What Does Fiduciary Mean?

What does Fiduciary mean? It sounds like a complex and complicated word. Perhaps you’ve heard of the term in the news or in an Economics class. Legally, the term refers to the trust between, for example, a company and its shareholders. When used as a noun, the word fiduciary simply means a trustee. Finally, in terms of finance, the word refers to the relationship between paper currency and its value. Some currencies are backed by gold, others, the repute of the currency issuers.

This article shall briefly delve into the meaning of the word fiduciary. Without exploring its etymology, we shall see how fiduciary matters govern many aspects of finance, law, and currency.

Video Summary

Fiduciary, Defined More Closely

A person entrusted with fiduciary responsibilities administers the assets of the trusts under his responsibility, These include preparation of trust contracts, integration of the trust file, completion of procedures before authorities, registration of property ownership, private accounting, investment of resources, financial operations, granting of powers, identification, measurement and mitigation of risks, attention to instructions, execution of guarantees, attention to instructions, termination.

Fiduciary Responsibilities, In-Depth

In a deeper sense, a fiduciary trustee's responsibilities include the following:

  • Defend heritage of a company or person

  • Enforce the findings of a company

  • Is accountable to a person or company for their enforcement of the trust

  • Obey legal statutes

  • Non-delegation of his or her responsibilities

  • Manage the assets in the interest of the beneficiaries

The trust agreement between the fiduciary as trustee and the trust can expand or reduce these responsibilities but rarely do they amend or eliminate them. The fiduciary in some cases may be liable for losses to the estate that result from their actions or ignorance of legalities.

Moreover, the fiduciary’s responsibilities are sometimes referred to as “fiduciary liability.” This is especially the case when a person has responsibility for third party matters.

For example, a company’s Board of Directors has a fiduciary responsibility to the company’s shareholders; the directors of a bank is entrusted with safeguarding the deposits of clients; an