Recently, the U. S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new rule requiring just about every professional who deals with retail investors to adhere to a fiduciary standard of practice. A fiduciary standard requires the professional to only provide advice that is in the best interest of the investor, regardless of how the person giving the advice may be compensated. While you would think financial advisors would already be adhering to such a rule, the reality before this rule was that securities brokers and representatives of products for which a sales commission was paid to the financial advisor only had to use a "suitability" standard for their advice -- in other words, the sale could be justified based upon a less stringent evaluation of the investor's needs or desires.
This new DOL rule requires no real change to your relationship with Stout Bowman, as we are Registered Investment Advisors, not brokers, and have adhered to the fiduciary standard from Day One. Therefore, if you hear on the news about any turmoil in the financial service industry as a result of this new DOL ruling, rest assured that they didn't need that rule to force us to put your best interest first: we've been doing that all along. If you are interested in a more detailed explanation of the new rules, investopedia.com has a good article on their impact.