A common question we receive is why we decided to start our own independent firm. Why not simply join one of the bigger Wall Street firms? After all, they’ve been around for years and claim to have vast amounts of resources for investors.
The simple answer is that we believe an independent firm provides us with the opportunity to offer the best products and services for our clients. We decided that the most important thing we can do is to prioritize the needs of our clients in every situation. Our firm is an Investment Adviser and we are registered with the SEC to offer investment advice and planning to clients for a predetermined fee.
We emphasize the following:
• The best interest of the client must come first.
We seek to avoid conflicts of interest for our clients. When conflicts cannot be avoided they must be fully disclosed or mitigated. This is in keeping with the guidelines set forth for Certified Financial Planners (CFP™). We no incentive to sell any particular product for a client that does not satisfy their needs.
• We are registered with the SEC.
Our firm and its advisers are registered with the SEC. As such, we are fiduciaries to our clients. This simply means that we are constantly aligning the needs of our clients with appropriate solutions, regardless of our own compensation or benefit. This is in stark contrast to what is required by brokerage firms. A broker/dealer requires their adviser to follow the “suitability rule” meaning that investment recommendations must be suitable for a given risk tolerance. The suitability rule does not require disclosure of conflicts of interest or special compensation arrangements. Other fiduciaries common to clients would be attorneys or accountants.
• We use Charles Schwab as the custodian for our clients’ accounts.
As a registered investment adviser, we are required to have a non-interested third-party custodian hold all client assets. We are not allowed to commingle client assets with any of our own business accounts. We believe that Charles Schwab is the best firm to provide these services for our clients due to their vast product offerings, attractive pricing of fees and availability to clients in most locations. All of our clients will have their own Schwab account numbers and the ability to receive statements directly from Schwab. We have been given permission from our clients to transact business on their behalf at Schwab.
• We do not collect commissions; our clients agree to a fee that is fair given the services we provide.
We are compensated by our clients by a predetermined fee that is established as a percentage of their assets, or consists of a fixed monthly payment or fee for a selected service. We do not receive any commissions in addition to (or in lieu of) our stated fees. As a fiduciary we also attempt to use low cost or commission-free products whenever possible.
• We offer comprehensive investment guidance and multi-generational family wealth planning.
Our primary emphasis as advisers is to guide our clients to preserve what has taken them years to build. We practice preservation in investment portfolio’s as well as in our planning process helping clients identify what is most important for them to pass on to heirs, their community and their philanthropic interests.
In the end, we feel that we can best serve our clients as an independent firm. We are committed to representing you as a fiduciary for all of your financial needs.