Northington Blog

Is Your Broker Up To Standard?

My name is Stephen Northington, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional from Little Rock, Arkansas.  We branded our firm with two very important words, “Financial Comfort”, our mission is to bring financial comfort to every client and business that engages our wealth planning firm Northington Investment Group. We measure it by getting the entire financial house in order and working hard to keep it there.

The very first meeting with a potential client with our firm is called a “Comfort Meeting”.  The purpose of this meeting is to understand if Northington Investment Group can bring value to this client and or business.  Or even more importantly, if the client believes that our firm can bring value to them.  During this comfort meeting, I always make it a point to share my legal standard of care as a  CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.  The standard of care I am talking about is often referred to as a Fiduciary Standard.

At Northington Investment Group, as a  CFP®,  the CFP board requires us to adopt the highest fiduciary(legal) standard in the industry. This is the standard of care that our firm is held accountable too every time we engage a client and/or business for financial comfort.  The legal standard is pretty straight forward but not understood by both the public and financial professionals.

Northington Investment Group Fiduciary Standard & CFP Board, Fiduciary Standard

  • A Fiduciary needs to place the interest of the clients first
  • They need to eliminate any conflicts of interest they can
  • And for those they can’t they must disclose and provide advice at a professional level

This standard of care is what I think most investors believe they are getting today. Unfortunately, that’s not the law as it stands today. The brokerage industry has a business standard that is much lower.  It/’s called a “Suitability Standard”.   Under this standard of care a broker has a much lower standard of care to meet.

Broker, Standard Of Care:

Must meet a Suitability Standard

•   Advice only needs to be suitable

•   It doesn’t need to be in your BEST interest

•   There may be all kinds of conflicts

•   And there is no requirement to, in effect, represent the investor


Why should the public care? There has never been a time in our history, post Madoff, that protecting yourself and your family with a higher Fiduciary legal standard makes sense. A legal standard that has a much higher threshold as compared to the broker standard of Suitability.

How will this impact your life?  Ask yourself, when it comes to financial products, my requirement as a Fiduciary is to provide you with the best product and advice.  In comparison, a broker only has to provide you an appropriate one. Are you starting to see the difference?

What do you need to do today?  You worked hard all your life to build your estate, engage with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, who has a much higher legal standard of care called a “Fiduciary Standard”.  If we can bring Financial Comfort to your family, contact us for your no obligation Comfort meeting at or call me at 501.993.0167.  You are going to love us.

The opinions expressed in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of LPL Financial and are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.