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Fiduciary Duty

Fee-Only Advisors Monitoring Your Account & Keeping In Touch

The STEVE ROBBINS, CFP® team consists of independent, objective fiduciary investment advisors who accept no payment or economic benefit from any source other than client fees for professional service. Serving the Florissant, Hazelwood, St. Louis Missouri and surrounding areas, we take our commitment to protecting your interests most seriously. This is why we pay close attention to matters of account security and stay in constant communication to ensure you always know how your money is doing.

Steve and Song Outside

Fiduciary Advisor

For years, most advisors have been required to follow a simple suitability standard. This means they are only expected to make recommendations that are considered "suitable" for their clients. To put it bluntly, this allows advisors to give advice that is primarily in his or her best interest, and not the client's best interest, as long as that advice can still be technically considered "suitable."

But there's another, higher standard that some advisors hold to. It's called the fiduciary standard. Advisors who are fiduciaries must put their clients' interests before their own. Even if the advice an advisor gives is less good for the advisor, they must give it if that's what is best for the clients they serve.

In 2015, under proposed new rules by the Department of Labor, any financial advisor who provides advice pertaining to retirement savings, qualified plans, or IRAs would be classified as a fiduciary.(1) That means many advisors who previously followed the "suitability standard" had to make a major change in how they did business.  However, in March 2018, the DOL fiduciary rule was vacated by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Yet, the short-lived standard spurred the industry to lower fees and prompted brokerage firms to prune their product lineups and remove conflicts of interest from their compensation structures.(2)  These changes, hopefully, for the sake of investors, will outlive the rule.

So what does all of this mean for our firm? Absolutely nothing.

You see, my team and I have been following the fiduciary standard for years. We've always put our clients' interests first. There are three reasons for this. One, because we know the only way we can be successful is if our clients are successful. Second, because our greatest passion is helping people work toward their financial goals, and we believe acting as fiduciaries is the best way to do it. Third, and most importantly, we've always acted as fiduciaries because we believe it's just the right thing to do. So for us, it's business as usual. Regardless of what may or may not happen with a DOL fiduciary rule in the future, we don't expect to make any changes in how we take care of your retirement accounts, and we don't expect you to have to make any changes either.

For more information on suitability versus fiduciary standards, and for help determining if your advisor is a fiduciary, click here.

(1) Mark Cussen, "Proposed DoL Rules: How They'll Impact Financial Advisors," Investopedia, Link

(2) Barrons, "DOL Fiduciary Rule Has Changed the Game", 06.06.18

Safeguarding Your Investments

An important - and indelicate (so we'll ask it for you) - question is "how secure are my accounts?" "Who would have access to them?" STEVE ROBBINS, CFP® takes the security of client funds very seriously and has adopted a number of "check and balance" systems to protect you.


For instance, all client accounts are held - "custodian" - at major, independent third-party financial institutions, not at STEVE ROBBINS, CFP®Pershing, L.L.C. and Nationwide Advisory Solutions serve as our primary custodians. Transfers go directly to the custodial institution, and when you want money, checks are sent directly to you from the institution. All accounts are titled directly in your name. All checks are to be made out directly from you to the custodian institution - never to STEVE ROBBINS, CFP® or its personnel.


Likewise, we take the security of your personal, confidential information very seriously, and have a host of procedures to protect it, both in paper and electronic form. To view a copy of our company Privacy Principles detailing these procedures click here.

Ongoing Communication

We don't just tell you how much we care; we show you. Our fiduciary investment advisors encompass a deeply driven company obligation that you can feel. You receive in-depth quarterly statements that tell you exactly how your portfolio is performing. Online access to your account information is available daily through a secure user ID and password.

We touch base regularly (at least bi-weekly) via email to give you portfolio updates and invite you to call whenever you need help or have a question. We provide quarterly client update group meetings to review portfolio performance, holdings, and recent trades. These meetings also entail a discussion of current stock market and economic news and updates. Finally, we conduct personalized discussions with each client at least annually.

Steve Sitting

We believe trust is earned, not advertised. Our objective is to provide you with a quality of service and investment advice that is above and beyond your expectations.

Q: What happens if key personnel die or retire?

A: As part of our required business continuity and disaster recovery plan, we have written systems in place for continued management of your portfolios in the event of the loss of one or more key personnel. Although our internal office entails a staff of six full-time team members, we are supported by outside parties in order to ensure continuous monitoring and management of your investments in the event of a disaster or death. All STEVE ROBBINS, CFP® managed accounts are custodied at Pershing, L.L.C. or Nationwide Advisory Solutions, and are titled directly in the names or trusts of our clients. As such, your accounts would remain at these custodians in your name.

Pershing, L.L.C. is the industry's largest global business solutions provider, with more customers who clear with them than any other firm. For more information about Pershing, L.L.C. click here. Nationwide Advisory Solutions began as Jefferson National Life Insurance Company.  Founded in 1937, Jefferson National is a recognized innovator of tax-deferred investing solutions for Registered Investment Advisors, fee-based advisors, and their clients. For more information about Nationwide Advisory solutions, click here.

In addition to account custodians, through our association with Envestnet Asset Management, Inc., your accounts remain accessible via online account viewing, continued daily account aggregation, transaction and cost basis reporting. Envestnet is one of the largest providers of wealth management solutions in the financial industry. For more information about Envestnet, click here.

Steve Robbins is a Registered Investment Advisor of STEVE ROBBINS, CFP®.  He maintains the ongoing educational and ethical qualifications associated with the Certified Financial Planner™ Professional designations.  Samantha Robbins is a Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional™  and responsible for assisting with research, monitoring, management and placing trades for all client accounts. All staff is well-versed in the methodology, resources, and research tools used to manage and make trade decisions on client portfolios. All personnel is familiar with the activities involved in running our firm and providing services to our existing clients. The loss of any one or two of us could be handled by the remaining staff, albeit with some outside assistance from the aforementioned institutions we are associated with. Our systems are designed to avoid disruption of our ability to continuously deliver results and service to our clients. Our policies and procedures are in place to engender continuity of service, excellence, and the firm's dedication to its values and your needs and goals.

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