It is with great enthusiasm that I announce my recent affiliation with Leading Edge Wealth Advisors, returning to my hometown roots after 15 years of experience in the financial planning field, working with clients and advisors across the country. Growing up, I was encouraged by my parents to pursue a career in medicine, following in the footsteps of cousins, uncles, brothers and many others in my family who ended up becoming doctors and specialists in the medical field. Although I grew up learning and sharing in these values and was taught about the virtues and ethical standards of trusted doctors, I was always a bit squeamish when it came to topics of health and to this day dislike going into a hospital or seeing operations. Suffice it to say, I never watched “Trauma: Life in the E.R.”.
I temporarily overcame this handicap for the birth of our two kids, but this lack of conviction to the field of medicine did not reflect well on my grades during my early years of undergrad as a Pre-Med student at the University of Maryland in College Park. What I always excelled in was mathematics and I was drawn to the world of Economics and business management from an early age. I quickly saw similar values in the field of Financial Planning as those in Medicine, where the financial decisions and the related guidance was almost as important and life changing to individuals as the decisions surrounding their health. I saw firsthand how wealth impacted a person’s health and how access to skilled care became life-changing. It was my long-standing belief that Financial Advisors are held in the same regard and share the same integrity as those providing medical advice under the Hippocratic Oath: Do No Harm.
It was during the market downturns of 2000 and 2008 and my concurrent work experience that opened my eyes to the various standards and regulations that exist in the field of Financial Advice. I believe that Financial Advisors and Planners should take every effort to provide objective advice that takes into account the various aspects and variables involved, and base that advice on what is in the best interest of the client, above all else.
Currently, there exists various regulations and laws that govern the different types of business models and type of advisors that exist in the financial services industry today. There are, and have been for some time, advisors that operate as Fiduciaries, providing clear and proper disclosures of conflicts of interest, compensation and qualifications, among other things. Accredited Investment Fiduciary and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioners are two examples of financial professionals that operate as Fiduciaries.
There have been many attempts, especially within the last 10 years, to implement a uniform standard for all financial services professional to operate as Fiduciaries, whether they are selling a stock, positioning an insurance solution or providing retirement planning advice. That seems like a logical approach to most.
It is my belief that standardization of a regulation is not the same as over-regulation. Standardization places everyone under the same level of scrutiny, and most importantly, holds everyone to the same level of accountability. It is true that a law or regulation may not deter someone who is intent on doing wrong, but what it does allow for is holding that individual accountable should they choose to violate the rule. Without standardization, lack of accountability would leave victims or those impacted without any avenues for recourse.
We at Leading Edge Wealth Advisors have long espoused and embraced the virtues and values of operating as Fiduciaries, voluntarily choosing to pursue designations, licenses and business models that hold us to the highest ethical standards. While Jim and I operate under the Fiduciary standard as both Investment Advisors and CFP® Professionals, Spencer’s Fiduciary role is based not only on the attainment of the Accredited Investment Fiduciary certification, but as an Investment Advisor Representative as well.
Our shared philosophy and belief in the Fiduciary centric advisory practice is the common thread that has brought us together, creating synergy in our approach to working with clients and giving back to our community in the best way we can. We operate as a team of specialists, providing comprehensive and holistic advice for improved financial health. Additional enhancements and technology tools are being launched within the next couple of months, allowing for better and more efficient utilization of our collective expertise.
We look forward to having you join us for the next leg of growth for our firm and our clients.
Shar Gogerdchi, CFP®