Principle 1 – Integrity

A family advisor shall offer and provide professional services with integrity.

Family advisors hold positions of trust and confidence. In deciding what is right and just, advisors should rely on their integrity. Integrity demands honesty and candor, which must not be subordinated to personal gain and advantage. Within the characteristic of integrity, allowance can be made for innocent error and legitimate difference of opinion, but integrity cannot co-exist with deceit or subordination of one’s principles. Integrity requires advisors to observe not only the letter but also the spirit of this and other professional codes to which they may be subject.

Principle 2 – Objectivity

A family advisor shall be objective in providing professional services.

Objectivity requires intellectual honesty and impartiality. Regardless of the particular service rendered or the capacity in which a family advisor serves, the advisor should protect the integrity of his or her work, maintain objectivity, and avoid subordination of his or her judgment that would be in violation of this Code.

Principle 3 – Fairness
A family advisor shall perform professional services in a manner that is fair and reasonable and shall disclose conflicts of interest in providing such services
.  Fairness requires impartiality, intellectual honesty, and disclosure of conflicts. It involves subordination of one’s own feelings, prejudices, and desires so as to achieve a proper balance of conflicting interests.

Principle 4 – Competence

A family advisor shall provide services competently and maintain the necessary knowledge and skill to continue to do so in those areas in which the advisor is engaged.

One is competent only when he or she has attained and maintained an adequate level of knowledge and skill, and applies that knowledge effectively in providing services to clients. Competence includes the wisdom to recognize the limitations of professional knowledge and when consultation with or referral to another advisor is appropriate. Family advisors must have a continuing commitment to learning and professional improvement.

Principle 5 – Confidentiality

A family advisor shall not disclose any confidential client information without the specific consent of the client unless in response to proper legal process or to defend against charges of wrongdoing.

The family has relationships of personal trust and confidence with its advisors. The family considers all information about its affairs to be confidential. Advisors shall safeguard the confidentiality of such information.

Principle 6 – Professionalism

A family advisor’s conduct shall reflect credit on his or her profession.

Family advisors have the responsibility to act with dignity and courtesy to family members and fellow advisors. They have a duty to collaborate so that the family receives the highest quality service. In addition and generally, family advisors have an obligation to cooperate with other members of their professions to enhance and maintain that profession’s public image and to improve its quality of service.

Principle 7 – Diligence

A family advisor shall act diligently in providing services.

Diligence is the provision of service in a reasonably prompt, thorough and effective manner. It includes proper planning for and supervision of the rendering of professional services.

Principle 8 – Care

A family advisor shall act with care in providing services.

Care requires prudence, deliberation, and a judicious approach in all actions involved in providing service. It includes the highest duty to protect and preserve family property. The exercise of care involves kindness, sensitivity, and empathy—all leading to the most humane treatment of family members.

Our Fiduciary Code. (PDF)

My personal thanks to Jeffrey Lauterbach for allowing us to use the Fiduciary Code that he developed with great care.