Q: Whom do you serve?

A: We provide our services to individuals, families, businesses, trusts, partnerships, not-for-profit organizations and retirement plan sponsors wishing to pursue financial goals based on our strategic approach to creating and managing wealth.

Q: Describe your broad services.

A: We conduct initial and ongoing deep discovery to determine your financial needs in relation to your unique values, goals, relationships, assets and interests. We then form a far-reaching strategic plan designed to meet those needs. We gather expertise — or we are prepared to work with existing alliances — to ensure that each component within your strategy is carefully executed and seamlessly integrated to serve the overall plan.

Q: How much does it cost to hold initial planning meetings with your firm?

A: There is no cost for our initial Discovery meeting. We feel it’s time well spent to first get to know one another before we seek mutual commitment and before we begin charging a fee.

Q: How do you charge for your services?

A: We provide fee-only investment management, with our fees based on a percentage of your assets that we manage. We feel that such an approach best aligns our interests with yours, helping us meet our fiduciary obligation as a Registered Investment Advisor firm. Our fees are tier-based with breakpoints at which your fee percentage decreases. In addition, we take a family approach to investing. Aggregating your family’s assets to determine your fees (while still managing each portfolio according to its distinct policies) enables favorable rates for you and your family.

Q: Do you have a minimum portfolio size?

A: The ideal candidate will have investable assets of $500,000 or above. If your current asset level does not meet our minimum requirements but you have unique circumstances you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

Q: What happens to my current holdings if I become a client?

A: Before any changes are made, we analyze your existing portfolio and discuss our recommendations with you. Our overall goal is for your portfolio to make sense for you and your lifetime objectives. We work toward this goal by determining your unique willingness, ability and need to take on market risk via appropriate diversification; by minimizing the expenses involved in investing; by managing appropriate asset location between taxable and tax-sheltered accounts; and by eliminating unnecessary complexity within your portfolio. If your existing holdings lend themselves to these objectives, we leave them in place. If changes are warranted, we work with you to ensure that any transitions occur as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible.

Q: Do you trade and hold my assets for me?

A: While you grant us Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA) to execute transactions on your behalf, you remain in control of your assets. Accounts are held in your name at a quality custodian.

Q: Describe your investment approach.

A: We apply an evidence-based approach, tailoring your portfolio’s level of risk (and its expected returns) to your personal preferences, goals and circumstances. We adhere to the tenets of Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) and to the guidelines provided by the American Law Institute’s Uniform Prudent Investor Rule. MPT indicates that the overwhelmingly largest determinant of portfolio performance is asset allocation — how assets are exposed to various risk factors. We build portfolios accordingly, typically using low-cost institutional managers who provide passively managed mutual funds, and diversifying globally to reduce non-market risks.

Many other financial service firms offer an approach based on “active management.” Active management assumes that the markets are generally inefficient, allowing clever individuals to regularly exploit and profit from market anomalies (beyond the costs of consistently seeking and executing such trades). And yet, it seems evident to us that the collective wisdom of all market players — especially in today’s electronic era — results in highly efficient markets. Markets reflect fair pricing almost instantaneously upon release of any good or bad price-related news. In offering a “passive management” approach, we heed the academic wisdom. We assume that the opportunities to exploit inefficiencies are too few and far between to effectively and affordably pursue.

Q: What if I need a bond (fixed income) portfolio or other special holdings?

A: Our philosophy is that equity investments are for growth and that fixed income investments have a vital mission all their own: to control overall portfolio volatility and provide a stable financial base. Fixed income investments should act as the vehicle for steady, reliable income and contingency reserves. We address your fixed income needs as an integral part of your overall portfolio by considering the special needs, characteristics and (often hidden) costs inherent in the bond market. If a custom bond portfolio makes sense for you, we build one for you based on analysis of each bond’s full range of characteristics (sector, maturity, credit rating and more). We have access to strategic fixed income resources and a network of local and national bond dealers that help ensure a wide range of security availability as well as fair and competitive institutional level pricing for you.

Q: I am contacting you because I have heard you offer access to Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) funds. How do I learn more about DFA? What is your relationship with them?

A: If you have already heard of DFA, you may be aware that it seeks to protect the reliability of and manage the costs of its funds by requiring investors to access them via a select group of financial advisory firms. You can learn more about Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) by clicking here to visit their Web site.

Our firm is proud to be among those who have access to DFA funds. We generally find that DFA provides optimal vehicles for building cost-effective portfolios designed and managed to target your unique objectives through all types of markets. However, we receive no commissions for using DFA funds. Whenever we feel there is a better investment option for your particular needs, we use it.

 

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