We differ from most of our competitors in several ways. First, we are generally compensated only by fees paid by our clients thereby allowing us to work in our clients' best interests and solely for them. In other words, we act in a fiduciary capacity when advising our clients. We have found that, many of our competitors receive the bulk, if not all, of their compensation (commissions) from the products they recommend. It is our understanding, that at times there are commissions and compensation fees, which are not transparent to the client. It has been our experience that other firms work as a fiduciary for their client only part of the time (they charge a fee part of the time) and are commissioned salespeople at other times. These advisors can be fee-based; which can be confusing to clients if they think they are fee-only. In both of these situations, the individuals that represent these firms have an incentive to recommend high cost products, such as whole life insurance, annuities, and retail shares of mutual funds. Depending on the client and the situation either of the above methods of compensation is perfectly appropriate. In fact, in certain instances, commissionable products are the only route that can be taken, which can be entirely appropriate, if the recommendation is coming from an independent un-biased non-captive sales person. Although our entity has the capacity to act as both a broker for insurances we are truly fee-only for securities advisory services to the client. Our founder is critical in representing their Mission Statement in that the client's best interests will always be served first and foremost.
The second major way in which we differ from our competitors is that we work as a team for our clients, providing personal attention every step of the way. In most firms, each advisor has his or her own set of clients. While any two advisors in the same firm may operate in a somewhat similar manner, clients may receive two different levels of service as well as quality of advice. At The Art and Science of Successful Planning, all clients are considered firm clients and are counseled in the same manner and receive the same innovative level of advice and hands-on, courteous service. Each of our advisors specializes in a different area and works on the clients' behalf in a concerted manner thereby helping to ensure the quality of advice and level of service we are providing. Also, we take over the time-consuming task of managing client's affairs among multiple disciplines both internal and external.
We are also eager to work with a client's existing advisor(s) and to collaborate to recommend strategies that address our client's needs. Should a client need an advisor in a particular area that requires expertise that The Art & Science of Successful Planning does not provide, (for example a labor or estate planning attorney, medical practitioner or accountant, if we were counseling a business or individual), we will recommend a pre-screened professional who can assist in this area.
If you are one of these professionals and you are inspired by our commitment to our clients you are encouraged to contact us.
We further differ from our competitors in that we create customized strategies for our clients. One simple example of this is, oftentimes, our clients come to us with investments, which have a low cost basis. I have found that many of our competitor's firms, they would simply sell the asset(s) and fit the proceeds into their investment offering. At The Art & Science of Successful Planning, a comprehensive analysis of all tangible (example: Real Estate) and intangible (example: securities) investments as well as their tax ramifications would first take place and then be discussed at length. A strategy would then be developed and agreed upon by the client. If a particular security no longer fits the portfolio, a plan of attack would be developed to liquidate it. Typically, those investments with a low cost basis would be whittled down over time, utilizing losses from other securities.
Not only do we have a number of investment management offerings, which can be tailored to each client's needs, but we are constantly on the lookout for new investment strategies, which we can offer to our clients.
If you are an advisor or broker who would like to share your thought provoking ideas with us please contact us.