To finish off the year, I thought it might be very worthwhile, as we get ready for New Year’s Resolutions, to consider certain ideals, courtesy of my friends at Buckingham Asset Management. They have adopted the following principles to help them serve as a trusted advisor. It bears repeating over and over because Buckingham is right on target:

Act in Client’s Best Interest
“We provide advice and recommendations that are in the client’s best interest. Period. Not because we rare legally obligated to (although we are). Not because it works well as a business model (it does). Simply because it is right.” Follow Standard of Care
“Pursuant to the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, we follow a fiduciary duty standard of care. This is the highest legal duty of care for a client’s welfare and one we gladly accept—in contrast to the less-stringent ‘suitability standard.’”

Deliver Attentive, Individualized Service
“We provide a high level of personal attention. We make a point of getting to know each client and of learning what is important. Developing personalized insight is key to providing appropriate advice and service.”

Build Customized, Integrated Investment Plans
“We develop investment plans that relate to the whole person or whole family, plans that are integrated into each client’s unique strategy and personal situation.”

Achieve Goals and Experience Long-Term Success Through Strategic Advice
“Our advice is goal-oriented, whether the goals are imminent or long-term. We evaluate and make recommendations for achieving them. We also fit each independent objective into the context of achieving an overall investment plan.”

Create a Team for Each Client
“Each client benefits from a team of professionals. Using in-house expertise or carefully selected alliances as warranted, we offer a range of resources to help clients make sound investment decisions.”

Focus on Professional Advice, Not on Products
“We are client-centric, which means we focus on delivering sound advice and targeted solutions. The only incentive we have in offering particular solutions is whether the client’s best interest will be served.”

Fee-Only Advisor
“We are a fee-only advisor, avoiding any conflicts or bias that commissioned-based compensation can create.”

Practice Full Disclosure and Seek Transparent Costs
“Potential conflicts of interest as well as any costs incurred are fully disclosed and clearly explained.”

Take Advantage of Academic Research
“While we strive for our advice to be straightforward and understandable, we base it upon the latest, peer-reviewed academic evidence.”

Practice What We Preach
“We invest our personal assets (including our profit-sharing plan) based on the same set of investment principles and using the same or comparable securities that we recommend to our clients.”

To all, have a happy and healthy New Year!

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