The best wealth management firm in the Washington D.C. area will encourage you to ask as many questions as possible. You should feel a calming sense of confidence in the responses from any financial advisor. If there is hesitation or unclear answers, it may be in your best interest to keep looking.
This article will help better prepare you for interviewing a wealth manager and what questions to ask:
1. How long have you been a wealth manager?
2. On average, how long do your clients work with you?
3. What is your minimum asset requirement?
4. Do you serve as a fiduciary at all times?
5. Do you have a method or process to manage investments?
6. How often will you update my financial plan and portfolio?
Question 1. How long have you been a wealth manager (not education and training)?
Insight: If financial advisors in the Washington D.C. area dance around this number and flex their credentials, it’s a red flag. You are not interested in where they graduated college or obtained their licenses. You care about the longevity of their expertise in managing large amounts of assets.
Our point: You require a wealth manager and/or wealth management team with enough experience to feel safe knowing that you are in the best hands possible. Your portfolio should be upheld with respect, ongoing in-depth research, monitoring, and reporting.
Question 2. On average, how long do your clients work with you?
Insight: When investors feel like they are reaching their financial goals with the advisor in the driver’s seat, they aren’t going anywhere. Clients will gladly stay buckled up in the passenger seat for decades. You will trust your wealth manager more and more as the years pass and they prove to navigate the changing economy and market cycles with steadfast efforts.
Our point: Client commitment and longevity of relationships indicate that a wealth manager is worthy of earning your trust with your portfolio’s performance. If clients leave often, it’s a red flag: this professional might not be great at handling a particular aspect of what it takes to deliver white-glove services.
Question 3. What is your minimum asset requirement?
Insight: Wealth managers are generally responsible for managing larger amounts of wealth, assets, and investments. High-net-worth individuals and households require a financial advisor who works at that level.
Our point: If you’re the only HNW individual in their clientele, they might not have what it takes to support your kind of financial caliber. You require someone capable of amplifying your investment portfolio performance.
Question 4. Do you serve as a fiduciary at all times?
Insight: A fiduciary is upheld to the highest level of standard to protect clients. This means acting in your best interests at all times. Recommendations and advice should be focused on the outcome for you versus them, always.
A wealth manager should:
- Disclose everything transparently and put your financial goals first
- Suggest investment vehicles and their costs
- Only propose action if it benefits you
- Focus on optimizing your portfolio
Our point: There are various kinds of advisors out there, so make sure you know how they get paid and what type of pricing structure they work on: commission, fee-based, or fee only. As a fee-only fiduciary financial advisor in the Washington D.C. area, at Brown | Miller, everything is on the table at all times.
We can advise and orchestrate all aspects of your financial life:
- You can use them as an investment advisor, financial planner, estate planning advisor, tax strategist, retirement income specialist, risk management advisor, and more.
- Entrepreneurs are highly advised to seek financial planning services as their business assets should not intermingle with personal assets.
Question 5. Do you have a method or process to manage investments?
Insight: There is passive, active, strategic, and tactical investment management. Wealth management firms in the Washington D.C. area have different approaches, so make sure to look into this further, or call us to help explain the differences.
Our point: Whether your goal is to build wealth, purchase a home, donate to charities, leave a legacy behind, enjoy a cozy retirement, save for a child’s education, etc., our team can help you grow and preserve wealth.
We take a four-pronged approach to managing your investments:
- Asset allocation strategy
- Due diligence
- Portfolio construction
- Monitoring/risk management
We believe in global diversification using a combination of ETFs, mutual funds, and individual stocks for your portfolio (as appropriate). The ultimate objective is to help you reach your financial goals with the highest probability of success with the least amount of risk.
6. How often will you update my financial plan?
Insight: Sadly, many wealth managers have a set it and forget it method, which is not how wealth should be managed. You should not be just another number; you deserve to be prioritized and tended to.
Our point: Once a year is not enough – a lot can happen in the financial markets and your life within a year. If they don’t update your plan quarterly, it’s a red flag. To maintain peace of mind well into your golden years and preserve long-term wellness within your portfolio, you require a wealth manager who updates your plan quarterly.
This allows us to:
- Check-in with you
- Update your financial goals
- Continuously update your asset allocation
- Adjust your financial plan based on significant life changes
- Adjust your holdings based on market changes
- Walk through your long-term projections
Don’t paint the red flags white – you deserve boutique style service with a well- established and credible team of professionals on your side.
Brown | Miller helps accumulate and preserve wealth to make your wealth goals a reality while helping you manage market volatility.
Give us a call today to speak with a member of our team. We look forward to hearing from you!