Financial Planning

Financial Planning: A Fiduciary Business®

How does a financial planner add value in a Family Office? While there are certainly many elements of “hard science”, a large part of financial planning depends on other factors – getting to know each client and being able to clearly articulate their goals and needs.

The relationship between a financial advisor and a prospective client should start with a comprehensive meeting aimed at developing the foundation of a well-honed initial plan. This should include an explanation of how fiduciary principles will be employed. The goal is to help organize, streamline and simplify the complex details of the overall financial picture. No one should expect a dollar to be invested until the advisor really gets to know the situation and objectives.

The process isn’t complete after that first meeting. It typically takes a series of conversations to understand how various factors – taxes, estate planning, cash flow – will impact the financial plan and investment portfolio. In many cases, it’s the first time a client is pivoting from working FOR their money to a situation where their money is working for THEM, and that may require a change of world view.

After the second meeting, the advisor should be able to lay out a roadmap, a combination of data and assessment of the client’s needs. Understanding factors such as risk tolerance will come into play. After running models and analyzing the data, the roadmap should be fairly complete – but the job doesn’t end there.

By quantifying the “Magic Number” that can provide financial independence for the client, it quickly becomes apparent if they will need to continue generating income. This helps guide discussions around investing, estate planning, wealth transfer and charitable bequests.

The advice provided at this point should remain objective, with no incentives towards any particular products. One hallmark of a Fiduciary Business® is that financial planning strategies themselves are NOT for sale. An advisor should not receive fees for implementing strategies such as an elaborate estate plan or life insurance product. This ties directly into True Fiduciary® standards which focus squarely on transparency and place clients’ interests first.

As life happens, the financial planner and team of specialists continue to work directly with the client, combining resources and being “detail-fanatics”, dotting “I’s” and crossing “T’s” such as titling assets to honor an estate plan and providing regular beneficiary reviews. With comprehensive services for planning, investment, tax, legal, family governance, and lifestyle – all under one umbrella – the Family Office team can strive to streamline not just finances, but the lives of the families involved.


PagnatoKarp specializes in Intelligent Wealth Management™ for CEO Founders, entrepreneurs, wealth creators and ultra-high-net-worth families. With True Fiduciary® standards of transparency, your interests come first with a focus on asset protection, cash flow, and opportunities. PagnatoKarp’s goal is to simplify and elevate your life so you have more time to spend on what matters to you most.