My career in financial services began 15 years ago, first as a practicing CPA focusing on high net worth individuals and business owners. Eventually I found my true calling as a financial advisor, wealth manager, financial planner, and often found myself as a sounding board for my clients seeking a wide-ranging advice regardless of the client’s situation. In 2016, I started the first Panama City and Bay County area fee only fiduciary wealth management and investment advisory firm, Shoreline Partners Wealth Management, LLC. The genesis for this was quite simple: my whole career I had always undertaken actions and recommendations that were in the best interest of my clients and why should I (or any investment professional) not be held to the fiduciary standard of care when managing assets and making investment recommendations.

As a fiduciary, we maintain a responsibility to solely act in our clients’ best interests always and under all circumstances. We are required to reveal any conflict of interest that impacts our decision-making process when serving our clients. There are a myriad number of Panama City financial advisors, wealth managers or financial planners, but none that serve as a fiduciary 100% of the time to their clients. Some of the professionals are “fee-based” advisors, a term which has confused many investors. Fee-based advisors can sell products and manage the assets of their clients.  The advisor sells products, which often lends to the collection of a large and often undisclosed commission, and still simultaneously manages client assets. The most common areas are life insurance and annuities. Just ask your current advisor if she or he is a fiduciary 100% of the time; odds are they are not, nor can they claim to be.  I have personally witnessed advisors taking a SIX figure commission on annuity products without any disclosure to their client.

Many individuals looking for a Panama City wealth manager and investment advisor or a Panama City financial planner are rarely familiar with a fee-only fiduciary Registered Investment Advisors (“RIA”) as none have historically existed.  Like all true fee-only fiduciary wealth management firms, we sell no products, accept no commissions from any source, have no personal interest in any proprietary funds, and fully disclose all costs of investing. Shoreline Partners Wealth Management, LLC works solely for our clients and only for their best interest. Period.

If you are considering hiring a financial advisor, wealth manager, or other investment professional there are two questions you should first ask: “Are you fee-only?” and “Are you a Fiduciary?” If the answer is “Yes” to both questions, you should then conduct thorough due diligence on the individual(s) and the firm, as well as their clearing firm. Another factor to consider is the stage of career the investment professional is in; it is most prudent to seek an advisor who will be there to see you through your career and through your retirement.  This is a touchy subject, but one factor that cannot be ignored.