Is First Command a Pyramid Scheme?
Pyramid Schemes vs. Our Ethical Best Practices
Like many financial services firms, First Command is often asked questions about how we go about providing products and services to our clients. On rare occasions, we’re even asked: Is First Command a pyramid scheme?
While it’s always advisable to investigate before placing your confidence in any financial organization, we can unequivocally state that in no way are we a pyramid scheme. Our employees and leadership take great pride in holding ourselves to strict standards of ethical behavior in everything we do.
In fact, First Command currently maintains an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and over 100 First Command Advisors have earned the CFP®1 designation.
As an Investment Advisory firm, First Command is held to fiduciary standard in all client relationships, meaning we have an obligation to always put our clients’ interests first. We’re proud that we have consistently been recognized as a Military Friendly® employer and brand.
What is a Pyramid Scheme?
A pyramid scheme is an unethical business practice where a handful of top-level members recruit new members, who in turn pay fees to those who enrolled them. As new members recruit people under them, a portion of the fees they receive are shared with members above them. Also known as pyramid scams, these types of businesses are illegal in many parts of the United States.
Is First Command a Pyramid Scheme?
First Command is not a pyramid scheme. We do not maintain any type of pyramid structure in our recruiting practices or client relationships. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We actively recruit transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses and experienced professionals who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of military families. In all cases, we offer competitive compensation and benefits packages.
In addition, we embrace time-tested financial principles and a client-first philosophy, advocating consistent saving, disciplined investing and a thoughtful insurance strategy. For more than 60 years, we have adhered to these principles in carrying out our mission of coaching those who serve in their pursuit of financial security.
Below are a few statistics that illustrate our commitment to serving those who serve:
- Complimentary financial plans for active-duty military
- No minimum net worth required to be a client
- 4 out of 5 Advisors are veterans or military spouses
- 97 percent of our current Advisors are also clients
- 67 percent of current Advisors started as clients
What is a Mult-Level Marketing Scheme (MLM)?
Similar in some ways to a pyramid scheme, an MLM is a legal, but potentially unethical, business strategy used by direct sales companies to earn money on new recruits. Sales representatives are recruited under the guise of selling products and services, but actually rely on recruiting others to earn the bulk of their income. At each level, members are paid a percentage of their recruits’ sales, which means each new level creates value for the top levels and beyond.
Is First Command an MLM?
No, First Command is not an MLM. We do not utilize any form of a multi-level marketing structure across our recruiting or client relationships. MLMs focus primarily on recruitment, instead of selling products or services. Our primary focus is on building client relationships and coaching our clients towards their pursuit of financial security.
Supporting the Military Community
First Command is committed to enriching the lives of service members even beyond their pursuit of financial security. We partner with other outstanding organizations dedicated to serving the military community, including:
Join the First Command Family
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- Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.