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Fee-Only Advisory Firm References at Issue

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards disciplined six financial advisers for compensation miscommunications, receiving commissions when claiming to be fee-only. There is no official regulatory or legal definition of fee only. The CFP Board allows CFPs to utilize the term fee-only only if all compensation is derived from clients in that manner. That said, however, there is much confusion as many advisers claim in one disclosure filing that they can and do charge commissions, and in another claim to be fee only. In an environment that is becoming more commission averse, marketing is slated towards fee only. A firm looking to hire a fee based adviser should ask probing questions on this front rather than solely relying on marketing via brochure or website.

Blogs.wsj.com; October 20, 2017.