Ethical Practices in Times of Change
Even with all that seems to be going on in the world today, we are still bound to conduct our practice from the same directives. This means that the NAIFA Preamble and obligations are as meaningful and helpful now as they have ever been, supported by our own personal ethical code.
Ethical Practices in Times of Change By Frank C. Bearden, Ph.D., CLU, ChFC
With the introduction of the DOL Fiduciary Rule, much may have changed for many financial advisors. To add to this, there is some uncertainty about how the new Administration in Washington, D.C., will change the rule, if at all.
This introduces a strong element of uncertainty in the lives of financial advisors as they attempt to provide for their clients’ financial needs. In such times, ethical direction may seem harder to determine.
Fundamentals Remain the Same
However, even with all that seems to be going on, we are still bound to conduct our practice from the same directives. This means that the NAIFA Preamble and obligations are as meaningful and helpful now as they have ever been, supported by our own personal ethical code.
We are still held to maintaining client confidence, working diligently to address their needs. The illustrations of analysis and product performance still must be accurate and honest and must consider all pertinent client facts. We are obligated to continue to enhance our professional knowledge and skills, and, of course, we have to obey all laws and regulations, in letter and in spirit. Finally, we still should conduct ourselves in a professional manner, to reflect well on our professional association and profession.
We must cooperate with adjacent professionals who also serve our clients’ interests, and we still must be political advocates for our clients’ financial interests, the financial products we use in their service, and our profession. So, in the most basic sense, our ethical "marching orders" have not changed.
You may well agree with the above, but still note that many aspects of our profession are in a state of flux, considering the potential changes in our level of service to clients, possible changes in the tax code, changes in laws that affect small-business owners, and other issues in transition.
You would be correct about the changes that may occur. But ask yourself this: Has there been a time since the founding of NAIFA on June 18, 1890, as the National Association of Life Underwriters, when we, our predecessors and all the clients we have served have not experienced change? And doesn’t such change provide much of the invigorating challenge our profession offers, with an increasing need for our services by those we serve?
So let’s take a note from our experience in sports, and let the challenges of today and the near future deepen our ethical commitment to our clients and steady our resolve to continue to provide them with a high level of service.
Frank C. Bearden, Ph.D., CLU, ChFC, is managing member at Ethics Consulting. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 210-724-1958.
This article appeared in Advisor Today.
Topics: Running Your Practice