What Is the Meaning of Non-Fiduciary?

by Phillip Woolgar; Updated September 26, 2017

A non-fiduciary relationship arises when a person uses a possession of yours to benefit themselves. For example, if your business partner invests your money into real estate for the sole purpose of earning himself monetary interest on that property, he is performing a non-fiduciary transaction.

Ethics

A transaction made by a representative of a business arrangement doesn't have to be unethical. In the case of a non-fiduciary relationship, a financial investment could be made by an individual in the relationship on behalf of the group. If that money belongs to the individual making the investment, he is a non-fiduciary contributor to the transaction.

Banks

Banks are a prime example of a fiduciary, or sometimes a non-fiduciary, relationship. If a portfolio manager invests your money so they can bump up the price of the stock to benefit their own portfolio, that would be a non-fiduciary action. In a fiduciary relationship, the fund manager would invest your money with your best interest at heart. Fiduciary relationships usually includes a good-faith agreement between the parties.

Origins

Fiduciary came from the Latin word for trust. The fiduciary generally has more knowledge or expertise and often includes a business adviser, attorney, guardian, estate administrator, banker, stockbroker or real estate agent.

About the Author

Phillip Woolgar has been a reporter since 2008 in communities throughout western Canada. His work has appeared in Canadian national publications such as the "Globe and Mail" and the "Vancouver Sun." In 2009, he received second-place recognition in the Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association's Excellence in Arts and Culture writing category. Woolgar graduated from the Langara College Journalism Diploma program in 2008.