What standards are you held to?
As federally Registered Investment Advisors, we are subject to oversight by the SEC and held to a Fiduciary Standard, which means we are ethically bound to always put your interests first. Our written agreement defines our roles and responsibilities as a fiduciary and documents our commitment to putting your interests ahead of our own.
What if I change my mind?
Our advisory agreements are completely open-ended. You can terminate our relationship any time. We would facilitate the transfer of your assets as directed and then refund any unearned management fee. That said, we have had very few clients leave us over the years.
What do I get for my fees?
Your investments will be managed and monitored by professionals that know you and understand your total financial picture. Our goal is to provide you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your finances are well taken care of.
On a day-to-day basis, we monitor your accounts, ensure your distributions and other money transfers occur as needed and manage your accounts for tax opportunities, rebalancing and cash flow needs. We review and report your actual account performance on a regular basis and meet with you to discuss your investments, your financial needs, and any changes in your life that may require adjustments to your investment plan.
Focus also coordinates with your estate planning attorney and your accountant to ensure that your accounts are registered correctly and to provide effective tax management.
Am I giving up control?
In a word, no. Your Focus advisor will collaborate with you to create a written Investment Policy Statement (lPS) for your accounts. Your IPS will clearly state your financial/investment goals, any unique circumstances or constraints, and your tax situation. You and your advisor will agree upon an investment allocation, portfolio design, universe of securities to be used, rebalancing parameters, and contribution or withdrawal schedule, if any. You delegate the nitty-gritty, every day work of monitoring your portfolio, rebalancing it periodically to ensure it stays within your desired asset allocation, harvesting tax losses as available, ensuring distributions are made as scheduled and generally keeping an eye on things.
How Do You Get Paid?
Unlike insurance agents or stock brokers, we do not rely on the sale of retail investments. Stock brokers, insurance agents and other financial sales people describe their compensation as being “fee-based,” meaning sometimes they charge fees, sometimes they take commissions, and sometimes they do both.
With Focus, you hire us to obtain the most appropriate investments for your situation at the lowest possible cost. For designing and managing your accounts, we charge a percentage (1% or less) of the assets under our management. We do not accept commissions, trading fees or other sources of revenue from our investment clients, which qualifies us as a fee-only advisor.
How will you invest my account?
We build our core portfolios using institutional mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) which have much lower expenses than retail funds. These funds provide tremendous diversification and enable us to design a portfolio specifically for you. Your Focus advisor will consider your overall financial situation, including your taxes, to create a prudent, long-term investment plan to achieve your goals.
Most of our clients have existing stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other investments that they have owned for years and want to retain. We are flexible in designing portfolios around legacy positions.