May 20, 2020 Update: Why They Matter: Professional Fiduciaries—a Position of Trust

Beth Misak |

The term, “fiduciary,” may sound dry and academic, but its significance is profound. In fact it’s so pivotal that I am 1) reviewing what a fiduciary is, 2) confirming that HearthStone always acts in a fiduciary capacity, and 3) affirming why HearthStone has been an ardent supporter and sponsor of The Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC) for many years.

Merriam-Webster dictionary explains “fiduciary” this way:

Fiduciary relationships often concern money, but the word fiduciary does not, in and of itself, suggest financial matters. Rather, fiduciary applies to any situation in which one person justifiably places confidence and trust in someone else and seeks that person’s help or advice in some matter. The attorney-client relationship is a fiduciary one, for example, because the client trusts the attorney to act in the best interest of the client at all times. Fiduciary can also be used as a noun for the person who acts in a fiduciary capacity. The words are all faithful to their origin: Latin fidere, which means “to trust.”1

Professional Fiduciaries are individuals who are paid to manage the financial matters and overall wellbeing of another person—often when that person is incapable of managing their own affairs. Fiduciaries provide the experience, resources and knowledge to oversee a myriad of services. A few examples are: paying bills and overseeing legal matters, investment management, medical care, housing, and nutrition.

Professional Fiduciaries are licensed and regulated by the State of California. They must follow a strict code of ethics. They are bound by the California Probate Code and answer to the Court. Professional Fiduciaries are ultimately responsible for the actions of anyone they hire to assist with managing a client’s needs, including investment companies and realtors.2

HearthStone | Private Wealth Management always acts in a fiduciary capacity as an investment advisor. As such, we are sometimes selected by Professional Fiduciaries to manage the investments owned by a person under their care.

Turning to the Professional Fiduciary Association of California, this state-wide organization provides ongoing professional education to licensed fiduciaries. It also offers opportunities for members to share knowledge and resources.3 The 2020 Annual PFAC Conference, slated for August in San Francisco, will now be held virtually and include pre-taped and live-streaming educational sessions. HearthStone is a long-time supporter of PFAC and Silver Sponsor of this year’s conference.

Even though we won’t be gathering in person, we believe the mission of PFAC is more crucial than ever. Reacting and adapting to the global pandemic is a challenge for all, especially the vulnerable and impaired. That’s why PFAC and its members have our unwavering support—now and in the future.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic, visit the PFAC website at Or, talk with us. We’re here to help you understand all your options surrounding your wealth and wellbeing.



1Merriam-Webster Dictionary, on-line version.
2PFAC website, FAQ’s,