Being treated fairly is a justifiable expectation in any business relationship, especially when receiving professional advice.
Trust is an important ingredient in the world of financial planning. Without it, communication between a financial planner and their client has no foundation.
The Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) has a Code of Ethics that its members must follow and are held accountable to. Ethics has no boundaries so these same principles can, and should, apply to all areas of professional advice.
Being cognizant of the FPSC’s ethical considerations can hopefully make everyone aware of how they should be treated by any professional adviser, regardless of the discipline.
Clients’ interests must be placed above that of the adviser. Prioritizing the client is a fundamental core value.
A professional should always act with integrity including high morals, honesty and justice.
Objectivity is important and necessary for impartiality and sound judgments.
Developing and maintaining a high level of competency is critical as many areas of professional advice need specific expertise to deal with complex issues.
Acting fairly, with full disclosure of relevant facts, is important. Especially if there are conflicts of interest.
A client’s privacy is a standard everyone has come to expect, so confidentiality of all client information must be respected.
Clients deserve their professionals to act diligently which includes doing what’s right and in a timely manner.
And finally, an adviser must behave with professionalism that inspires confidence and respect from clients and the community.
Being bound by a code of ethics, like the FPSC’s, helps members of many professions to serve the public more effectively.
A conversation on all ethical topics can be healthy. I encourage all consumers of professional advice to understand their advisers’ code of ethics, and client/adviser expectations, as together they can help forge a stronger relationship.
Armed with this knowledge clients can have the confidence they are being treated fairly.