The Financial Integrity Pledge (Download The Financial Integrity Pledge Rev 9-2018:
The financial services industry needs a uniform playbook to protect and empower consumers and to provide common sense Principles for investment advisors, insurance agents, real estate agents, bank representatives, stockbrokers, mortgage broker, financial services companies including insurance companies and other members of the financial services industry. The Financial Integrity Pledge will revolutionize the financial services market and place financial consumers and members of the financial services industry on the same page. There are many components to a sound financial plan and standard guidelines are needed.
The Financial Integrity Pledge compels all members of the financial services industry to place The Financial Consumer’s Interests first to the best of their ability. Doctor’s have the Hippocratic Oath and The Financial Services Industry now has The Financial Integrity Pledge. Members of the Financial Services Industry pledge to act in accordance with these principles (click on each principle to learn more and find resources):
- The right to have your advisor act in your best interest: to the best of their ability. Keep in mind that some advisors are fiduciaries while others are not. Insurance agents are also not fiduciaries and are agents of the Insurance Company. An advisor’s recommendation should not be influenced by commissions, bonuses or other incentives (cash or non-cash). An advisor should not collect a fee and a commission from the same client for the same work.
- The right to receive customize service appropriate to your needs: Your potential financial needs needs should be reviewed for each type of financial product under consideration and take into account any existing financial products. Any new recommended products must fill a need (gap in your financial plan). Any replacement of an existing financial product must be carefully reviewed with all pros and cons considered and presented in writing to the consumer.
- The right to free choice: You have the right to receive multiple competitive options and to choose your advisor, product and company. Advisors, brokers, and companies must inform you in simple language of your options when you are opening a new financial account or buying a new financial product. Different types of products are available, and you have the right to know how each option affects your costs and for insurance, what your coverage would be in the event of a claim.
- The right to receive an answer to any question: You’re the buyer, you have the right to ask any question and to receive an answer. The answer should fully and completely address your question and/or concern in full and be understandable. If you don’t understand something, you as the buyer have a duty to ask questions, and if you still don’t understand, you shouldn’t buy that financial product.
- The right to pay a fair price (or premium): Full disclosure on how product costs along with how insurance policy premiums are calculated and the impact of different risk factors specific to the type of coverage proposed. Also, information should be provided on factors that may reduce or increase costs in the future.
- The right to be informed: – to receive complete and accurate information in writing – anything said or promised orally must be put in writing. This includes full information on any recommended financial service company including name, address, phone number and website.
- The right to be treated fairly and respectfully: To receive an answer to any question. This includes the right not to be pressured If there is a deadline, the reason must be presented. If an offer is too good to be true, then it most likely is too good to be true. Advisors and Companies should keep information private and confidential.
- The Right to Full Disclosure and Updates: to receive notice of any changes in any of your financial products in easy to understand language along with any relevant changes in the marketplace. All relevant information and disclosure requirements (required or not) on an financial product must be presented to the client. To receive in writing a summary of all surrender charges, length of surrender period and any additional costs for early termination. In any replacement situation, all pros and cons must be submitted in writing.
- The right to receive quality service and fair resolutions (including claims handling) – to have your needs and goals to be reviewed at any time upon request, whenever a major event would have an impact coverage and at least annually. To determine if changes have occurred with the client or in the marketplace that would dictate changes to the financial products in place. For insurance, this includes prompt assistance on any claims.
- The right to change or cancel a financial service and to be notified of any change: You have the right to change or cancel your financial product in a simple and easy way without any unreasonable restrictions or hassles, subject to the terms and conditions of the financial product or service. You should also be notified of any changes in writing within a timely manner.
*Please note that as a consumer, it is also strongly advised that you provide complete and accurate information to your agent and insurance company.
If you are a member of the financial services industry, you can take the Financial Integrity Pledge, click the I am a member of the Financial Services Industry button above to learn more and download your Financial Integrity Pledge Seal.
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