CIFA: Laura’s Study Group

Although it is a robust field today, the financial advisory business was a new frontier in the 1980's.   The business was dominated by broker-dealers who sold high-fee and sometimes unsuitable investments, and their business models compensated accordingly.   Laura, one of the first to enter the fee-only fiduciary side of the business, set out to find like-minded investment advisors who she could lean on and learn from.

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History of CIFA

CIFA (Council of Independent Financial Advisors) members all provide advice to their clients through a fee-only model (no incentives for selling products!) and are true fiduciaries who hold their clients’ interests above their own.  Twenty-five years later, CIFA continues to thrive with 11 active “first generation” members and has since introduced the “second generation” firm members to the cohort of entrepreneurial and innovative advisors.

Laura and the other group members meet on an annual basis in a formal (but fun!) setting which varies from year-to-year.  The most recent meeting was held in the “Mile High City” of Denver, where the topics ranged from investment strategies to operational efficiency.  The group is diverse in terms of geographic location, investment style and range of services.

Members are spread across the U.S., from Maryland to Michigan to New Mexico and Seattle.  Some of the participating firms offer more holistic services including wealth management, tax and estate planning and in-house investment management (such as Tarbox!) while others focus solely on investments.  The sizes of the firms range in both assets and personnel, but a common principle is upheld throughout: fiduciary responsibility to the client.

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