Looking for a financial advisor? If so, there are two big things you need to know... 

1. The Fee-Only Difference

Are you talking to a fee-only advisor?  Or is it a commission-based or fee-based advisor that earns money by selling you investments and insurance products? 

2. The Fiduciary Difference

Does the advisor act as a fiduciary?  If not, then be aware that the advisor is not required to put your interests first.


My guess is that you’d like to work with a financial advisor that is....

  • Truly objective

  • Always acts in your best interest

  • Doesn’t have hidden charges

You should be aware that an inherent conflict of interest exists if you work with a commission-based advisor or a fee-based advisor (someone who gets paid by both commissions and fees).

Such advisors get up in the morning and go to work, knowing their livelihood depends on clients making investment transactions or buying insurance products.

The advisor makes more money if there are more transactions and bigger transactions. All of which can sometimes work against the interests of their clients.  Clients who are trusting them to give objective counsel.

We are fee-only advisors.
Some advisors work with clients on a “fee-only” basis. They get paid only by their clients, not by investment firms or insurance companies. This minimizes the potential for conflicts of interest and helps ensure that clients receive objective advice.

At Financial Research, we strictly adhere to the following guidelines.... 

  • We’re compensated solely by our clients

  • We don't accept compensation from other companies

  • Sales commissions are not accepted, either directly or indirectly

  • Client referral fees are not accepted

  • All potential conflicts of interest are disclosed to clients 

What is NAPFA?

Founded in 1983, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (“NAPFA”) is the nation’s leading organization of fee-only financial advisors.  NAPFA-Registered advisors are required to work with clients solely on a fee-only basis.

Only a small minority of financial advisors meets NAPFA’s strict requirements. As of September 2011, there were a total of 1,409 NAPFA-Registered financial advisors. It’s a select group of professionals dedicated to providing objective, conflict-free advice to their clients.   



A few comments from Jay H. Cowles, CFP
“I became a NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor in 2002. Being a fee-only advisor, with a fiduciary duty to my clients, is the only way I could work in this business. Any other way wouldn’t feel right.” 

“When I'm at non-NAPFA advisor conferences, I hear lots of talk about products that pay high commissions or techniques to increase your sales. At NAPFA events, it’s an entirely different discussion. With NAPFA-Registered advisors, it’s about learning and becoming a better, smarter consultant.”