With what types of client do you work?
Our clients are very diverse, and have a broad range of employment backgrounds, ages, and investment objectives. The majority of our clients are individuals or trusts, but we also work with numerous company pension plans. We can be particularly valuable to clients who are going through a life transition, such as retirement, divorce, loss of a spouse, or sale of a business, because we are effective in translating new financial circumstances into sustainable, long-term financial plans and investment strategies. Normally, our clients will have a minimum of $250,000 of investable assets available for management.
What is your investment approach?
We seek to diversify a client's assets across the important investment markets worldwide. We look for attractive investment returns wherever they can be found, provided that we can invest in those markets at low cost and with controlled risk. We fundamentally believe that long-term investment performance is determined primarily by the investment markets in which one participates, and to a lesser extent by the specific investment security itself. We combine these market investments in a way to reduce risk, while not sacrificing the returns.
We will use primarily institutional investment vehicles and individual securities to represent these markets. We will design a customized portfolio for each client based on his or her specific investment objectives. Each client portfolio is specifically designed and changes are made based on the client’s individual circumstances. Our clients are particularly interested in minimizing the impact of income taxes. With that in mind, we emphasize after-tax performance in our strategies and investment selections.
What services do you provide?
We consult with the client to determine their overall financial objectives, and then design and implement an investment program that is consistent with those goals. We will continuously monitor the investments, the markets, and the client's situation to adjust or "rebalance" the investment holdings to reflect changing conditions. We report quarterly to clients on their investment assets and performance, and encourage at least annual face-to-face meetings to review their overall financial health and investment program. We provide more detailed financial planning analysis and guidance on issues specific to each client as they arise.
How are you compensated, and when do you get paid?
We charge a management fee based on a percentage of the value of the assets we manage. We accept no commissions or other forms of compensation from investment product providers or financial institutions. The fee is quoted as an annual percentage fee, and is billed quarterly in arrears by taking the value of managed assets at the end of each calendar quarter and applying one-fourth of that annual percentage fee. For example, if the annual fee is 1%, then 1/4 of 1% is applied to each ending quarter account balance. The fee is normally deducted directly from the client account or accounts.
Additionally, we do offer ongoing advice and service to our clients on a wide variety of issues for an annual fee. Clients are billed directly at the beginning of the year.
How will you communicate with me about my account?
You will receive a monthly statement. We will also have occasional special mailings and email alerts on topics of interest. Most clients will often talk with us by telephone several times during the year, and we like to meet face-to-face with each client at least once per year. Clients are also encouraged to contact us by e-mail, fax, or telephone at any time to discuss their investments, ask any questions, or discuss any financial planning matter.
Who will be working on my account?
Each client works with two of our investment professionals (principals), who are responsible for developing the strategies and investment recommendations. They also will consult with you on other financial planning issues. The principals are supported by a dedicated paraplanner. Additionally, two portfolio administrators assist with the implementation of all recommendations and are available for day-to-day operations and service requests.
Will I be able to take part in the investment decisions?
Yes, you will. At the outset, your investment goals, previous investing experiences, tolerance for risk, and your specific preferences will be the most important determinants of the investment strategy we recommend. As we select specific investments, we will explain to you the purpose of each one, and you will have the opportunity to either endorse, modify, or reject any particular recommendation.
We work with clients on a "non-discretionary" basis. Non-discretionary means that we must receive your approval on each and every investment change or trade before we make it. "Discretionary" means the firm can and may take an investment action on your behalf without getting explicit approval in advance. We suggest client DO NOT give that authority to any firm or individual adviser.
Will I have to sell all or part of my current investments to work with you?
In most cases, there are some significant changes we would recommend, but often they can be implemented over time, or can be adapted to some of your current holdings. For example, some clients may have significant unrealized investment gains in their current holdings that could trigger large income taxes if they were sold. In other cases, clients have specific holdings that they have a particular desire to keep. In all cases, we will use our best judgment to recommend the most appropriate portfolio for you, then adjust and adapt it to accommodate specific concerns.
I have investments I want to manage on my own. Can I still work with you?
Yes. We can set up a separate account(s) that will hold the assets you would like us to manage, and only collect our advisory fee on those assets. If you prefer, your self-managed account can be set up on our system as an unmanaged account for a nominal fee, which then allows us to execute trades for you that you direct us to make, and to prepare tax and performance reports on your self-managed assets. We simply ask that the assets subject to our management fee meet our normal account minimums.
Will you charge me an extra fee to consult with my tax advisor or estate planning attorney?
No, in most cases such consultations are offered as part of our normal management fee. In fact, we welcome the opportunity to discuss tax or estate planning opportunities with other professionals that you have engaged. We realize that they may charge you for their time speaking with us, so we will not undertake such discussions without your express permission, or unless as a result of a direct inquiry from them.
If you have a need to find a tax professional, attorney, insurance, or retirement plan specialist, we are happy to provide referrals to professionals we know that we think can assist you. We accept no referral fees from anyone in return for referring a client.
Can you arrange for regular payments or transfers of cash to be made from my account?
Yes. We can set up regular, periodic transfers of a fixed dollar amount on a monthly basis. Alternatively, we can arrange to have the interest and dividends earned paid out of your account.
Will I get reports to help with income tax return preparation?
Yes, you will. We can send you a report of taxable events, including earnings from interest, dividends, realized capital gains, and capital gains distributions.
Can you provide advice on how I should invest in my company's 401(k) Plan?
Yes. If you are actively participating in your company's 401(k) plan, we will provide guidance on how to choose among the available funds in your company plan.
What is the process to start working with you?
We recommend starting with a brief 10-15 minute phone call to understand what your overall objectives and needs are, and to plan the first meeting.
During our first meeting, which normally lasts 1-1/2 to 2 hours, we will explore your needs and expectations in much more detail, introduce you to our investment approach and reasoning behind it, and describe how we believe our approach could best be applied to your situation. We will answer any questions you might have about how we would work with you.
If our approach makes sense to you, we would offer to perform analysis, develop a written financial plan and specific investment recommendations for a one-time fee. In our second meeting, we will present this proposal and show you exactly how we would design and implement a customized investment program for you, and how we would address any financial planning issues. The proposal is flexible enough to accommodate changes or preferences that you may have.
When you have decided to work with us, we would take you through the steps of establishing our advisory relationship and the specific implementation steps for your investment program.