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How does Backer make money? Are there conflicts of interest that affect me? How are they addressed?

Backer makes money in three ways:

  • From the monthly investment advisory fee that our clients choose to pay;
  • From any voluntary tips that gifters choose to pay when making a gift contribution to a Backer account; and
  • From Backer Bucks, which is an optional cashback rewards program that we offer to our clients.

We work hard to minimize any conflicts of interest. First and foremost, it’s important to know that as an investment adviser, we have a fiduciary duty to put your interests first. We never take commissions, always recommend low-fee investments, and use cutting-edge encryption and security practices to safeguard your personal information.

Backer and its personnel do not engage in other financial activities that would create a conflict of interest. Backer does not receive compensation from the 529 plans and portfolios that it recommends. Certain benefits, such as ease of administration, responsiveness, cooperation, and transparent disclosure, which Backer views as important for a 529 plan to offer, benefit both Backer and its clients, and are not viewed by Backer as representing a conflict of interest.

Our employees do not receive commissions or other compensation related to client assets, our clients’ investment activities, or selection of securities. Instead, they are paid a salary and discretionary bonus based on overall job responsibilities and performance. Certain employees also receive equity in our company.

Backer’s personnel and their families may invest in the same 529 plan that we recommend to our clients. This recommendation offers little or no opportunity for a conflict of interest to arise, given that the advice is expected to relate to well-established mutual funds or similar vehicles unaffiliated with Backer that sell shares at net asset value. Those facts about what Backer’s clients invest in indicate that Backer’s personnel will not be in a position to benefit from influencing the issuers of shares, trading ahead of clients, or trading on nonpublic information. In the event that a conflict of interest is perceived to exist, Backer will seek to eliminate or mitigate that conflict of interest, such as by prohibiting or monitoring trading that is identified as potentially representing a conflict of interest.

For more information about the monthly investment advisory fee that we charge, please see: How does Backer charge for its service? What fees will I pay?

For Backer Bucks, if you choose to purchase a third-party product or service through this program, we receive compensation from the third party and pass on a portion of that to you. We do not evaluate or endorse these third-party offers, but we have an incentive to include offers in our program because they generate compensation for us if you act on the offer. Backer Bucks is an optional program and it is your choice whether to act on any offer.

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