Fiduciary Five

Five Vital Steps To Choosing A Financial Advisor

Should you talk to a Financial Advisor?, ask for Financial Planning?, What about Asset Management? What is Wealth Management? What is the difference between Investment Management and an investment manager? What is an Investment Adviser or Registered Investment Adviser?

What really matters is not immediately apparent, but I believe this becomes clear when you focus on these 5 key areas.

1. Fiduciary Distinctions
2. Financial Planning
3. Investment Management
4. Client Service
5. Total Client Cost

Investment Management, Financial Planning, And Market Insights

CBIM Key Differentiators

– Everywhere You Look –

There are many terms used for Financial Services, and a great range of firms and individuals in the Bethesda, and Washington DC area.

  • Should you talk to a Financial Advisor?
  • Ask for Financial Planning?
  • Asset Management?
  • Wealth Management?
  • Investment Management or an investment manager?
  • Investment Adviser or Registered Investment Adviser?

What really matters to the client is not immediately apparent from any of these names, but this becomes very clear when you focus on 5 key areas.

Five Key Areas of Financial Services

  1. Fiduciary Distinctions
  2. Financial Planning
  3. Investment Management
  4. Client Service
  5. Total Client Cost

Crucial Fiduciary Distinctions

“The term financial advisor is a generic term that usually refers to a broker (or, to use the technical term, a registered representative). By contrast, the term investment adviser is a legal term that refers to an individual or company that is registered as such with either the Securities and Exchange Commission or a state securities regulator.”

Fiduciary Duty – Part 1

“The fiduciary duty requires an investment adviser, by law, to act in the best interest of her clients, putting her clients’ interests ahead of her own at all times.”

Fiduciary Duty – Part 2

“Under the fiduciary duty, an investment adviser must provide advice and investment recommendations that she views as being the best for the client. In addition to being obligated to put clients’ interests ahead of their own, fiduciaries must also adhere to the duties of loyalty and care.”

Fiduciary Duty – Part 3

“An investment adviser, subject to the fiduciary duty, is required to provide up-front disclosures to the client, before any contracts are signed to provide investment advice. These disclosures cover important topics such as the investment adviser’s qualifications, services provided, compensation, range of fees, methods of analysis, record of any disciplinary actions and possible conflicts of interest, if any.”

Fiduciary Duty – Part 4

“An investment adviser that has a material conflict of interest must either eliminate that conflict or fully disclose to its clients all material facts relating to that conflict.”

Levels of Fiduciary Standing

With a series 65, or 66 exam an advisor can claim Fiduciary standing.

However, there are many Levels of Fiduciary Standing (see Caveats to the right). Fiduciary level depends on all these factors.

In many cases the type of company an Adviser works for indicates how compromised Fiduciary Standards are likely to be.


  1. Is the Advisor legally vulnerable to the Fiduciary Standard? Or in practice is the Advisor to a large degree legally immune as an employee of a large organization?
  2. Does the Advisor work for an organization that commits to the Fiduciary Standard?
  3. Do their business practices fully align with the Fiduciary Standard?

As an Independent Investment Adviser Representative affiliated with Belpointe, I pay for services.

I am not an employee.

I am highly exposed to Fiduciary Standards.

Belpointe and Fiduciary Standards

Belpointe is committed to very high levels of Fiduciary Standards. One of their core businesses is Advisors for CPA firms. CPA’s have very high requirements and standards.

Their business practice is highly aligned, transparent, and focused on people more than products.

This is what you see in how we practice.

Financial Planning… as normally practiced

Financial Software Packages, while available, are very suboptimal and almost never used when working with CPA

Financial Software Packages

  1. Expensive! Sometimes $4,000 first year then $1,000 each year
  2. Linear Assumptions, projected for 50 years actually only help people with linear lives!
  3. 100 page reports provide too much information, much of it very theoretical or not very useful.
  4. Huge amount of work, by both the client and advisor, filling out forms, learning software, and soon go out of date.
  5. All about goals and products.
  6. Mechanically “pigeon holes” the client into products and an over simplified static investment allocation.

Great business plan for the Advisor! How about the client?

Financial Business Plan For Life

  1. Integrate and coordinate all forms of planning.
  2. Cash Flow, Tax Planning, Investment Planning, and Estate Planning; done individually and in combination.
  3. Provide multiple “what if” scenarios for now and down the road. For complex and dynamic lives.
  4. Aim for quality of life. Endeavor to quantify freedoms allowing you to enjoy guiltlessly what you have sacrificed, and worked so hard for.

Our Focus

Our focus is much more on guidance and the person. While the numbers are important we engage in much more:

  1. Individual Summary
  2. Directional Summary
  3. Suitability Summary
  4. Multiple books read by everyone in the network
  5. 80 Webinars
  6. Client Health
  7. Change Management

And much more!

This is much more than just numbers, and also much more than just financial products.

Regaining control of your finances, creating peace of mind, and a better platform for your life involves a dynamic “Business Plan For Life”.

Investment Management Part 1

  1. Track record. Past, current, and every day going forward.
  2. Declares own positions and changes. They are the same as the client! Both the position AND the time stamp for execution.
  3. Real time reportingwith Orion Advisor client portalproviding daily positions, allocation, and performance of every position, account, and aggregate returns over any period.
  4. Tactical Investment Management, which includes risk management, and constantly adaptive management towards positive expected return. MPT wholly rejected.
  5. Probably the lowest brokerage costs anywhereat less than 10 bp per year of Assets, regardless of trade frequency. Not just low cost, but also this enables limitless investment strategies, many of which are normally ruled out through transaction costs.

Investment Management Part 2

  1. Weekly blog and email with an update on activity and strategy.
  2. Full transparency and access to actual the investment manager. Little to no third party investment management. This significantly lowers the client’s investment cost.Third party investments involve additional costs!
  3. Wider range of investments– options, gold, corporate bonds, international stocks, etc.
  4. Clients share Investment Models in suitable proportions with the asset manager.

Exceptional combination of Low cost, Transparency, and Alignment with a client. With multiple strategies and extensive range of security types, with a weekly update, and daily performance access on Orion client portal.

Asset manager who has exactly the same position as you! Where you know in detail the track record… past, present and future!

Client Service

  1. The whole national network is remote. This means everything can be done over the phone and internet. Very easy for the client.
  2. Clients never have forms to complete, or “home work” to do. All information is gathered verbally as far as possible. This is an opportunity for discussion, and better understanding to get on the same page.
  3. Every Adviser has at least one additional client service person. Clients receive multiple points of contact within the organization to cover such a wide range of subjects.

Most comprehensive Adviser services are around 1.5% to 1.8% of Assets Under Management. My per annum fee only service is:

1%: Up to 1 million
0.75%: 1 million – 3 million
0.5%: Above 3 million

Not including brokerage, which is less than 0.1%.