What is a fiduciary relationship?

A fiduciary relationship is a relationship of trust which may also be between a person and a juristic person such as Government, university or a bank. However, the most common example of such a relationship is the trustee of a trust, but fiduciaries can include business advisers, attorneys, guardians, administrators, directors of a company, public servants in relation to a Government and senior managers of a firm/company etc.

All relationships usually have an element of trust, but all of them cannot be classified as fiduciary. Information provided in discharge of a statutory requirement, or to obtain a job, or to get a license, cannot be considered to have been given in a fiduciary relationship.

The following kinds of relationships may broadly be categorized as “fiduciary”:

§    Trustee/beneficiary

§    Legal guardians / wards

§    Lawyer/client;

§    Executors and administrators / legatees and heirs

§    Board of directors / company

§    Liquidator/company

§    Receivers, trustees in bankruptcy and assignees in insolvency / creditors

§    Doctor/patient

§    Parent/child