What is a fiduciary, and are you one?
Simply put, a "fiduciary" is someone in a position of trust and confidence that must place the interests of those he or she serves ahead of their own. PathWise is a Registered Investment Adviser in California and complies with a host of government regulations designed to protect the consumer. This includes operating as a fiduciary to our clients.
How are you paid?
This will often depend on your situation and need for our services. A number of our clients have complex financial situations that require comprehensive, integrated, and objective advice. These clients will pay a flat fee that is determined by their income, balance sheet, and overall complexity of the work. This fee will range anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500 a quarter. An estimate is provided after an initial consultation when your personal needs are fully identified.
Other clients have a more straightforward financial situation and primarily need investment management and retirement planning advice. For them, a reasonable assets under management (AUM) fee is charged on the balance of investments we are directly overseeing for them.
It is important to note that we do not accept sales commissions because we are “Fee-Only” financial planners. We work solely for our clients. Because we do not sell financial products such as investments and insurance, there are no third-party relationships or outside influences to color our thinking and financial recommendations.
How many meetings per year do we have?
Mostly, this is up to you. We like to maintain regular meetings of approximately 2-4 times a year to review your situation. In cases where you desire less frequent meetings, we will accommodate your request but ask that we meet no less frequently than annually. If more frequent meetings are wanted, that is never a problem. We are always available when you need us.
What is your investment philosophy?
The core of our investment philosophy is based on overwhelming evidence and empirical data in the field of Investment Science and Modern Portfolio Theory. Our clients draw comfort from the knowledge that our strategies are shared by many noble laureates in economics and top business schools throughout the United States. A typical client portfolio will be diversified across stocks and bonds from the USA and throughout the world, including emerging markets. Ultimately, we believe that investors can have a successful investment experience without having to outguess the market.
For clients who are considered “qualified purchasers” based on government regulations, we also provide access to a variety of top-quality private equity funds, run by firms such as Silverlake Partners and Carlyle.
What makes you unique?
Well, we would like to say everything! But we do think there are a few distinguishing features of PathWise that you should consider when thinking about which advisor you select for your financial future:
- We have a significant tax focus (one of our partners is an active CPA and teaches at a local college).
- We are a fiduciary (we work for you and do what is in your best interest. We are not beholden to any managers, outside owners, or outside firms).
- We minimize conflict of interest (we structure our fees and our approach to align with your success).
- We consider a broad range of investment choices (We look at the entire investing universe: publicly traded investments, private equity, real estate, etc.).
- We are not going anywhere (we are not employees of larger firms, and we are here for the long run. We plan on working with you for decades).
- We limit how large we are (our clients are not just line items in an Excel sheet. We limit the number of clients our firm has at any one time so that our relationship is deep, comprehensive, and genuine).