FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How safe are my assets? What protections do you have in place?
The majority of our clients' assets are held in custody with National Financial Services (NFS), a Fidelity Investments company. Fidelity's financial stability, its compliance with industry regulations, and its insurance protection all serve to help safeguard your investments.
Securities in accounts carried by NFS are protected in accordance with the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) up to $500,000. For claims filed on or after July 22, 2010, the $500,000 total amount of SIPC protection is inclusive of up to $250,000 protection for claims for cash, subject to periodic adjustments for inflation in accordance with terms of the SIPC statute and approval by SIPC's Board of Directors.
NFS has also arranged for coverage above these limits. Neither coverage protects against a decline in the market value of securities. Total excess of SIPC coverage would be used only when SIPC coverage is exhausted. Total aggregate excess of SIPC coverage available through NFS's excess of SIPC policy is $1 billion. Within NFS's excess of SIPC coverage, there is no per-customer dollar limit on coverage of securities, but there is a per-customer limit of $1.9 million of coverage of cash. This is the maximum excess of SIPC protection currently available in the brokerage industry.
For additional information regarding investor protection and the safeguarding of your assets through Fidelity please refer to this link.
Where are my assets held? Do you have the backing of any large financial corporations?
We do not hold your assets at Divergent Wealth Advisers. As we established our firm, we knew that in the world of investments we had a vast number of options for an independent, primary custodian of the assets for which we would have responsibility. After much research, deliberation, and considerable effort we chose to place in custody all our client assets with Fidelity Investments.
Fidelity is renown in the investing world as a company of depth, breadth, and history. We felt that they offered the most complete package of reputable history, financial stability, and service reliability. As the custodian of our clients’ assets, they are our biggest partner.
They are a family-owned and privately held business with deep conservatively managed roots and are one of the largest asset custodian and brokerage firms in the world. That they are not publicly traded matters a lot to us as it removes the serious challenges of putting shareholders ahead of investors in both their philosophy and practices of doing business. We are pleased to note that it has never had the bailouts that many Wall Street firms have required.
Can you provide past performance for your investment models?
Absolutely, we have spent a considerable amount of money hiring a third-party to calculate and verify the performance that is reported to clients and prospects. We have used a third-party to eliminate conflicts of interest. Too often we’ve seen advisors’ cherry-picking specific accounts and metrics to be calculated.
Do you help advise on 401(k) Investments?
Yes, we do. For many people, a (401(k) comprises a large part of their net worth and should be carefully managed as a critical part of their financial plan. While we cannot manage these investments directly, we can monitor them and advise clients on how best to take the greatest advantage of their 401(k) accounts.
What is the Financial Planning Process you use?
When we meet with clients for the first time, we gather information about their own personal, current financial condition and then using our state of the art computer program, we (1) project where they will be on a yearly basis for their foreseeable future; (2) help them to choose the assumptions that determine their projected financial status and (3) work with them to adjust the variables that impact their investment approach.
In this process, we sit with them as coaches and educators, helping them to understand how their current situation and assumptions play out as they look to the future. By the end of the first meeting, our clients typically (1) have a clear understanding of their present financial condition, (2) know where that condition will take them as they move forward and (3) understand what adjustments they will need to make to meet their future goals and expectations.
A key strategic element to the Divergent Wealth Advisor's approach in our planning and strategy sessions with clients is to create a “worst-case scenario” environment, and then to have a plan that works in that scenario. If the future is better than the worst-case scenario we created, which hopefully it will be, the clients’ overall plans achieve more than was implied by the worst-case design. This planning process empowers clients because not only do they vividly see a plan for their future, but they understand it. That is exciting!
We believe that our planning engagement process is truly what sets us apart from any competition. Too often when you engage a financial planner, they will send you a twenty-page document that must be filled out and sent back prior to your appointment. Often, their assistant inputs your information into a computer program which spits out a report of which the vast majority of your appointment is spent reviewing. That planning process is inefficient and does not qualify as a best practice means to effective financial advising. Clients do not fully understand the assumptions or different combinations of assumptions that go into the plan and, therefore, they often fail to take ownership of it or stick to it. Over the next few days, weeks, or months, for the investor the plan ultimately becomes meaningless.
What are your fees?
The great majority of the time we use the “assets-under-management” fee structure and are typically referred to as “fee-based” advisors. This means that instead of charging a larger commission every time a buy or sell is done, we charge a much smaller annual fee that encompasses or includes all transactions as well as all planning and advising costs. On the rare occasion that a specific investment or insurance vehicle is the most appropriate and is commission based, we disclose all costs and commissions for the product and weigh them against other alternatives.
Do you speak at events?
Yes. For public or private speaking events, please call (385) 237-4000 to inquire about costs and topics.