- What is the cost of services?
- What is a CFP®?
- What is an AIF®?
- What is fee only vs. fee based?
- What does independent mean?
- Who don't you work with?
Our clients invest in an initial Financial Planning fee to build a comprehensive financial plan. The cost for this plan depends on the complexity of the circumstances and you can expect to invest several thousand dollars into this plan. Our goal is that when we deliver your family's financial plan that you believe it is one of the best investments you have made with your resources. These plans are very in depth and take several weeks to create. We like to keep in mind that cheap work isn't good and good work isn't cheap.
We are the money managers for our clients' assets and our clients pay us an annual percentage of their assets to professionally manage their portfolios. The cost of the investment management depends on the amount invested. If we decide to work together you will always have complete transparency as to what you are paying for the management and services provided.
Our firm prefers to use low cost investment vehicles where appropriate and available. We are also listed as a local resource for those investors interested in exclusively using Dimensional Fund Advisors investment vehicles.
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM (CFP®) certification is the gold standard for the financial planning industry and Christy has been a CFP® professional since 2009. It is our opinion that you should only seek financial advice from a CFP®. The CFP® certification requires four Es: education, examination, experience and ethics. The CFP® requires that you have a bachelors degree, pass a 2-day 10-hour exam, have 3 years of client facing work experience, and sign a Code of Ethics. Christy completes a minimum of 30 hours of continuing education every two years. Christy scored so highly on the CFP® examination in 2009 that the CFP Board identified her as a Subject Matters Expert (SME) and reached out to her to help with development of exam questions for future CFPs.
If you are simply a financial advisor and not a CFP®, you have to meet none of the requirements above and you are allowed to put your interests ahead of your clients when providing financial advice. For example, you could prioritize getting paid a commission over what is best for your client. We don't believe that this is the right way to treat people and therefore we do not operate our business in this structure.
An AIF® is an Accredited Investment Fiduciary® and it means Christy has taken another step to deepen her affiliation with the Fiduciary Standard. While being a CFP® implies that you are a fiduciary for your clients, the AIF® designation certifies that she has the specialized knowledge of fiduciary standards of care and their application to the investment management process.
To receive the AIF® designation, Christy completed a combination of education, relevant industry experience, completed a training program, successfully pass a comprehensive examination and agreed to abide by the Code of Ethics and Conduct Standards. In order to maintain the AIF® designation, she annually completes 6 hours of Fiduciary-specific continuing education and attests to the Code of Ethics and Conduct Standards.
If you work with Azimuth Wealth Management, Inc. you will always have full transparency as to what you are paying for the cost of services you are receiving. A fee-only advisor is prohibited only from receiving commissions or offering any kind of investment or insurance product to their clients that includes a commission. A commission is an upfront payment contingent on the sale of a product. For example, if you buy a life insurance policy the agent that recommended and sold the policy will be paid a commission when you pay your first premium, typically roughly equal to the first year's premium.
A fee-based advisor has the option to offer client's commission based insurance or investment products as part of their comprehensive financial plan and can be paid commissions on those products. Azimuth Wealth Management, Inc. is a fee-based advisor because while we do not recommend commission based investment products, we have found that many of our clients need life insurance, disability insurance, or long term care insurance as part of their family's risk management strategy. If they decide to move forward with a suggestion to improve their risk management strategy their preference is that Azimuth recommends the most appropriate solution, handles the application process and overall facilitates the procurement of the most cost effective and appropriate strategy. In order to offer this service to our clients we are considered fee based.
Our clients always have full transparency as to what commission the firms is paid and what alternatives exist.
It means we work for you and no one else. It seems obvious but many financial advisors represent a company's interest and therefore don't have your best interest in mind when giving financial advice.
Azimuth has chosen to hire Commonwealth Financial Network® to serve as its broker/dealer. A broker/dealer is a company that a registered investment professional is required to affiliate with in order to buy and sell investment products on behalf of investors. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delegates the supervision of financial advisors to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA, in turn, requires us to choose a broker/dealer to partner with on your behalf.
As the nation's largest privately held independent broker/dealer, Commonwealth has the scale, stability, and resources to help us deliver the solutions our clients need. With a staff of approximately 810, Commonwealth helps approximately 1,710 independent advisors serve their clients and manage total account assets of approximately $114.4 billion. The fact that we've chosen to work with Commonwealth means that our firm remains independent and free to act in your best interest, without pressure to promote a particular product or strategy. Commonwealth is also independently owned and managed, which means the firm retains the freedom to allocate resources where they're needed and to act in the best interests of its financial advisors and their clients— not shareholders.
The clients of our firm are the nicest people we know and we intentionally cultivate a firm that attracts like minded people. As Simon Sinek has taught us, the goal is not to do business with everybody who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.