July 14, 2017
History of the Fee-Only Advisor Movement
I recently returned from a fee-only advisor industry conference. In addition to educational opportunities, it was a rewarding experience to spend time with other like-minded professionals. Rockbridge advisors have been attending these conferences for almost 10 years, so I thought it would be interesting to share a bit of the history behind the fee-only movement.
More than 40 years ago, consumers had very few choices when seeking out investment advice. Large companies that paid representatives to sell individual securities and other financial products dominated the industry. In 1982, a group of independent advisors got together in Atlanta, Georgia to brainstorm ways to deliver investment advice to their clients that didn’t require them to accept commissions from sales of financial products. This small band of advisors sent out hundreds of invitations to other advisors around the country to see if there were others who felt the same way. In February 1983, The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) was born. The first meeting brought together 125 advisors who were committed to expanding the use of fee-only financial planning by individual consumers.
NAPFA established a set of professional standards for fee-only financial advisors. They set their members apart from the crowd by committing to a fiduciary standard of care and rejecting commission compensation. NAPFA advisors are different from other financial professionals in many ways. They must adhere to a strict fee-only business model and provide comprehensive planning to their clients. In fact, NAPFA requires members to submit a financial plan for peer review before being accepted into the Association. Members are also required to complete 60 hours of continuing education every 24 months.
Today NAPFA membership exceeds 2,400 advisors nationwide. The Association hosts two national conferences per year where members get together in formal study groups around the country to help each other and exchange ideas.
Rockbridge Investment Management is proud to be a member of NAPFA since 2008. The advisors of Rockbridge have attended numerous NAPFA conferences while also taking a leadership role by volunteering on national and regional boards of the organization. Many of our clients first learned about our firm by visiting the NAPFA website in search of a fee-only fiduciary advisor.
Today, the government and the media have been spreading the word about this band of fee-only fiduciary advisors that stands ready to provide objective, unbiased financial advice to consumers who are ready for a change. At Rockbridge, we are ready for the growth opportunities that will come as consumers learn about the benefits of working with a fee-only advisor.
If you would like to learn more about NAPFA, please visit their website at www.napfa.org.