When I started AMDG Financial in 2002, it was with one goal: to be the very best for our clients. My vision was to create a fee-only firm (to avoid the opportunity for conflicts of interest), and to always place our clients’ interests ahead of our own – something that many so-called advisory firms still don’t do. Since 2002, we’ve always looked for ways to keep improving, which is why – in 2006, I decided to seek a Certificate of Registration from the Centre for Fiduciary Excellence, or CEFEX.
Getting a Certificate of Registration isn’t easy. To be eligible, our firm goes through a rigorous fiduciary assessment to determine whether our business practices meet the criteria defined by the Prudent Practices for Investment Advisors (U.S. Edition), developed by fi360. As part of the assessment, an independent analyst reviews all of our written records, conducts interviews, and examines evidence that shows we look out for our clients’ best interests in all of our business processes.
The CEFEX Certificate is voluntary, but this year marks our tenth year. AMDG Financial was the first firm in Michigan, and one of the first 10 advisory firms in the world, to receive the Certificate.
And here’s why that matters to you:
When people look for a trusted adviser to help them achieve their financial goals, they often look at the adviser’s personal credentials, like the “CPA” or “CFA” letters after the adviser’s name. Strong personal credentials are important -- and worth checking -- because only a select number of qualifications in FINRA’s list of professional designations are truly rigorous, requiring continuing education to maintain certification, offering a complaint process, and requiring certificants to adhere to a code of ethics.
If a firm’s internal processes don’t support the ideals of the adviser’s personal qualifications, there can be a huge disconnect. For example, if my credential requires me to place my clients’ interest first, but the firm’s compensation structure incentivizes me to do something different, that’s a problem for both me and my clients. An adviser can only be client-centric if the firm’s operations support it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen.
The CEFEX Certification ensures that our firm’s operations don’t undermine the personal commitment of our advisers, or our requirement under the Investment Adviser Act of 1940 to act as fiduciaries. When we say we act in your best interests, we mean it, both individually and as a firm. With this certification, we go the extra mile to prove it to you!
We do our best to explain our credentials to you here, but if you ever have questions, I encourage you to contact us. I’d welcome the opportunity to show you why each one is important to your success.