Calling Fee-Based Financial Advisors


I want to profile (and encourage business for) financial advisors acting as true fiduciaries to their clients.


It’s extremely profitable for advisors to sell variable annuity products or actively managed mutual funds with sales commissions or deferred sales loads.

But the good men and women who act as true financial fiduciaries don’t sell those products.  And they deserve to be recognized.

If you fit the bill, I want to hear from you.

If you build:

  • passive (indexed) portfolios for clients and 
  • charge a 1% annual fee or less,

I want to interview you in a series titled, Financial Advisors With A Conscience.  I’ll also make your profile easily accessible on my homepage. 

If you fit the bill, please get in contact from my contact page with your name, firm’s name, web site address and I’ll contact you. 

Don’t be shy.  You deserve to be recognized.  And people want to find you!

Cheers, Andrew


andrew hallam

andrew hallam

I'm a freelance finance writer, lucky enough to have been nominated as a finalist for two Canadian National Publishing Awards. I'm also the author of Millionaire Teacher: The Nine Rules of Wealth You Should Have Learned in School, a book explaining how I became a millionaire on a teacher's salary, while still in my 30s. Working to empower people financially, I'm available to motivate and inspire people on basic retirement planning and index investing. I'm happy to comment on your questions, first, please read the Terms of Use.

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66 Responses

  1. Barry says:

    Hi Andrew

    I'll have to have a look around, but there used to be a guy in our nick of the woods Travis Morien who posted on the Bogle Forums also.

    His old web-site and FAQ was a veritable font of information

    Fee Based seems to be the way things are going in Australia


  2. For Canadians I can recommend Garth Turner while he's best known as Canada's best known housing bear he is also a very good investment adviser. I've met him personally and like his take on investing. While his blog is mostly focused on the coming Canadian housing meltdown he does talk enough about investing to show he knows what he's doing.

    Generally speaking if you have less than 500,000 in liquid assets it's probably not worth seeing him.

    Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions

    • Thanks Rob,

      Does Garth build portfolios of passive funds and are they diversified? If you feel he does so for less than 1% per year, and if you feel that he isn't a market timer, I will give him a shout.

  3. ACMZ says:

    HI Andrew,

    Just wondering how Harry is doing with his account. From what I remember he was taking some of the capital out to keep a small plane flying. His wife was still working at the time and therefore had a revenue coming in. Just curious.



  4. Barry says:

    From the website

    "Australian Independent Financial Advisers operates on a 100% fee for service basis, avoiding or rebating commissions to clients.

    The fee is a fixed pre-determined amount or an hourly rate. The cost of the advice will be proportional to the skill and knowledge required for the type of work, the degree of responsibility applicable to the work and the time required to prepare your Statement of Advice"

    See also some index investing articles here


  5. Aram Durphy says:

    Hello Andrew,

    I'm not sure my business qualifies, but thought you might be interested. I have a buy-and-hold strategy with a diversified value based approach to individual stocks and bonds. I'm fee-only. I charge on a sliding scale starting at 1.4% and on down.



    • Thanks for asking Aram,

      Your fee-based structure is certainly one of the better ones.

      I'm looking for fee-based advisors charging 1% or less, who use a globally diversified, passive approach. Such an approach has higher odds of success and greater diversification than a portfolio selected by an individual stock picker.



  6. Walker says:

    I know Rick Ferri, who posts frequently on the Bogleheads forums runs an operation called "Portfolio Solutions" that charges something like 0.25% but I'm pretty sure it's only available (or at least worth it) for high net worth clients.

    I would be interested to see if there are any advisors out there who charge that low of a fee for people with much less than the typical $500,000 minimum or so that most places seem to require. I guess for them, it's probably a lot better to get some sound advice (maybe charged hourly?) and then once they find out how simple things can be just set it up for themselves.

  7. The SPY Surfer says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I manage my own money and share my method on the net for free.

    It's here

    It's based on six global, low-correlated asset classes, including cash.

    Not sure it fits the bill though I thought you might be interested…

    Happy 2013!



  8. stock trading says:

    I don't think Financial advisers should get paid a fee, they should only work off ccommision. Pay for performance

  9. PJ says:

    Andrew Great Blog, Great Book

    UK national based in Myanmar (posted under the British Expat section).

    I am just about to kick start my balanced index portfolio under the guidance of Robert Wasilewski.

    Excellent !!! even though I had to get up at 5am due to the time difference but well worth the effort. He has really helped clear the mist all very transparent… provided me with great direction and will check in on me as I need it.

    Highly reccomend his services: WEB:, BLOG:

    PS: this is not one of those "TripAdvisor" Hotel owner posing as a guest…. 😉

    I can highly reccomend him contact me directly if you would like to confirm [email protected]

  10. Brett Evans says:

    Hi Andrew,

    we certainly fit the bill. Feel free to have a look at our website and to contact me.



    • Hi Brett,

      I searched your website for indication that you use a passive platform, but found this instead:

      “By filtering the research we are able to get a concise view of what the markets opinions are and then decipher what the most pertinent research is.”

      Passive strategies involve using and rebalancing broad based indexes. Such strategists don’t look for or utilize market opinions.



      • Brett Evans says:

        Hi Andrew,

        Thanks, for your reply. We actually use the research for our macro asset allocation more so than actual stock picking e.g. What percentage of iShares S&P500 to allocate to our clients portfolios rather than trying to work out whether to buy Apple or Caterpillar.

        We find that by being able to draw on global research and feedback even though we are Australian based we are able to make a more informed decision for our clients.

        Kind regards,


  11. Mike Finley says:

    What I do is a bit different, Andrew, but it might be of interest to you. I am retired and I currently teach financial literacy at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I started a club there to inform the next generation how make wise choices with their money. I use my website to further that education and I am currently followed in 8 countries and most of the United States. Rather than making money off the average person, I give money to the average person. This makes me “crazy,” but I know it makes me happy as I share this valuable message with others. Keep up the good work. I really enjoyed your book and I recommend it often, especially to the future teachers that I speak to. Long live financial literacy!

    • This is fantastic Mike. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. Please send me a link to your site!


      • Mike Finley says:

        My website is: . You will notice on my recommended reading list the name of your book. Keep up the good work. As I speak to future teachers, your message and your book continues to inspire them. They refuse to be “poor” just because they are choosing the field of teaching. Give me a call if you are so inclined. 580-483-5811

  12. Raymond says:

    Hi Andrew, I do agree with you that fees and charges have a great impact on returns in the long run. However, regarding the performance of local (SG)mutual funds/unit trusts, I'm not really sure if the majority really under performs the indices, cause most of the related studies on this matter are based in the US. This is because it is not hard to find one that beats the index from the performance charts (bid to bid). An example is the Aberdeen Singapore Equity Fund. The only other charge involved is the one time sales charge of around 1% if you buy through a distributor like dollardex. What are your views on this?

    • Most of the active funds in Singapore (as my book shows examples of) have under-performed the market Raymond. The Aberdeen Singapore Fund has an expense ratio charge AND a 1% sales fee, so it's more expensive than most active funds in the U.S.

      This is how it works in every market Raymond:

      1. The collective return of all active investors will average (as they must) the market return

      2. By that, half of professionally managed money will outperform the market, half will under-perform it, because they represent the market

      3. After fees, more than half fall under the wire–as they must, because before fees, the average professional investor will equal the market

      This is the result in every market, during every five to ten year period, always. Just like gravity, it's an unavoidable reality.



  13. Jamie Montpellier says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Wow! What a great book you've written! I am a former business student, mutual fund representative turned high school teacher ten years ago and I must say your means to deliver a great message to high school students is formidable.

    I have since purchased my own e-series funds and dumped a very expensive/costly actively managed fund which was put together by a so-called great advisor. I wanted to pick your brain about a future transaction I wish to undertake. Like everyone else, I'm looking to purchase a home here in Canada and I'm putting a way a down payment which currently resides in a TFSA savings account. I know I'm basically at the mercy of inflation earning a whopping 0.1% but I wanted to know if you would consider TDCanadian Bond Index too volatile to nest a mortgage down payment with a possible horizon of 1-2 years.



  14. Mike,

    It's so great to hear about what you're doing. I'm sure you're finding the greatest reward of all comes from the people you're helping. It's great to know that there are guys out there like you.



  15. Andrew – We'd love to be interviewed as part of the "Financial Advisors with a Conscience" over at FutureAdvisor. (

    FutureAdvisor is an online investment advisor that builds diversified, low-fee index fund portfolios for clients, and helps with rebalancing and keeping on track over the long-term.

    Clients get free advice by connecting their 401k and brokerage accounts for analysis – our algorithm identifies high fee funds to be replaced, and recommends buys and sells to get to their personal asset allocation. Our premium service, which is the same flat fee of $16/mo for everyone, makes the trades to enact the recommendations automatically, and watches the portfolio to rebalance and invest new cash as necessary.

    FutureAdvisor founder Bo Lu is the go-to guy for interviews around here – you can reach him at: [email protected]



  16. Andrew says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Your book has been inspirational in guiding me as I begin to invest. Thank you.

    Can you recommend any financial advisors in Singapore that follow your books principles and can work with Canadian expatriates living in Singapore?

    Thanks for your time.



  17. Steven J Fromm says:

    Andrew, you are doing a great service in raising this issue. There is obviously a built in conflict of interest here. There are very few fee only planners or those interested in the client first and foremost. Great post.

  18. rabidfool says:

    Are there such advisors in Singapore? Would love to work with one. I have a full time job and have bought investment-linked policies (ILPs) via AIA in the past. Totally not happy with the performance of these ILPs but stuck with them because I haven’t found a better option.

  19. Matt says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I’m also after any such advisors in Singapore you could recommend. I met up with one last week and told him about my direction in following a passive investment style and he basically told me that in that case he doesn’t think we should work together!


  20. Tuula says:

    Hi Andrew!
    Do you have a list of these fee-based financial advisers you would recommend somewhere? I’m trying to find one from Singapore. I noticed you mentioned doing profile interviews with some.

  21. Mark Hebner says:

    We have been fiduciaries for wealth since 1999. Check us out at and see our videos at Enjoy, Mark

    • Thank you Mark,

      I’m actually giving a presentation to overseas Americans this Thursday, and will be mentioning your firm. Likewise, I’ll be explaining your firm (among a few others) in my upcoming book on Investing for Expatriates. You’re providing a service that many American expats could surely use!

      Thanks again Mark!


  22. Michael says:

    Hi Andrew,
    Many thanks for your great book, as a matter of fact it has encouraged me to read and learn more in the area of financial investments.

    Having worked in Singapore for some time I was willing to do “something” with the money earned here before moving further to Australia.
    So I’ve come up with an idea to invest in corporate bonds (such as Skandia EB) for a period of 5-10 years, also partly to avoid paying high CGT Down Under (as long as bond is not encashed when I am in Australia). I’ve considered such investment as rather safe and not requiring any activity from my side.
    I would have actually invested in bonds but… (so called) professional financial advisers prevented me from doing so! Most of their recommendations were pretty straightforward, they wanted me to go for ILPs (Generali, Standard Life, Zurich, Prudential to name a few) locking me in for 25 years into a fairly expensive product together with horrendous surrender fee.
    I’ve been trying to find a fee based investment adviser who could also help with taxation aspect of investing (tax efficient investing is Singapore by Australian tax resident), but I drew a blank.

    Today I tried to setup a DBS Vickers account but I failed in that area as well, I did not meet the “wholesale client” criteria (have they introduced it recently?) as it is required for Australian residents (current and future) to setup such trading account at DBS.

    So I will try (recommended) Standard Chartered soon, if it does not work as well, I might end up with transferring cash from Singapore to Australia, just to set up a trading account in Australia which is probably not the best idea.

    May I have your thoughts on that?
    Many thanks!


  23. Rich says:


    Don’t know if you are still doing these interviews, but if so, I’d love to introduce you to We are a new entrant in the “robo-advisor” space. In many ways, we have similarities to FutureAdvisor who posted here earlier, but Wealthminder also have some important differences that I’d love to highlight.


    • Thanks for contacting me Rich. I would love to continue this series. But I have a pressing book deadline to meet first. After that, I will contact you, if that’s OK.


  24. Sendhil says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Loved, loved, loved your book! I recommend it to a lot of my friends and am shocked how much I wasted the last few years on traditional mutual funds.

    Question for you, what are your thoughts on services like WealthFront and Betterment? They aren’t fee based but they seem to charge a very small percentage compared to traditional services.



  25. Joe says:

    Hi Andrew,
    How are you? I hope life is treating you well nowadays.

    We traded emails last spring regarding organizations that might be willing to take on my school as a client. Despite the logic of going with AssetBuilder, the powers that be will only consider an organization that meets very specific reporting and coverage guidelines. The biggest sticking point is that we need to find a company that covers Americans, Brits, and Canadians, which AssetBuilder cannot do right now. In addition, the school also won’t consider its matching policy with money going directly to the employees themselves because then it would be considered “salary” and not “benefits” by US tax standards.

    Have you found anyone who works with people in Eastern Europe who meet the criteria you set? I have contacted some of the people mentioned on your site, but they seem to only work with Americans or people in Asia. If you have any leads, please let me know. Thanks.

    Have a great day,

    • Hi Joe,

      You won’t likely find a single, low cost firm that deals with both Americans and non-Americans. Alexander Beard does (see my latest post) but their fees are high. For non-Americans, consider contacting Veracity. They’re based on Singapore but could likely set something up for you. For Americans, I’m very surprised they won’t go with AssetBuilder. Your employer is looking at the wrong kind of guidelines. Lara Yates, at Raymond James, will build portfolios of index funds for wrap fees of 1% per year. But investors will need a minimum of $25,0000 to start. I wish you luck…especially with educating your administration. Any chance you could give them a copy of my latest book? I hope you can open their eyes.


  26. Allan Kerr says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Interesting and this type of education should help improve the market. I’m an investment advisor based in KL who has been trying to get the right balance…we need to be able to make a reasonable living but the client has to get value. If you go too low in cost then you need high levels of volume which doesn’t necessarily work when you are trying to work with individuals…clients like to think you are at least thinking of them individually to some degree.

    I’m not sure if it fits in with your definitions of ‘passive’ but I can explain just in case.

    I use a single product based out of Guernsey and the key features are:

    0% entry fee to the platform
    0% exit fee from the platform (at any time)
    200+ mutual funds for clients to choose from (+growing)
    All funds have 0% entry & 0% exit fees
    All funds must trade daily and be Luxembourg SICAVS to be included…so no Cayman Islands, 1 month redemptions etc.
    Zero annual admin fees in terms of fixed costs.
    Zero cost for switching within the platform…bid to bid with no bank transfer fees etc.


    0.5% p.a. platform fees (based on current portfolio value) – DIY (do it yourself)
    0.8% p.a. platform fees (based on current portfolio value) – Managed on a model basis by currency and risk profile
    1.2% p.a. platform fees (based on current portfolio value) – Personal management – Model basis + tactical decisions + adviser meetings etc.

    The ‘model basis’ works around asset allocation models with very few tactical decisions…the 1.2% version allows the client and advisor to make tactical decisions if they like.

    But….ETF’s etc. are not included in the fund choice, it is mutual funds only….I am currently trying to find an offshore platform that is reliable and cost effective that would let me use ETF’s, but it’s not easy.

    Another few points if I could, looking at things from the ‘other-side’

    – I find it incredibly frustrating how many potential investors want to be charmed, taken out for free drinks or accommodated in other ways in exchange for their business….it would really help if ‘everyone’ stopped playing the ‘game’.

    – If an insurance company was genuinely ‘giving away’ an extra 20% bonus then it would be headline news on CNN….but too many potential investors have trouble seeing beyond the ‘headlines’, even though they must know it can’t be true….greed perhaps?



  27. Matt says:

    Hi Andrew,

    Have you had any interaction with Wilfred Ling (CFA, ChFC) in Singapore at all? He is fee-based and his rates look quite reasonable (hourly).

    He seems to be quite aligned with passive investing from what I read on his site, also offers other complimentary financial services (estate planning, insurance, etc).

    The only downside is that it looks as though he prefers to work with Singaporean Citizens and PR’s.

    He also doesn’t also seem to be particularly vocal about any particular style of investment or what to avoid from an ex-pat point of view, although he does discuss ILP’s and how the sales tactics of many companies still greatly affect a lot of unwary people.

    Anyway, I might reach out to him for his Will writing advice, looks quite okay from I can see.


  28. C. Wimpey says:

    Hi Andrew – Following your visit to Western Academy of Beijing, last month, one of my colleagues investigated Thun Financial Advisors in Wisconsin They state that they are fee-based and their clients are American expatriates. Their information (online) aligns very closely with your books and presentation. Do you have any experience with them? Thoughts?
    Thanks – C. Wimpey

  29. Joe George says:

    Hi all,
    C. Wimpey, I traded emails with a rep from Thun Financial, and although they might be the best thing since sliced bread, they won’t deal with most of us. Here is the most pertinent portion for the average client:

    “[The] majority of our clients are individuals. In this respect, it is important to note that we provide a highly customized approach to each individual client. Therefore, we in general do not work with individuals with less than $500,000 of investible assets. We do not provide a platform for individuals to pick their own investments from a menu of funds. We work closely with clients to develop unique investment strategy focused on cost efficiency, tax efficiency and thorough diversification. So that does not confirm with what you may be imagining in terms of typical pension provider.”

    I hope this helps some of you.

    • C. Wimpey says:

      Thanks for the personal info re Thun, Joe. I also communicated with them and they explained that they do not do fee-only financial advising on a one-off basis. They are interested in advising clients on a long-term basis. They do provide a lot of important expat planning services, such as advising on wills and trusts, so I think they would work for those with a large amount of capital and who want a one-stop shopping approach to investment management.

      Even if you don’t use their face to face services, I recommend reading and/or downloading their info from their “Research” section of their website. In particular, their advice for estate planning is excellent – see it, here – International Estate Planning for Cross Border Families – See more at:


  30. Tricia says:

    Any fiduciaries in Dubai? I just stumbled upon this blog and it’s an eye opener! Dubai is teeming with ‘advisors’ that sell Zurich/FPI/Generali to the largely expat population. I have fallen hard for the sales pitch as I have invested alllll my money in these funds – need an exit plan and quick!. Would love to hear from a fiduciary from this part of the world as I am sure there are several others like me. Would love to hear back soon

    • Hi Tricia,

      I’m terribly sorry that you fell for one of these offshore pensions. You may be able to pull some of your money out, penalty free. But most of it will likely have to stay, if you want to avoid the massive penalties. Unfortunately, when asking about fiduciaries in the middle east, you’re seeking angels in hell. It’s a cesspool for the crooked. I am not aware of any financial fiduciaries there. That said, you may not need one if you follow the methods in my expat book. As for your money with Friends Provident (if that’s who you invested with) this post might help.

  31. Darien says:

    Hi Tricia,

    Been there, done that. I’m based in Dubai and have gotten out of these products.
    There are regulated fund advisors in DIFC who are heavily regulated. However, they will likely push Mutual Funds on you.

    Buy the book and go it alone. More rewarding and you keep more of your cash for yourself.

    Best of luck.

  32. Tricia says:

    Thanks Darien. I will buy the book although my pressing concern is assistance in evaluating my current plans and exiting or not. Any recommendations?

    I also just bought the Tony Robbins Master the game book and it’s great, he quotes the same people Hallam mentions, but the content is only geared for America and Americans. I do hope this book has more ‘global’ context so I can put to proper use

  33. Tricia says:

    Andrew, thank you so much for responding. I have emailed your 14 page pdf to all my friends – it immensely helpful!
    I have two questions. Any thoughts on AES International based in Dubai (they invest via Nedbank for 0.85 % +USD750 annual fee).
    Secondly, your blog or book does not specifically mention investing or advisors in the Indian markets. NRIs (Non resident Indians) are the biggest expat community globally and I am desperately seeking advice on investment vehicles/fiduciaries. A lot of your resources are great for American/British/Australian investors but I want to look at investing in my home currency/market. Any resources you can point me toward please? We need your expert unbiased help please :)

    • Hi Tricia,

      My book does deal specifically with Indian investors living abroad in Chapter 22. On pages 282 and 283, I gave an example of Indian national Shabari Karumbaya. I show exactly how she built a low cost portfolio of exchange traded index funds. I’m going to tease you for not reading carefully!

      As for the firm you mentioned. This fee of 0.85% would be reasonable under 3 mandatory conditions:

      1. You can sell at anytime, without any penalty
      2. The funds they select are low cost indexes only, costing no more than 0.2% per year.
      3. And…heck, that $750 annual fee is a freaking killer. It’s tough for me to say this is a good product at all….just based on that bit of nastiness. Think about it. If your portfolio value were $50,000, and you paid 0.85% as a management fee and $750 for an annual fee, that puts your annual charges at 2.35%. And that’s before adding in fund costs. If the funds are actively managed, you’ll pay another 1.75%. That’s 4% per year for accounts valued at $50,000.

      If you build a portfolio like Shabari, you would pay a fraction of that.


  34. Tricia says:

    You are a godsend, thanks for replying! I plan to read your book cover to cover ( just read the preview pdf so far, plan to order the book next week when I finish the last few pages of Tony Robbins book. You cite similar sources which is how I stumbled on your blog.) Thanks again. I also looked up these links and while google searching for Indian planners. Will Hallam-test them before I sign anything!

  35. orissa class 12 chse result says:

    You are a godsend, thanks for replying! I plan to read your book cover to cover ( just read the preview pdf so far, plan to order the book next week when I finish the last few pages of Tony Robbins book. You cite similar sources which is how I stumbled on your blog.) Thanks again. I also looked up these links
    google searching for Indian planners. Will Hallam-test them before I sign anything!


  36. Tristan Jugg says:

    Hi Andrew,

    I just finished reading your first book and have now started the second.

    Thank you very much for for the helpful information!!! I appreciate how the book was presented!

    After finishing your book last week, I was all set to fire my advisor and open a self directed account.

    While discussing my plans to pursue a self directed index portfolio, my advisor discussed a new stragegy that his firm offers. Of course, I understand he is a saleman.

    It’s call Adaptive Asset Allocation.

    I’m not sure I fully understand the process. They are essentially spreading your money over 10 index funds and rebalancing monthly. However, they are not balancing by allocation but rather by voloatility and a prediction on momentum.

    I know, from what I read, you cannot predict the market. I was intrigued nevertheless because they are in index funds (ETFs).

    They also charge a 2% management fee.

    I’m wondering if you have any experience with Adaptive Asset Allocation and could share your advise with this plan vs. a lower cost self directed index porfolio.

    Your opinion would be greatly appreciated!


    P.S. I’m a canadian working in Canada.

    • Hi Tristan,

      This strategy sounds a lot like another name for mean variance optimization. As a strategy, it’s fine. But no smart strategy should involve a predictive component. When mean variance optimization is offered by firms like AssetBuilder (a U.S. firm only available to Americans) it costs about 0.4% per year. Index funds have advantages because they are cheap. If you add a 2% management fee, you will completely wipe that out. Don’t do it.


  37. Tristan Jugg says:

    Thank you Andrew for your sound advice!

    I have decided to pursue the index fund portfolio based on your teachings.

    I’m in the process of opening up a self directed account for all my investments.

    I do have a further question:

    After transferring in to the self-directed account, does it make sense to buy into the multiple index funds in one lump sum? I could hold some cash and spread the purchases over a year.

    Thank you, again, for your valued opinion!


    • Tristan,

      Studies show, two out of three times, it’s better to invest all at once. But if you would be upset by a market drop, by all means, do it in chunks. I love market crashes, by the way. Nobody knows when they’ll come. But they are like birthday presents.


  38. Tricia says:

    Hi Andrew, your book finally arrived at our local Kinokuniya and it so helpful yet simple. I really commend your dedication to educate individual investors. I now have a quick q on platforms before I put your principles (from page 282) to use. What are your thoughts on Citionline as opposed to Interactive Brokers – both in terms of fees and if we want to borrow funds in a couple years to purchase real estate? As background, I am an Indian expat in the UAE. My husband needs to invest separately for tax purposes (holds a green card and files US taxes), so will look into opening a Charles Schwabb, and use your recommendations on US expats to invest his US real estate income. We are not sure where we will retire. Thanks again

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