While each client brings a unique set of circumstances, our basic process is as follows:
- Establish a complete understanding of your objectives, goals and risk tolerance.
- Develop a financial plan and/or investment policy.
- Identify and select an appropriate investment vehicle or strategy.
- Allocate assets using our industry’s highest quality fundamental and technical research.
- Monitor and report investment performance.
- Adjust investment allocations as market conditions or investment objectives change.
Financial Planning Process:
We like to begin each client relationship with a financial plan. This plan serves as the foundation of our professional relationship with you. Initially, it is a fact-gathering tool, organizing and consolidating information about every aspect of your financial life. This process allows us to get to know you personally, as we discuss and establish goals, objectives and a vision of the future. It is also an opportunity for you to get to know us, as we explain our process and philosophy. Next, the plan serves as a road map for designing and selecting appropriate investment vehicles, strategies and processes for achieving your objectives. Finally, it serves as a baseline to review and measure success as the future unfolds. We often describe the financial plan as a living, breathing document. It will change and grow as your life progresses and your circumstances and objectives change.
In most cases, we believe that investment strategy should start with the basic principles of asset allocation and diversification.
Asset allocation is the distribution of a portfolio among the various classes of investments – stocks, bonds, cash, etc. Throughout investment history, no single asset class has been consistently superior to another, thus it is important to own a diverse mix. According to a frequently cited study by Brinson, Singer and Beebower, the proper allocation of a portfolio among the different asset classes can account for over 90% of the portfolio’s performance.
By combining the growth potential of stocks, the income of bonds, and the liquidity of cash, the structure and stability of a portfolio can be significantly enhanced. Stocks, bonds and cash tend not to gain or lose value at the same time, so an appropriate blend of the three will reduce the overall volatility of the portfolio. Careful asset allocation can help reduce the impact of various types of risk, produce income while allowing for long-term growth, and provide the liquidity required for short-term goals.
Our industry provides us with access to a steady stream of research regarding strategic and tactical asset allocation. Through our ongoing study of this research, we develop an understanding of where risks and opportunities are most likely to exist and use this information to guide our model portfolio allocations. Our investment committee meets at least weekly to formally review the model portfolios, but our attention to the markets and discussion of strategy continues every day.
In addition to allocating assets among the many classes, we believe it is important to diversify within those asset classes. Prudent diversification within stocks, for instance, may include investment in companies which are large, medium, and small in size, foreign and domestic in origin, and which represent value and growth business models. Within bond investing, some factors to be considered include duration, maturity, interest rate trends, and credit quality.
Once we have designed a properly allocated and diversified investment strategy, our task is to identify and select the most efficient investment vehicles available to construct your investment portfolio. In some cases this may be a model portfolio of individual investments that we manage, in others it may be a product managed by another company such as a mutual fund or annuity. We are committed to an open architecture of investment ideas and vehicles, and are consistently searching for and evaluating new ideas. Our commitment to you is that we will fully disclose and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each investment vehicle, including costs and fees associated with any recommendation, so that you can make an informed decision.