Impartial Advisors: Financial Advocates or Salespeople?

Peter Disch Financial Advocates or Salespeople?
Photo Courtesy: Peter Disch

Peter Disch, Founder of Great Point Wealth Advisors LLC in Boston, explains the benefits of working with independent, fee-only, financial advisors.

By: Maria Williams

Navigating personal finances can lead to confusion. The overwhelming volume of options combined with not having specialist knowledge makes the investment landscape a tricky road to travel alone. Whether it’s short-term goals or long-term planning, most people want to feel secure that they are making the right choices with their money.

This is where financial advisors step in. It is not quite as simple as that though. Most advisory firms have their own agenda, incentives, and goals. They will be part of a complex chain of financial products that gives the advisor commissions to recommend them. These relationships mean that clients are not given impartial advice, but rather the guidance that best suits the advisor.

Hailing from Boston, Peter Disch, Founder & Managing Member of Great Point Wealth Advisors LLC saw this conflict embedded in the industry and started his own firm to make a difference with fee-only financial advice. “We are true advocates for our clients,” he says. “We are not salespeople because our clients are the only ones paying us. We do not have sales incentives for particular financial products or commission-based models.”

Clients know they are being guided based on what is the right choice for them. Disch also believes that the client should be given all the information so they can make informed decisions and understand the reasons behind them. “Education is a really important part of the fiduciary duty in my opinion,” Disch says.

“Some advisors want to make it sound more complicated than it is,” Disch continues. “That is a self-serving mentality where they are trying to prove the worth of their advisory fees. I want my clients to really understand the bigger picture and feel confident in what their money is doing and why.”

This confidence extends to all areas of their life. When financials are under control, it is easier to handle other demands and anxieties that arise elsewhere. Disch is aware of the huge impact that fiscal security can have on mindset: “Mental health and wellness can be hugely affected by your financial stability.”

“So much misinformation circulates around personal finance and that creates doubt, which leads to anxiety. Anxiety can cause bad decisions, which perpetuates a terrible spiral.” Helping clients exit this spiral and create a bespoke plan that will set their minds at rest is a motivating factor for Disch in his chosen career.

Disch is a relatively young advisor but one who already has 22 years of experience in the field and won numerous awards. Recognized by Forbes as a Best in State Wealth Advisor since 2019 and named on its list of America’s Top Next Generation Wealth Advisors, the Connecticut native is renowned for simplifying the financial world for his clients.

Having worked in the industry for over two decades, Disch has seen many ways in which it operates. “There can be a tendency for advisors to want to keep things obscure so clients feel more dependent on them,” he says. “I consider it my responsibility to make the options as clear as possible so that clients feel empowered and confident in their choices.”

“We have basically removed 90% of the complicating factors and just focus on that smaller percentage of things that actually matter in personal finance. We don’t want any doubt in our clients’ minds and always talk everything through.” When the pandemic hit, Disch was personally guiding his clients through their options and recommending not to panic or react to the fluctuation. 

Because there is no internal incentive to recommend particular investment routes or products, the advisors at Great Point Wealth Advisors can provide truly impartial advice. If you are currently with an advisor who is pushing hard in one direction, it is worth asking about their commission policy or relationship with that product.

Risk tolerance is another thing that Great Point Wealth Advisors handles differently from others. 

“You have to match the risk of your investment to the timeframe of that specific expenditure,” says Disch. “Most people get that wrong. Your decisions for buying a house in two years vs your retirement plan should be treated very differently. We don’t want our clients to be puppets of the market so we plan carefully according to the end goal of those funds.”

People turn to financial advisors for all sorts of reasons. It may be for a retirement plan or to save up for a property or child’s college fund. “Everyone is unique,” says Disch. “We simply help our clients make the best decision for their situation and then implement those decisions on their behalf.”

To find out more about how Great Point Wealth Advisors LLC can help you manage your money in an impartial way with fee-only financial advice, visit their website.

Published by: Martin De Juan


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