The results are in: When it comes to financial services, consumers are looking for companies that put their interests first—by delivering everything from objective advice to low costs.
In a survey released in 2015 by research firm Hearts & Wallets1, more than half of respondents said it’s “extremely important” that advisory fees be clear, understandable and low. Nearly the same percentage said that lack of bias and putting their interests first are extremely important.
At AdvicePeriod, we believe such results speak to a growing consumer demand for a different kind of financial advisory firm. Consumers want their advisors to be firmly on their side, especially in this era of financial complexity and market uncertainty. Our firm is built to answer this demand—by empowering our clients to succeed.
Here are six core ways we are markedly different from traditional investment firms:
- We charge commodity prices for commodity services.
Consumers should not pay traditional, excessive fees for the commoditized investment strategies that nearly all investment firms provide.
Our portfolios of index-based exchange-traded funds keep costs low while providing global diversification. Our ETFs’ average expense ratio is 15 basis points—or less than one sixth of a percent.
And AdvicePeriod clients typically pay a fixed or an asset-based fee that doesn’t change based upon their portfolio size or their mix of investments. We aim for our clients to pay premium fees only for premium services, including tax-focused investing and cutting-edge estate-planning solutions that can result in significant tax savings over time.
- We loathe conflicts.
AdvicePeriod is diametrically opposed to the conflicted and broken brokerage model. As fiduciaries, we are legally obligated to put our clients’ interest before our own. We derive income only from our client fees. And, we believe that any advisor’s prime motivation for being in the business should be to help their clients succeed, period.
- We believe in capital markets.
Over the long term, we believe stocks should outperform bonds, and bonds should outperform cash. That makes investing easy: like a ship raising its sails to harness the wind, AdvicePeriod provides our clients with low-cost, disciplined portfolios that capture the market’s returns over time to safely reach their destination.
This straight-forward, low-cost approach raises a question: Why would anyone hire expensive, active managers—especially since most routinely fail to even match the market’s returns? Time spent researching managers and implementing tactical portfolio changes can be better spent creating pure alpha.
- We are transparent.
Many investors don’t really know what they pay for the solutions they are sold—nor whether their advisor has a financial conflict of interest.
As fiduciaries, we are compensated only for the advice we provide. Without sales commissions, hidden fees or ambiguous incentives, we can focus on providing you with the best guidance possible for investing and every other dimension of your financial life.
- We are estate and income tax focused.
In a world where keeping wealth can be just as difficult as earning it, sophisticated estate planning can be worth its weight in gold.
We proactively develop solutions to ensure that your loved ones will receive as much of your wealth as possible, and that Uncle Sam will receive only the minimum he’s entitled to. Our emphasis on estate planning grows from an awareness that, in the long run, the amount of wealth you shield can dwarf the amount you earn as an investor.
Why don’t most advisory firms emphasize estate planning? Maybe because it’s less profitable than selling you investments. At AdvicePeriod, estate and tax planning is front and center because we realize the profound difference it can make for your family.
- Technology is at our core.
We’re nimble and we embrace change. As technology evolves, we are excited to incorporate new systems and processes into our business. We believe this has made us more effective, more efficient, and better able to serve our clients.
Partnering with best-in-breed technology solutions, we have incorporated “bionic” solutions like automatic tax-loss harvesting and rebalancing. We’ve also paved the way for integrated, cloud-based solutions that can do everything from trading to creating a living balance sheet. Such cutting-edge programs provide our clients with an amazing user experience, delivering transparency with disciplined investing.
At AdvicePeriod, we believe that the old, advisor-centric model is starting to crumble. In its place is rising a truly client-centered, forward-looking advisory model. It’s nothing less than a revolution, and we’re proud to be leading the way.