Protecting your financial interests from potential conflicts of interest
It is common practice to have potential clients walk through our door requesting a review of their portfolios. What is also common practice is the discovery of proprietary products as the preferred investment choice of the potential client’s investment advisor. Why is this an important find? Proprietary products are packaged by the broker dealer and represented by the investment advisor. If included in the client’s portfolio, this adds a commission to the investment advisor’s pocket. Is there anything wrong with this? No. However, we believe it is in the best interest of our clients to not represent proprietary products. The benefit to our client is that we are able to manage their portfolios and make investment choices free of compensation conflicts. We believe it is about our clients, not us.
One of our new clients brought in the statements for their investment portfolio. They were surprised to learn that many of the investments they had been sold were proprietary funds owned and promoted by their broker’s employer. The investments were not the best performers in their asset class but did deliver the best compensation to their broker. This client was pleased to learn that we do not sell any proprietary products or earn compensation of any kind from the investments we recommend for client portfolios. We charge for our services. Our service is advice, and our compensation structure more closely aligns our interests with the growth of our clients’ portfolios.
- No custody – An independent custodian holds our clients’ investments and creates an independent, insurmountable barrier between our firm and our clients’ portfolios.
- Fee only – We charge a fee for managing our clients’ portfolios; it is our only compensation. We do not earn commissions, transaction fees, or other promotional or distribution fees.
- No proprietary products — Since we do not create or sell proprietary products, we are free to recommend only those that deliver the best long-term results for our clients.