What is a fee-only investment advisor?
A fee-only investment advisor is an advisor who is compensated exclusively by the client. This can occur through a combination of hourly, financial planning, and/or investment advisory fees, ultimately eliminating any conflicts of interest. A fee-only advisor receives no third-party commissions, or other compensation, from investments that they may recommend. Only in this structure can an advisor operate as a true legal Fiduciary.
What is a Fiduciary, and why is it so important?
A Fiduciary is an advisor that is bound by law to always act in your, individual, best interest. As a Certified Financial Planner, The Flanders Group is required to have a Fiduciary relationship with our clients.
There is currently no legal requirement for all financial advisors to operate at this capacity, and in fact most are not bound by this requirement. Many brokers, and their registered representatives, earn revenue via commissions earned on each trade they make and often sell their own proprietary products primarily, and sometimes exclusively. Through these actions a potential conflict of interest may arise, and the clients best interest rarely comes first.
What is a Certified Financial Planner®?
A Certified Financial Planner (CFP) is a professional designation attained by a person who has successfully completed the initial and ongoing requirements of the Certified Financial Planner Board.
To hold the designation, a designee is required to...
- Hold a bachelor degree or higher, as well as completion of a college-level program of study in personal financial planning, or an accepted equivalent, including completion of a financial plan development (capstone) course registered with the CFP board.
- Successfully pass the CFP certification examination. This examination assesses ones ability to apply their financial planning knowledge, in an integrated format, to financial planning situations.
- Have a minimum of three years of professional experience in the financial planning process, or two years of apprenticeship experience that meets additional requirements.
- Adhere to the high standards of ethics and practice outlined in the CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct and acknowledge the Board's right to enforce them through its Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.
Where is my money held?
All client accounts are held by a qualified independent third party custodian in your name. The Flanders Group, through our affiliation with 1st Global®, has the benefit of National Financial Services (NFS) as our custodian.
How is The Flanders Group affiliated with NFS (National Financial Services)?
The Flanders Group is completely independent from NFS. We are not compensated by that company in any way though our fees, commission, or incentives. National Financial Services is the clearing and custodial division of Fidelity Investments that serves investment advisors. The Flanders Group is supplied the necessary software and platforms that allows our in-house portfolio management system to efficiently interact with NFS' back office operations and trading desks. This software is available to all investment advisors.
Will I have online access to my account?
Absolutely! Free access is available to all clients through a special NFS website, MyStreetscape.com, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. The website is an easily accessible source for immediate account information, including monthly statements and year end tax information.
How often will I receive statements and reports?
National Financial Services sends out monthly statements to all clients for all accounts. They will also send out all trade confirmations, immediately after all transactions. The Flanders Group will send out a detailed performance report each quarter.
How is my account insured?
Your account is not an asset of National Financial Services, therefor it is not subject to their creditors. They simply are custodians of your assets. However, SIPC provides an additional layer of protection in the event of their failure.
Why should I work with a boutique investment firm as opposed to a large brokerage?
We have one goal: to improve your security and help you achieve your long term goals. We don't manufacture product, sell anything, custody assets, underwrite new issues, trade our own accounts, make markets, or loan money. At best, those activities are a distraction from our goals, at worst they generate unmanageable conflicts of interest.