Free (doesn't exist), commissioned, fee based, fee for service, fee only....

Advisor, investment rep, financial advisor, financial planner, net worth manager...


We have your answers.


The different ways financial professionals can be paid:

- Free: Consumers often think they are getting free financial advice from the bank but they are not. Fees on your investments and products you buy pay for the advice you recieve.

- Commissioned: Advsors recieve commission on products they sell, just like a TV or car salesman. There are a range of products from only investment to insurance with fees as low at 0.50% to as high as 3.5% ($500 to $3,500 based on a $100k portfolio). Commisioned advisors have a troubling bias to sell you more product even if you do not need it, they want to get paid.

- Fee Based: advisors charge a % of your portfolio. Fee based advisors often also use commission products as well. Fees range from 0.5% to 3%. Fee based advisors are better than commissioned advisors because they are not cramming unecessary products down your throat BUT they have their own set of biases to deal with. As fee based advisors are paid a % on investments/assets you hold with them, it is in their best interest for you to keep your money with them. Issues may arise with fee based advisor when you need to take money out of your portfolio. For example, you need to pay down debt out of your investments. Your fee based advisor may advise against this because it would reduce the income fee they recieve as your portfolio got smaller (1% on 250k is a lot less than 1% on 500k). Want to buy a cottage? Your fee based advisor might say you cannot afford to. Why? maybe you can't but there is a chance this is being said to stop you reducing your portfolio and your fee based advisors income. We call this the withdrawal conflict of interest bias. How can you trust someone that has such a huge conflict of interest.

- Fee for service: the same as fee-based. There is some confusion in the industry, even among industry insiders as to what fee-for-service means. in the strictest sense it means you pay a flat dollar amount for a service but the reality is advisors are calling themselves fee for service if they have the ability to provide fee based accounts.

- Fee only: paid a flat dollar amount for financial planning or investment advice. Advice can be paid for on an hourly, annual, or per project basis. Fees range from $1,000 to $10,000 are not based on your portfolio size or product purchased. This is what we provide at Eureka Investor Guidance. A fee only arrangement takes away the product pushing conflict of interest and the withdrawal conflict of interest. Your fee only professional is working exclusively for you and your best interests.


The different titles industry professionals use:

- Advisor/Adviser/Financial Advisor: Advisor & Adviser are interchangeable in Canada. Financial Advisor is not a regulated term BUT usually these indivduals hold licenses to sell products under the "commissioned" payment mehtod above.

- Investment Rep: sell investment products. Investment representaives work on commission and sell only investment products. These individuals are exclusively salespeople.

- Financial Planner: may or may not hold licenses to sell products, and may or may not be qualified to give financial advice. Usually focus on financial planning not product sales. This term has been somewhat abused in Canada as individuals who provide no actual planning (or very low quality) are also calling themselves Financial Planners.

- Net Worth Manager: not licensed to sell products. Provides ONLY financial planning advice. No product sales. Net Worth Management takes a different approach by looking at all your finances, your net worth. This is what we are at Eureka Investor Guidance. There are very few actual net worth managers across Canada (less than 20 from our experience).


Your advisor isn't working for you: the problem with the current financial advice model is that the “free” financial plan always results in the recommendation of a product sale, generating profit for a big corporation. It is overwhelmingly product-focused. The Fee Only model lets advice be provided seperate of a product sale, and lets you find out what's best for you...not your advisor's bank account.

Think for a moment: Would you let someone do your taxes if they got a bigger bonus from the Government if they found more tax for you to pay? How could you trust them? The same idea applies to the financial advice, surely you want an unbiased team who are working for you, not working for the big corporations selling the products?!

Our alternative is a comprehensive NEEDS-BASED approach, NOT product-focused. It involves making the most of what you have, then finding solutions to fill the gaps. NOT just collecting another flavor of the month product and sales pitch, we call it Fee Only Net Worth Management.


Fee Only is for everyone- for families, small business owners, young adults, no matter the income!

Fee Only is cost effective - saving you $1000s per year, and far more affordable than traditional methods!

Fee Only is cost transparent - you know exactly what you are paying and the value you get

Fee Only is unbiased - working for you (not selling products for an large company)


Okay, I get Fee Only, but why "Net Worth Management" exactly?

Well, in our view the term financial advice is greatly over used. Financial advice can mean broad advice covering all your finances or specific advice covering a minute but important detail of your financial well-being.

At Eureka we strive to be there for every single part of your financial life. We want to assist you in every aspect of your finances to help you achieve peace of mind. To do this we must take every detail into consideration and form your big picture. The term Net Worth Management better applies to the all encompassing approach we take. We are your Fee Only Net Worth Managers.

Our Net Worth Management process starts with an analysis of where you are, discussion of where you want to be, and unbiased advice & information on how to get there. Our Fee Only Net Worth Management:

Provides Clarity Big picture thinking
A roadmap for your future Unbiased advice & recommendations
No hidden sales agendas Fee-only
Custom More respectful
One-on-one Comprehensive
NOT a one off product sale Ongoing
Control Peace of Mind

You hire us for peace of mind and the confidence that comes from finally gaining control and managing your affairs, not to sell you a product. If you eventually need a product we can educate you on different distribution outlets so you can be a smart consumer.


In recent years the media/news have been drawing attention to Fee Only financial advice. It is advice provided for a fee, not from commissions on product sales. To read more about fee-only go to our In The News page.

Want to know more? Contact Kathy Waite