After 20 years of personal experience in the wealth management industry, we believe that many institutions managing investor assets today are conflicted in ways that lead predictably to problems for clients ranging from simple dissatisfaction to actual unethical and outright illegal behavior.
The ethical lowlights arising from these conflicts are reported frequently in the press and posted on the websites of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“Press Releases”) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“Monthly and Quarterly Disciplinary Actions.”)
At Garrison Murphy Wealth Management, our firm was built to eliminate these conflicts. To highlight the difference that makes, we will often discuss with prospective clients a list of questions we would ask if the roles were reversed. There’s a story behind each of these that we’d be happy to share, and a sample of the questions is posted below.
While each is not relevant in every circumstance, and some answers could reasonably vary, we would personally leave any meeting after wrong answers to the first three because we view them as the root cause of virtually all misfortune suffered by investors and there’s no shortage of better options available.
We suggest that you ask questions like these prior to working with anyone, including us.
- Have you ever been personally disciplined by an industry regulator?
- Is your firm a fiduciary to me at all times?
- Do you personally receive any compensation because of products selected for me or my accounts?
- Do the owners of the firm spend substantial time working directly with clients?
- How many relationships do you personally manage?
- What percentage of those relationships invest more than $5 million dollars with you?
- If your personal specialty is investing, have you worked in any institutional investment capacity? (research team, fund management, etc.) How much money did this institution manage and what was your role?
- If your personal specialty is investing, have you obtained a CFA designation? If not, why?
- If you provide advice to individuals, do you have a CFP® designation? If not, why?
- Does your firm receive any compensation from the managers of any investment option on your approved list? Do investment firms have to pay to get on your approved list?
- How does your firm get paid?
- How do you think about taxes within your investment philosophy?
- Will my portfolio be invested identically to any others at your firm?
- What aspects of my relationship can I see on my mobile device?
- Who can I talk to about what it’s like to work with you?