facebook twitter instagram linkedin google youtube vimeo tumblr yelp rss email podcast phone blog search brokercheck brokercheck Play Pause


FAQ

Of the many dimensions of a wealth management offering (e.g. investment management, financial planning, behavioral coaching, financial concierge, family dynamics coaching) which do you think are your strengths and/or areas of emphasis?

We believe that our strength and all facets of “wealth management” stem from financial planning. By putting an emphasis on financial planning, we give ourselves the ability to see the entire picture with more clarity enabling us to give prudent investment, tax, insurance, and legacy planning guidance.

How do you work with external advisers?

Each member of our firm has a unique area of expertise, and we believe that a team-based approach is the most prudent way to work on behalf of our clients. However, we do expand our “roster” with outside trusted professionals if we feel that they can add value.

We are firm believers that there should be one professional that leads the charge, and we typical prefer that our investment advisors fall into that role to ensure efficient facilitation of advice.

Considering the range of wealth management firms, why have you chosen to affiliate with your firm?

As a privately-owned firm, we don’t work for anyone other than our clients, and in their best interest always.

Considering the range of wealth management firms, why have you chosen to affiliate with your firm?

The biggest advantage of our business model is the flexibility to incorporate a tax practice within our investment advisory business. This allows us to bring together the two most important components of wealth management and the ability to add additional value.

Our biggest disadvantage is that in order to maintain the highest quality of service to our clients, we are limited to the number of families we’re able to work with.

Describe any conflicts of interest that could exist between us, and how you would propose to address or manage them. Would you certify that you are acting as a fiduciary on my behalf at all times?

Conflicts of interest generally do not exist, but if one were to arise, it would be fully disclosed. The most common scenarios are related to commission-based insurance products. However, and because our financial planning process is objective, no product will ever be recommended unless we’ve determined it to be in your best interest.

Who has physical control of my assets under your management? If I were to terminate our relationship, could I transfer my assets, or would I need to liquidate them?

Assets are never physically held directly with us. Although we are custodian agnostic, we primarily work with Fidelity Investments.

Our investment advisor relationship can be terminated at any time and be either party. If we were to part ways, you would be able to ACAT (transfer in kind) the assets to another custodian, or leave them with Fidelity, and simply remove us from the account. Liquidation is not necessary.

How is my digital information protected? Have you suffered any data compromises in the last 5 years, and if so, how were those situations resolved?

We are fortunate to have not had a data breach, but data compromises can happen to anyone. What’s most important is that we have invested in the highest level of security to protect it and work with a third-party provider to ensure ongoing security.



CLIENT EXPERIENCE

Of your clients that are like me, how often do you interact with them and in what way?

Client communication is on the client by client basis. At minimum, we prefer to meet three (3) times a year:

  1. Tax Return Preparation and Review (February 1st – April 15th)
  2. Mid-Year Review: (July 1st – August 30th)
  3. Year-End Planning: (October 1st – Mid-December)

Additionally, we want to meet more frequently during certain life events (i.e. job loss/change, retirement, passing of a loved one)

Finally, it should be noted that once we enter an investment advisor agreement, a client can call a meeting at any time.

Ongoing, how would I receive updates on our relationship? Would I have digital access at my convenience to information about my relationship?

Accounts held at Fidelity: You will receive a monthly statement and can access the account at any time on-line.

Insurance contracts: You will receive a statement annually on the anniversary date of the initiation of the contract.

Client Portal: We hold all information pertaining to your relationship with the firm in our client portal that clients have online access to. We currently use industry leader eMoney.

What routine reports would I receive and how often? Who prepares these reports? Is customization of the reports to suit my preferences available?
  1. Performance Report (specific to accounts held at Fidelity): We prepare these reports bi-annually through our reporting software, and we can customize these to your liking.
  2. Net-worth statement: We generally provide this anytime we meet. It enables clients to see their entire financial position on one document.
  3. Estate Plan Analysis: Annually, during year-end reviews.
  4. Additional reports upon request:  
    • Retirement analysis
    • Cash flow projections
    • Insurance vs. Investing Comparison
    • Portfolio analysis
    • Investment risk assessment
Do your clients interact with each other, and if so, in what formats or venues?

The biggest event of our year is our annual pie day, held on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving every year. This is well attended, and clients always have the opportunity to engage with one another.



INVESTING PHILOSOPHY AND APPROACH

What do you think your specific added value is, and how would I recognize that in our relationship?

We believe that our value is added from several services that we provide on an ongoing basis. We summed this up in our Value of Advice piece where you can find additional information.

Is management of my wealth more about “winning” or “not losing?” How is that reflected in what you do for me?

Both, as we firmly believe the following are three (3) most important things in wealth management:

  1. Asset Allocation: 90% of investment returns are based on asset allocation, and not individual stock selection, or market timing. All our portfolios are professionally managed and monitored to ensure clients are properly diversified, and within their risk parameters on an ongoing basis.
  2. Timing of Withdrawals: A major component of our financial planning process is understanding when assets will be withdrawn. This is important as we tend to pair back risk as we get closer to the withdrawal date as we simply don’t have time to recover if that date coincides with a market downturn.
  3. Tax Management: On average, proper tax management can benefit a portfolio by 0.75 – 1%. The primary drivers within our tax management process is asset location (understanding what investment to hold within accounts based on tax classification), investment income tax mitigation, and tax harvesting. For a better understanding please visit the Value of Advice link listed above.

Our body of work, and not one specific part of our process is what will be reflected in the value we add to our clients.

What is your approach to investment management? Do you prefer a particular investing style? Do you prefer particular investment vehicles?

We use modern portfolio theory as a general guideline to investment management. At the most simplistic level, this ensures the right mix of investments are in our investment portfolios to optimize returns per unit of risk. What makes us different is our ability to minimize investment tax liability, and tailor the associated risk based on expected portfolio withdrawal dates.

We are agnostic to the type of investment vehicles, and focus on the following criteria:

  • Internal expense ratio
  • Commission free
  • Tax efficiency
  • Manager tenure
  • Style consistency
What is your approach to financial planning? Will you create a financial plan for me? How often is it updated?

We primarily focus on goals-based planning bespoke to each family that we’re working on behalf of. We encourage every client to allow us to create a financial plan for them during our onboarding process, and this service is inclusive in our fee for assets under our management. Part of our process is leaving flexibility for change, and for that reason we meet 2-3 times per annum and can update the plan at any given time if a change is deemed necessary.

How do you integrate tax planning and strategies for my account? Does your team have tax expertise that is available to me, or do you prefer to work directly with my own tax advisor?

We integrate the following tax planning strategies for client accounts:

  • Dividend tax analysis: there are multiple dividend tax classifications, and we determine which is most advantageous based on our assessment of each tax situation.
  • Tax-loss harvesting: as described above, this is the process of advantageously selling off securities at a loss, while subsequently reinvesting to a similar security, enabling us to apply the loss to future tax obligations while staying fully invested.
  • Charitable gifting: if there’s an organization near and dear to your heart, we’ll help optimize the tax benefits of donations.
  • Legacy planning: an estimated 35 – 45% of wealth is inherited vs. earned, and for that reason, we focus a lot on taxes within our legacy planning process to ensure we’re optimal for your heirs.

We believe that at the core of financial advice is the ability to understand and give tax guidance. For this reason, we prefer to prepare our clients annual tax returns, and have a CPA on staff to provide year-round tax related guidance.

Are you able to assist me with any of the following: Philanthropic strategy, family dynamics, closely held business exits, estate planning? and if so, what is your preferred approach?

Yes, and because these are complex strategies, we review each situation internally to determine the next best steps. We prefer to keep the work in-house. However, we will refer to an outside professional and hold a joint meeting if necessary.



FEES AND EXPENSES

Are alternative fee arrangements available?

We do not have arrangements outside of our listed fees – by staying within the boundaries of our pricing guide, it ensures that we’re impartial to clients, and allows us to maintain the highest level of service while remaining profitable as a firm.

What other expenses would I expect to incur as part of our relationship?

Tax preparation: to cover the cost of E&O insurance, our tax software and seasonal employees, we do charge a nominal fee to our financial clients for tax preparation. We charge $100 for a standard tax return (this includes state and federal as well as e-filing services), and $135 if you itemize. You can find the full version of our tax service here: Lakeshore Tax Consulting – Services and Pricing