Is What I Tell My Financial Advisor Confidential?

Is What I Tell My Financial Advisor Confidential?

We recently helped a client with an exciting life transition.

Let’s call her Jane.

After decades of hard work, Jane sold her company and went from maxing out credit cards to having life-changing wealth.

Wanting to be smart with this newfound wealth, she came to us for help to ensure she was making the best possible choices for her family’s financial goals.

Financial advisor confidentiality

As the client’s financial planners, our job was to help her organize and optimize her newfound wealth.

We did more than recommend she invest his wealth into low-cost index funds. We also spent time working to understand her goals, values, and dreams.

Combining this information with our financial planning experience, we strategized how to use her new wealth to live a fulfilled life.

Interestingly enough, one of Jane’s top concerns was client-advisor confidentiality.

The company buyout was an incredibly exciting time for her, but it was also nerve-racking.

When Jane came to us, the details of the buyout were still inside information. She wanted to make sure the news of the buyout stayed out of the public eye until the appropriate time; she wanted to ensure what he discussed with us was kept confidential.

This begs the question:

“Is what you discuss with a financial planner confidential?”

Financial Planning Client Confidentiality

When it comes to whether or not client-advisor confidentiality exists, the answer is: It depends.

Unlike lawyers, financial advisors do not have an attorney-client privilege. This means that what is discussed between a lawyer and their client may be kept private.

For financial planners, client confidentiality is similar – but different.

For the most part, everything discussed with our clients must be kept confidential. This is because client confidentially is a requirement of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Professionals.

(Note: Tyler Aubrey and I are both CFP® professionals.)

Of course, there are exceptions for CFP® Board imposed client confidentiality – such as in response to a proper legal process. If you’re interested in when you can’t expect confidentiality from your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Professional, you can read the Code of Ethics here.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Professional Client Confidentiality

Jane’s company buyout didn’t check any of the boxes for an exception to client confidentiality under the CFP® Board Standards of Professional Conduct.

So, when she asked us about client confidentially, we let her know about those very standards. And with that, she was able to rest assured that the details of her company buyout would stay between her and our team of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Professionals.

Because of the trust established by our professional client confidentiality, Jane was able to spend time dreaming about the next phase of his life: starting a new company.

For some (this client included) work is a passion; true entrepreneurs can never really quit building and creating. We can definitely understand that.

In the end, it was our privilege to help our client organize her wealth and make a solid plan for his future – all confidentially, of course.