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Our Vision, Mission and Objectives
Founded in 2011, the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard is a research and education institution – a think tank – whose single purpose is to promote the vital importance of the fiduciary standard in investment and financial advice.
The vision of the Institute is a fiduciary society where fiduciary principles and practices permeate the investment and financial advisory profession, and all advice serves investors’ best interest. (A fiduciary society is the term Vanguard founder John C. Bogle uses to describe the goal we must aspire to in ensuring that “trustees of other people’s money act solely in the interests of their beneficiaries.”)
The Institute’s research, education and advocacy on the fiduciary standard’s impact on investors, our capital markets and economy defines its core mission. The Institute seeks to inform and assist investors, policymakers, researchers and the industry. Six key fiduciary duties embody the fundamental elements of an investment fiduciary’s responsibility.
Six Key Fiduciary Duties
- Serve the client’s best interest
- Act in utmost good faith
- Act prudently – with the care, skill and judgment of a professional
- Avoid conflicts of interest
- Disclose all material facts
- Control investment expenses.
The long term objective of the Institute is that the fiduciary standard become established in law and the culture as the standard for investment and financial advisors (including brokers and sales professionals) when investment or financial advice is rendered.
More immediately, the Institute seeks to:
1) Increase investor awareness of the differences, and the implications of these differences, between the fiduciary and commercial (sales) standards.
2) Increase industry and regulators’ awareness of the importance that an investor-centric SRO choice exists for investment advisors, and rulemaking reflects the vision expressed by the Supreme Court in SEC v Capital Gains Research Bureau on the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.
“We do support the extension of a fiduciary standard to broker/dealer registered representatives who provide advice to retail investors.”
–Testimony by Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO, The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, January 13, 2010
"I would like to suggest we imagine our industry in a new way... [and] do right by our clients by embracing our fiduciary responsibility."
–Sallie L. Krawcheck, President, Global Wealth & Investment Management, Bank of America / Merrill Lynch, April 22, 2010, Remarks to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association
“The law gives the [SEC] the authority to establish a new standard of care…’no less stringent than’ the Investment Advisers Act…to ensure that the new standard would not be a ‘watered down’ version of the investment advisors’ fiduciary standard.”
–Rep. Barney Frank, House Committee on Financial Services, May 31. 2011