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    There are countless fee-only financial advisors in Los Angeles which makes finding the right one to work with a bit overwhelming.  Putting your financial trust into a stranger can also prove to be quite challenging, and you want to ensure you pick right financial advisor for you.  At Satori Wealth Management, our team is led by Danny Michael who has over 17 years experience providing highly personalized and proactive financial planning and investment management services to business owners, professionals, individuals, and families.  To help guide you when selecting a fee-only financial advisor near you in Los Angeles, we put together some information for you.

    Different Types of Financial Advisors in Los Angeles

    Choosing the right financial advisor means understanding the different fee structures that advisors (and their firms) have. 

    The three main types of financial advisors in Los Angeles are:

    1. A fee-only financial advisor is someone who will not earn commissions from investments. They earn no money from their recommendations to clients and are only paid for the service they provide.

    2. A fee-based financial advisor will earn commissions from investments on top of the fee they charge.

    3. A commission-only financial advisor will earn their income from receiving commissions on the investments they buy and sell for their client.


    Fiduciary vs. Non-Fiduciary In Los Angeles

    Another noticeable difference among financial advisors is the word fiduciary. You will notice there is something called a fiduciary financial advisor, and this means that they are legally obligated to put the client’s needs above their own. The financial advisor must only act in their client’s best interest at all times. A fiduciary financial advisor will also have control over their client’s assets while also being trusted to buy and sell securities on their behalf.   

    Due to the higher standards set for a fiduciary (such as control over their client’s assets), they are regulated by the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

    This federal law ensures that fiduciaries perform their services in the best manner for their clients. 

    The Fiduciary Standard For Advisors in Los Angeles

    The specific set of rules explained in the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 are called the Fiduciary Standard. People who must follow the fiduciary standard are Certified Financial Planners (CFP), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), certified investment advisers, and other persons who work with finances such as broker-dealers. The fiduciary standard is also the main source in which the SEC regulates all investment advisors.

    The fiduciary standard says that an advisor cannot buy any securities for their account before purchasing them for a client. They also are not permitted to make trades that will earn them higher commissions for themselves or their firm (for a fee-based or commission only advisor).

    All investment advice must be as accurate as possible with thorough and complete information that is up-to-date. Lastly, any potential conflicts of interest must be disclosed to clients at all times. 

    Fee-Only Financial Advisors in Los Angeles Qualifications

    Los Angeles is home to over 12 million people, and as the second most populous city in the United States.  This means there are a plethora of fee-only financial advisors near you ready to assist. Having access to so many can make it difficult to weed through the less desirable fee-only advisors to find the best one for you.

    One of the most telling ways of finding a good financial advisor is to look at their qualifications. The most commonly found certifications among fee-only financial advisors in Los Angeles include:

    Certified Financial Planner (CFP)– this certification means that the financial advisor has decided to prove their knowledge and comprehension in the financial planning field. This is the most common type of certification for financial advisors. To receive the certification, the advisor applies through the Certified Planner Board of Standards and then must be complete the required coursework. This proves the advisor is an expert in financial fields such as retirement planning, estate planning, insurances, and more.

    To keep the CFP certification, the advisor must complete continued education programs every two years.

    Enrolled Agent (EA)– the EA credential is awarded by the IRS and is the most elite certification they grant. This makes them a federally-authorized tax practitioner. A financial advisor with an EA is an expert in taxes and is permitted to represent taxpaying clients before the IRS. Due to the high-standard EA’s are held to, they must follow a Code of Ethics.

    Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF)– an AIF is a financial advisor who has become an expert in fiduciary responsibilities. They achieve this by completing advanced courses that enhance their knowledge and comprehension of fiduciary responsibilities. Like with most other certifications, an AIF must sign and agree to oblige to the Code of Ethics. Additionally, they are required to complete six hours of continuing education each year.

    Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)– a Personal Financial Specialist is a type of CFP who has proven their expertise in all areas of wealth management. A PFS certification is granted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). This certification is only temporary. The PFS must complete 60 hours of continuing education at a professional level every three years.  

    Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP)– a RICP has undergone training to understand how to effectively help a client with their retirement needs. This includes structuring their retirement plans, understanding and avoiding risks, and how to increase their wealth after retirement.

    The financial advisor must oblige to The American College’s Code of Ethics, where the RICP certification is granted. To keep this title, the financial advisor must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years.

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