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John Romano, CFP®

Does Your Broker/Financial Planner have Fiduciary Duty?


There is a lot of confusion with the different financial advisor designations. There is very little transparency on how a financial adviser gets paid. You know how your doctor is paid and your mechanic or hairstylist is paid. But even more importantly, investors want to know who is looking out for them. Well, basically it comes down to this. 

There are two standards that advisors and financial planners are held to - the suitability standard and the fiduciary standard.  The suitability standard gives advisors the most wiggle room; it simply requires that investments must fit clients’ investments objectives, time horizon, and experience. ¹

How to discern among Financial Advisors:

Many investment advice providers are not trying to rip people off. But it’s hard for average investors to know which type of advisory is held to what type of standard- suitability or fiduciary.

The  suitability standard  may have the potential for conflict of interest pertaining to compensation, which can vary greatly from one product to another.  And if you’re operating under this, you don’t have to disclose your conflicts of interest.  So, what that means is often the products that are best for the broker have higher costs for the investor.

The other standard of care, the fiduciary standard, basically charges advisors with putting their client’s best interest ahead of their own.  For instance, states with two identical products but with different fees and advisor under the fiduciary standard will be compelled to recommend the one with the least cost to the client, even if it meant fewer dollars in the company’s coffers in his or her pocket. 

Unfortunately, many investors can’t distinguish among financial planners and advisors.  Here are some common questions that should be asked :

Question #1 – Are you acting under the fiduciary standard?

Question #2 – What licenses do you have?

Question #3 – Are you a registered investment advisor?

Question #4 – Are you a CFP®?

I have a dual fiduciary obligation, not only being an Investment Advisor Representative, but also being a CFP®. 

The CFP’s board most recent code of ethics and standard of conducts include a range of important changes (their website is ), including expanding the application of the fiduciary standard that always requires a CFP® to act in the best interest of the client when providing financial advice.  I provide financial advice. 

As an Investment Advisor Representative, I am regulated by the SEC or State Securities regulators both of which hold advisors to a fiduciary standard that requires them to put their client’s interests above their own.  It consists of a duty of loyalty and care and simply means the advisor must act in the best interest of his or her client.

Once you understand the differences, you have the option to choose someone who best fits your needs.

References: [1]


John Romano, CFP®

John Romano, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, has over 30 years experience in the financial field. John is a Registered Representative with Securities America, Inc. (member of the FINRA and SIPC), and an Investment Advisor Representative with Securities America Advisors. He has prepared hundreds of reports for retirees to assist in their retirement income planning needs. He is dedicated to providing portfolio analysis, dividend and income information, and investment management services to retirees (and those preparing to retire) in The Villages, Florida, and throughout the United States.

Securities offered through Securities America, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC, John Romano CFP® Registered Representative. Advisory Services offered through Securities America Advisors, Inc. John Romano Investment Advisor Representative. Romano Income Strategies and Securities America are not affiliated.

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John Romano, CFP®

305 Skyline Drive, Suite 3, Lady Lake, FL 32159

Phone: 352-753-8590



Most retirees are concerned today about outliving their income. Very few have a written income plan.  Most realize we are the tail end of a great bull market, but all good things come to an end. This may be a good time to stress-test your retirement plan. Maybe I can help.  Send me an email or schedule a phone time. 

I will get back with you within one business day.


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