Our Vision, Mission and Objectives
Founded in 2011, the Institute for the Fiduciary Standard is a research and education institution – a think tank – whose single purpose is to promote the vital importance of the fiduciary standard in investment and financial advice.
The Founders of the Institute are Knut A. Rostad, Marion Asnes, Philip Chao, Maria Elena Lagomasino (Mel), Kathleen M. McBride, Jim Patrick, and Michael Zeuner.
The vision of the Institute is a fiduciary society where fiduciary principles and practices permeate the investment and financial advisory profession, and all advice serves investors’ best interest. (A fiduciary society is the term Vanguard founder John C. Bogle uses to describe the goal we must aspire to in ensuring that “trustees of other people’s money act solely in the interests of their beneficiaries.”)
The Institute’s research, education and advocacy on the fiduciary standard’s impact on investors, our capital markets and economy defines its core mission. The Institute seeks to inform and assist investors, policymakers, researchers and the industry. Six key fiduciary duties embody the fundamental elements of an investment fiduciary’s responsibility.
Six Key Fiduciary Duties
- Serve the client’s best interest
- Act in utmost good faith
- Act prudently – with the care, skill and judgment of a professional
- Avoid conflicts of interest
- Disclose all material facts
- Control investment expenses.
The long term objective of the Institute is that the fiduciary standard become established in law and the culture as the standard for investment and financial advisors (including brokers and sales professionals) when investment or financial advice is rendered.
Why an Institute for The Fiduciary Standard?
The rationale for an Institute for the Fiduciary Standard is straightforward: The fiduciary standard is important, representing ideas central to our form of government and free market economy; it is under significant pressures from market forces that could sharply limit its reach; no other entity is solely focused on preserving and promoting the fiduciary standard.
The fiduciary standard of conduct for prudently managing assets or property has a proud heritage in American law. Fiduciary principles were enunciated by American Founders. Washington and Madison were among those who used fiduciary language to describe government officials as the peoples’ agents, guardians or trustees who derive their authority from the consent of the people. These ideas anchor the founders’ concept of limited government. As the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, so aptly says: “Principles and ideas of the American Founding are worth conserving and renewing.”
Alongside our core governing principles, the prominence of fiduciary duties in both private and government actions is apparent. Fiduciary duties guide the meaning of putting others’ interests ahead of ones own, and acting loyally, in utmost good faith and with due care. Vanguard founder, John C. Bogle, in his call for a return to a fiduciary society, provides clarity by simply noting that shareholders and beneficiaries interests must be put ahead of the interests of agents and managers.
Until now, there has been no independent and single-focused, non profit institute dedicated to benefiting investors through research, education and advocacy of the vital role of the fiduciary standard. There has been no entity solely dedicated to preserving and promoting the fiduciary standard. That is until now. The Institute for the Fiduciary Standard formed to fill this role.