The Transparent Advisor Movement

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The Transparent Advisor Movement’s mission is to promote ideals of:

  • Clarity,
  • Modesty,
  • Integrity,
  • Fairness,
  • Logic, and
  • Client advocacy

in all aspects of financial advice, with a special focus on Advice Only, Flat Fee, and Hourly service models. There is an emphasis on logical and clear disclosure of services and their related fees.

The Transparency Movement is the future of the industry – we welcome anyone who believes in our values to join us.

Join the Transparent Advisor Movement

Who am I?

I am Sara Grillo, CFA and I’m declaring war on all forms of deception, manipulation, and other old-school, toxically controlling behaviors within financial advisor practices.

Sara Grillo, CFA is a highly fun and slightly crazy marketing consultant based in NYC.
I am an irreverent and fun marketing consultant for financial advisors.

And who are we?

The Transparent Advisor Movement is a free networking and thought leadership group of financial advisors, thought leaders, and related professionals who are busy forging a future for the industry that is a transparent one.

The goal of the Transparent Advisor Movement is to create the country’s best financial advisors – the most ethical, effective, and successful financial advisors that the industry has ever seen in its history. To do this, we are dismantling many of the norms and reconstructing them with a sheer focus on the experience of the end client, something that has never been done before.

Specific examples:

  • Educating financial advisors of all business models (AUM, fee only, commission, etc.) about how to run a business with higher transparency to the client
  • Executing outreach to college students to encourage them to avoid predatory wirehouse and insurance training programs and pursue fee-only paraplanning jobs instead
  • Working with advocacy groups to influence legislation
  • Mentoring younger advisors
  • Matching up advisors one on one to be accountability partners and support each others’ growth


Join the community!

Join our LinkedIn group for online discussions and to network with those who share our values. Many are financial advisors who practice as Advice Only, Flat Fee, and Hourly planners.

If you want to meet flat fee and advice only planners in your area, here is a Directory of some of the financial advisors – state by state – participating in our Transparency Movement. Click the link to download:

Download PDF of advisors by state

Read the Transparency Letter!

Join our email list to receive monthly “Transparent Advisor Letter” and get practice management, marketing, and other related tips as well as notifications about the movement.

Come to our monthly meetups!

Join our next Transparent Advisor virtual meetup.

These meetups are free and the goal is to learn from each other about how to grow and manage a transparent practice for the benefit of clients.

Even if you can not make the meetup, or even attend in its entirety, please register for the replay and to be notified of the next one.

Our scheduled meetups are here:

January 11th, 2023

February 8th, 2023

March 8th, 2023

April 12th, 2023

May 10th, 2023

June 14th, 2023

July 12th, 2023

August 9th, 2023

September 13th, 2023

October 11th, 2023

November 8th, 2023

December 12th, 2023

Transparency is what financial advice has always been missing

Without total transparency there is no trust.

There is no trust with half transparency and unfortunately that is the mode that the financial advice industry has been stuck in for 100% of its history. It’s not an understatement; you really wouldn’t believe the bogus crap I’ve seen over 20 years.

I’m declaring war on : closedness, half truths, non truths, ignoring, passive aggression, deception, control and manipulation, all of which are fully present in the world of financial advice today, which is why the Transparent Advice Movement is so important.

Example: I cant put my fees on my website because I want to take the prospects to Morton’s Steakhouse before we meet so I can get them to like me.

Example: Here’s our “Board” (so you don’t look like a one person team which is what you really are)

Example: That’s not a kickback it’s a consulting fee paid once a year

Example: This annuity carries no cost (but it does carry an impicity reduction in the yield spread!)

Example: I’m the #2 financial advisor in the country (according to a list that is defined to be social media influencers)

Example: We’re an RIA, we don’t sell insurance (except in a personal capacity and/or through our associated Brokerage General Agency, lol).

Transparency is about containment not control

See, almost all financial advisors would say how much they care for their clients.

Then why are you trying so hard to control them?

Contain is what you do when you care.

Control is what you do when you possess.

Control says, “I want to put this person in a space so they stay there, and I need to do that so that I feel safe and let’s hope they don’t grow out of it.”

Containment says, “I want to create a space where this person will stay because the walls of the container make them feel safe enough to grow.”

When you talk about being transparent with someone, you are talking about a shift from control to containment.

The enemy isn’t the outside, it’s not the market or the Fed – it’s within ourselves.

It’s not about your job title or whether or not you are a fiduciary.

It’s not about whether or not you sell products.

Or how much you virtue signal on social media.

Or whether you are a good person or not.

Or whether you are an honest person or not.

It’s about how you communicate.

I mean, damn, it’s not just financial advisors who get this wrong, it’s society who gets this wrong and it’s the reason the fabric is falling apart..

Communicate transparently if you want to contain; otherwise you are locking your client in a control regime that benefits you more than them and in some cases it’s totally destructive. That’s what we are focused on in the Transparent Advisor Movement; communication, fees, and service models that liberate through the shift from control to containment.

Is this a revolution or a resistance?

Actually it is neither.

And it’s not a product, service, subscription program, or any other type of opportunity for me to get you to part with your money.

It is the birth of a new age of financial advice, one that has never ever been evidenced before en masse. But that is all changing with the advent of more transparent financial advice models such as flat fee, hourly, and advice only planning.

The Transparent Advisor Movement, like any movement, is about a new way of thinking, attitudes, beliefs, and action, a new way of observing and analyzing, and new logic.

Thought leaders need NOT apply

This movement is not for the thought leaders – there’s enough of those. Train of thought can be wrong sometimes.

I’m looking for ethical leaders because ethics can never be wrong.

And then maybe some action leaders…

The future is inclusive

I really need to be clear with all of you: the world of the future is one that will look quite different from the demographic that prevails in financial services.

I’m building a networking group that represents the future of the industry. And that future is diverse. We welcome people of all races, genders, schools of thought, people with disabilities, people from every category. I don’t want anyone marginalized. I want everyone included because a future worth going to is one that takes everyone’s needs into account.

Financial advisor transparency resources

Here are some blogs I wrote/podcasts that may inform you on your transparency journey.

YouTube playlist: Transparent Advisor tutorials

Flat fee advisor website template

Flat fee advisor one page tearsheet

Advice only planner one page tearsheet

Is your marketing honest? 17 point test

State regulatory update

Transparent advisor marketing resource sheet

Stop saying 1%

Advice only advisors are stealing the show

How to read an ADV

Flat fee advisors are going to take your clients

Hourly planner interview – saving investors from the “Humpty Dumpty” portfolio

How to avoid bad financial advisor jobs

Ethical financial advisors

Direct indexing sucks

Follow on Instagram for more educational resources:

Transparency leaders in the news: Press wall

See all the noise we’re making?

And we’re just getting started!

Knut Rostad, Colorado Revises Financial Planning Guide

Bob Veres, The Obstacles, and Solutions, to a Post-AUM Profession

Cody Garrett, Wealth Management

Danielle Miura, Market Watch

Andy Panko, Financial Advisor Success Podcast

Flat fees gain traction among advisers critical of asset-based pricing


Are you ready to join the Transparent Advisor Movement?

I hope so. There’s alot of BS in finance and it’ll be better if you are fighting against it rather than succumbing to it.

If you want to be a part of what we’re doing and make history together with us, see the first section above with action items and thanks for being cool.

If not, I hope you’ll at least connect with me on LinkedIn and say hello. I post a ton of stuff to start discussions you may at least find amusing.

Stay transparent!

-Sara G