What is a Fiduciary?
A Fiduciary is a person entrusted to manage assets or wealth on someone's behalf while acting in that person's best interests. Financial advisors who follow a fiduciary standard must disclose any conflict, or potential conflict, to their clients. Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are held to a fiduciary standard of care. They must act solely in the best interests of their clients, or disclose the relevant conflict. The Form ADV Part 2A contains relevant information and disclosures for all Registered Investment Advisors and can be found on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website.
What does fee-only mean?
Fee-only refers to the manner in which we are compensated for our services. We do not receive commissions for any of the investment recommendations that we make. Rather, we are paid based on a percentage of the assets that we manage. Alternatively, in certain circumstances, we also make flat fee or hourly fee arrangements. We do offer performance-based fees in certain circumstances for qualified investors. We believe this compensation method is more transparent than commission based methods of compensation, while also limiting conflicts of interest. Please refer to our form ADV, Part 2A, for additional information about our compensation practices and potential conflicts of interest that may arise.
Why hire a CFA Charterholder?
IN A COMPLICATED WORLD, HAVING A CFA CHARTERHOLDER ON YOUR SIDE WHO IS CONFIDENT, READY FOR TOMORROW, AND COMPLETELY COMMITTED TO YOUR INTERESTS IS A DIFFERENCE THAT MATTERS™. Your wealth manager should be on the leading edge of every facet of your financial life, anticipating your needs and helping you create an investment strategy to achieve your goals. CFA charterholders blend intellectual curiosity and expertise to deliver premium advice. They are the difference you need.
Here’s why: Rigor and Expertise. Fewer than 1 in 5 candidates becomes a CFA charterholder. It takes an average of over 1,000 hours of rigorous study, along with four years of professional experience, to earn the distinction of being called a Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) charterholder.
Holistic Wealth Management. CFA charterholders are trained to understand what drives value in all dimensions of your financial life. They have mastered more than just the art and science of securities analysis and asset allocation. They also have expert-level portfolio management skills and the ability to work effectively with tax and intergenerational wealth planning experts to design an investment strategy specific to your objectives. Your Interests Come First.
CFA charterholders recognize that trust is key to building a strong client-adviser relationship and are bound by the highest ethical standards — the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.
Why do I need a Financial plan?
Financial planning takes the guesswork out of managing your finances and helps you understand the implications of each financial decision you make. Everyone has different goals, so it’s important to have a unique plan that works for you and your financial situation, both now and in the future.
BENEFITS OF FINANCIAL PLANNING
The average American faces an uncertain economy and more options for saving and investing than ever before. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused, unless you find a way to understand the big picture. A financial plan can bring clarity to all your finances and help you develop a strategy, so it’s easier to make financial decisions, set long and short-term life goals, and stay on track.
Some people decide to do their own financial planning, but you may want to seek help from a trained professional if you:
• Want to better manage your finances, but aren’t sure where to start
• Don’t have time to do your own financial planning
• Want a professional opinion about the plan you’ve developed
• Don’t have sufficient expertise in certain areas such as investments, insurance, taxes or retirement planning
• Have an immediate need or unexpected life event
Who would manage my investments?
We take a team approach to building custom investment portfolios for our clients. While most clients have a trusted contact who they can go to directly with questions, investment decisions are made by our team of advisors, leveraging their collective expertise. In addition to decades of experience, our advisors have earned some of the most trusted credentials in the industry, among them, CFA®, CFP®, and CPA.
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter is a globally respected, graduate-level investment credential established in 1962 and awarded by CFA Institute — the largest global association of investment professionals.
There are currently more than 107,000 CFA charter holders working in 135 countries. To earn the CFA charter, candidates must: (1) pass three sequential, six-hour examinations; (2) have at least four years of qualified professional investment experience; (3) join CFA Institute as members; and (4) commit to abide by, and annually reaffirm, their adherence to the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.
High Ethical Standards
The CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, enforced through an active professional conduct program, require CFA charter holders to:
• Place their clients’ interests ahead of their own
• Maintain independence and objectivity
• Act with integrity
• Maintain and improve their professional competence
• Disclose conflicts of interest and legal matters
Passing the three CFA exams is a difficult feat that requires extensive study (successful candidates report spending an average of 300 hours of study per level). Earning the CFA charter demonstrates mastery of many of the advanced skills needed for investment analysis and decision making in today’s quickly evolving global financial industry. As a result, employers and clients are increasingly seeking CFA charterholders—often making the charter a prerequisite for employment. Additionally, regulatory bodies in 23 countries/territories recognize the CFA charter as a proxy for meeting certain licensing requirements, and more than 125 colleges and universities around the world have incorporated a majority of the CFA Program curriculum into their own finance courses.
Comprehensive and Current Knowledge
The CFA Program curriculum provides a comprehensive framework of knowledge for investment decision making and is firmly grounded in the knowledge and skills used every day in the investment profession. The three levels of the CFA Program test a proficiency with a wide range of fundamental and advanced investment topics, including ethical and professional standards, fixed-income and equity analysis, alternative and derivative investments, economics, financial reporting standards, portfolio management, and wealth planning.
The CFA Program curriculum is updated every year by experts from around the world to ensure that candidates learn the most relevant and practical new tools, ideas, and investment and wealth management skills to reflect the dynamic and complex nature of the profession.
The CFP® certification is a voluntary certification; no federal or state law or regulation requires financial planners to hold CFP® certification. It is recognized in the United States and a number of other countries for its (1) high standard of professional education; (2) stringent code of conduct and standards of practice; and (3) ethical requirements that govern professional engagements with clients. Currently, more than 76,000 individuals have obtained CFP® certification in the United States.
To attain the right to use the CFP® marks, an individual must currently satisfactorily fulfill the following requirements:
• Education – Complete an advanced college-level course of study addressing the financial planning subject areas that CFP Board’s studies have determined as necessary for the competent and professional delivery of financial planning services, and attain a Bachelor’s Degree from a regionally accredited United States college or university (or its equivalent from a foreign university). CFP Board’s financial planning subject areas include insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning;
• Examination – Pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Examination. The examination, administered in 6 hours, includes case studies and client scenarios designed to test one’s ability to correctly diagnose financial planning issues and apply one’s knowledge of financial planning to real world circumstances;
• Experience – Complete at least three years of full-time financial planning-related experience (or the equivalent, measured as 2,000 hours per year); and
• Ethics – Agree to be bound by CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, a set of documents outlining the ethical and practice standards for CFP® professionals.
Individuals who become certified must complete the following ongoing education and ethics requirements in order to maintain the right to continue to use the CFP® marks:
• Continuing Education – Complete 30 hours of continuing education hours every two years, including two hours on the Code of Ethics and other parts of the Standards of Professional Conduct, to maintain competence and keep up with developments in the financial planning field; and
• Ethics – Renew an agreement to be bound by the Standards of Professional Conduct. The Standards prominently require that CFP® professionals provide financial planning services at a fiduciary standard of care. This means CFP® professionals must provide financial planning services in the best interests of their clients.
CFP® professionals who fail to comply with the above standards and requirements may be subject to CFP Board’s enforcement process, which could result in suspension or permanent revocation of their CFP® certification.
CPAs are licensed and regulated by their state boards of accountancy. While state laws and regulations vary, the education, experience and testing requirements for licensure as a CPA generally include minimum college education (typically 150 credit hours with at least a baccalaureate degree and a concentration in accounting), minimum experience levels (most states require at least one year of experience providing services that involve the use of accounting, attest, compilation, management advisory, financial advisory, tax or consulting skills, all of
which must be achieved under the supervision of or verification by a CPA), and successful passage of the Uniform CPA Examination.
In order to maintain a CPA license, states generally require the completion of 40 hours of continuing professional education (CPE) each year (or 80 hours over a two-year period or 120 hours over a three-year period). Additionally, all American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) members are required to follow a rigorous Code of Professional Conduct which requires that they act with integrity, objectivity, due care, competence, fully disclose any conflicts of interest (and obtain client consent if a conflict exists), maintain client confidentiality, disclose to the client any commission or referral fees, and serve the public interest when providing financial services. The vast majority of state boards of accountancy have adopted the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct within their state accountancy laws or have created their own.
In addition to the Code of Professional Conduct, AICPA members who provide personal financial planning services are required to follow the Statement on Standards in Personal Financial Planning Services (SSPFPS).