As parents of college-bound students, you know that higher education comes with not just academic…
A client recently asked me if MCPT has any special requirements that determine the types of financial products that are offered to our clients and if our financial advisors are required to sign-off on a particular code of ethics. He also asked how I decide on which financial advisors to recommend to a client. These are all excellent questions.
Financial Products/Financial Planning
Let me begin by saying that I or others on my college funding strategies team do not recommend any particular financial products to clients. Our job is to identify the strategies that can be used to reduce the cost of college, not to implement financial solutions. Financial products are only recommended by licensed professionals with broad experience in this arena. The members of our financial team, of course, are fully licensed to offer the entire range of financial products from 529s, Coverdells, Mutual Funds, Stocks, Bonds, ETFs, IRAs, Roths, Insurance, Annuities, REITS, and other options.
MCPT expects all of its financial advisors to consider every aspect of a client’s financial life–including savings, investments, insurance, taxes, and retirement planning. We also expect them to work with you to develop a detailed strategy to meet all of your financial goals.
Putting Financial Solutions in the Context of College Planning
Developing a proper financial strategy also requires that our advisors understand all of the strategies that can be used to reduce college costs. What may be sound tax advice can be disastrous for college funding and hurt your chances for receiving financial aid. Accordingly, all of our financial advisors are required to have the requisite knowledge of college funding or to partner with college funding strategist on the team who does. We want to make sure no stone is left unturned to help each client reduce college costs.
Code of Ethics
The reason we don’t require our financial advisors to sign off on a separate code of ethics, is because they are already bound by their own ethical codes which are required by their own supervisory agencies. Many of our advisors, for example, work under the authority of FINRA and are governed by a very strict code of ethics which even requires that the blogs they write be reviewed by their compliance officers before they can be published. We also have advisors who are required by law to act in a fiduciary capacity which requires them to act in the client’s interest.
Making the Appropriate Referral
Client referrals by me or other college funding strategists on our intake team are based on the client’s financial profile. More than half of our clients are referred to a credentialed financial professional such as a CPA, CFA, or CFP. Others are sent to sent to advisors who are best suited to them, based on a variety of factors. We also expect that all of our financial partners will recommend financial solutions that our clients will both reduce risk and optimize returns on their college savings and/or retirement portfolios. We feel it is especially important that neither college savings accounts or retirement accounts should put our client’s financial future at risk.
Feedback is Critical
Finally, we always invite your feedback on the advisors to whom we assign to your case. On the rare occasion that you are uncomfortable with the advisor we assign to you or do not feel the advisor understand your needs, it’s important to let us know. We are always happy to refer you to another advisor.
Let’s connect and work together on helping you reduce the cost of college for your children’s college education.