an agent, working solely for a commission; and generally not held to the fiduciary standard of care, or “The Do Right Rule.”
If you are a farmer, it’s the difference between the landowner and fertilizer salesmen. The former is interested in responsible, long-term growth, while the latter — mostly his own profit.
Certified financial planners and registered investment advisers, for example, are mostly fiduciary. If they wrong you, you can sue them.
Brokers and agents are generally not. In a dispute over bad advice or inappropriate products, you have to submit to their industry’s arbitration system, where lots of cards are stacked against you and you have to prove that they wronged you. In most cases, you won’t get your day in court.
The difference between the two business models is who is first on their agenda, in my opinion, right or wrong. With fiduciary, it’s client-centered; with brokers, their firm’s bottom line. That much hasn’t changed much in a century, but it should.