First of all, no one is a fiduciary because of a few letters after their name – I fiduciary is “obliged” to put the interests of the client ahead of his / her own. I know some fiduciaries who are in federal prison. Did their fiduciary status protector their clients? I know some attorneys who are by definition, fiduciaries, and they are in federal prision. Don’t let someone tell you they are legally trustworthy because they have a designation.

CFP’s follow a philosophy and a pattern of logic that could potentially limit clients to a specific amount, say, at retirement, based on a “financial plan”. While a different philosophy could wind up creating more than the client had “planned for”.

Should we tell the client he/she has too much much now because we over-performed? I’ve had these conversations with the CEO and the CFO of my primary carriers – no one is a fiduciary because they wear a badge. If we went by titles then we would be blind following the blind. With all due respect to our CFP friends, their skills may be poor but they can say they are fiduciaries. Or, one may have superior skills but their credibility and character are beyond question. Which would you rather have working for you?

Having said that, it might be a good idea for a person to work toward professional skills while they are in the pursuit of caring for and ministering to clients. I am a mediocre example of such a person, but I continue to work toward more education, more skill, more excellence. I have CLU and CHFC designations, as well as investment advisor representative credentials (series 6,63, 65, 7). These mean nothing unless I am putting my efforts, every day, toward the betterment of my clients.