Got a question? Please ask.
We’re here to help, without all of the technical jargon. Please feel free to ask us a question about our services and our success.
You’re commission-free (or, fee-only). What does that really mean? What is the difference between fee-only and commission-based advisors?
Advisors who operate on a fee-only philosophy will not accept fees from sales – instead, they are paid a flat fee or percentage of assets under management for their services. Companies and individuals may prefer working with a fee-only investment advisor because they offer objective, unbiased advice that is more comprehensive than what other brokers or advisors may be able to offer.
There has been some confusion regarding the difference between a fee advisor and commission-based advisors. The commission-based advisors charge a fee in addition to their commission and call themselves “fee-based,” which is what is creating the confusion. However, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the key organization that oversees the fee-only financial advisors in the U.S. Advisors associated with this organization are true fee-only advisors.
Once advisors become registered with NAPFA, they agree to never take any compensation beyond the fee. This allows them to make recommendations that are unfettered and free of conflicts of interest.
“Fee-based” advisors sometimes offer the choice of fees or commissions, but they can’t really do both for the same client in the same account. People may be enticed by an offer that a commission may be cheaper for them, but that commissioned product may come without ongoing evaluation or any legal responsibility (fiduciary duty) for the advisor. Additionally, advisors can sometimes recruit a client with “fee-based” language, but then shift the client to what might be a much better deal for the advisor themselves, without the client realizing it.
In contrast, quality fee-only advisors are connected by a willingness to work on behalf of their client. Their work is in line with their personal philosophies and the client always comes first. It’s actually a mindset whereby the fee-only advisor functions as if he/she were the client, but with the expertise inherent in a financial advisor with years of experience. We’re proud to be fee-only, and a part of the NAPFA directory.
Are your services insured and regulated?
We combine elite worldwide managers and performance with reduced overall expenses, and we do it in an institutional environment where accounts are insured at $100 million per account. Our regulator is the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and all filings, disclosures, and regulatory history are easily available through the SEC website.
Why are you different than a bank?
Since 1998, we’ve worked full-time managing our clients’ investments. Many banks operate on a more-is-better “mass” approach, but Family Investment Center treats clients in a truly individual way because asset management is our primary focus. We can also help educate clients along the way in ways other organizations cannot.
We’re also different because we earn our fees by representing clients. We work as a buyer for each client family, matching low-cost and productive investments to their circumstances and goals. Our commission-free platform values expertise and experience above sales ability. Our experience and credentials are both professional and academic, unlike a formal bank setting. Yet we’re registered, approved, and secured like any other major financial institution.
The Family Investment Center team realizes that decisions you make about your money impact your thoughts, emotions, feelings, and family life. We have extensive academic experience in the emotions of money to share, along with our professional credentials. In fact, our founder and CEO, Dan Danford, is often called upon by major media sources such as the Wall Street Journal for his knowledge of emotions and financial planning. View our Media Mentions here.
How do I stay informed of fees you charge for services?
Each month you will receive a statement of all accounts from the custodian (i.e. Charles Schwab). In addition, each quarter you will receive a printed report from our firm detailing balances, positions, growth, and more. Both the monthly custodial statement and our quarterly report will clearly indicate the fees charged for our services.
You’ll also receive our occasional mailings to keep you up-to-date on exciting news and information from our team members.
We welcome you to become part of our “family.” Contact our team today.