There's no such thing as a free lunch
The first meeting is an opportunity for us to get to know you and for you to decide whether you want us to do work for you. The first meeting is free. We will broadly discuss issues relating to your needs and will be interested in finding out about you as a person. We will tell you about our services and fees. During the first meeting some people decide they want us to do work for them; if so we may start collecting data or we may arrange another meeting. Other people go away and think about what we have talked about and call us if they want to continue. It’s up to you.
The next step is to collect all the data that will help us to develop a financial plan. This involves answering questions relating to your current financial situation, your objectives and the risks you are prepared to take. Special effort is required regarding your current expenses and answering questions relating to your risk profile. It is useful to bring your tax returns, superannuation statements, and investment details with you. If your data is in a mess, just give us the pile and we can sort it out. Once you have signed the form for us to go ahead with data collection you are obliged to pay the plan fee.
A Statement of Advice (SOA) can take anywhere between one and six weeks to complete, depending on the workload at the time and the complexity of your situation. We will often call you to collect further information, and we may contact your accountant or your solicitor. Often we will contact the Australian Taxation Office or Centrelink, and getting the right information can take time.
Once the plan is complete we will present it to you as a draft. This is your opportunity to comment on the contents and have it changed. It is also an opportunity for us to test what we have written against what you require. We will make as many changes as necessary so that you are completely happy with what we are doing. We encourage you to take the plan away and read it after the presentation. In addition to the SOA you will receive research and product disclosure statements (PDS) relating to any investments or financial products we recommend. These documents contain information on which we have based our recommendations, and in the case of a PDS, more detailed information about product costs. This information is summarised in the SOA.
When you are happy with the plan, then you will be asked to sign an Authority to Proceed (ATP). This authorises us to take the steps necessary to implement the plan, including purchase of any investments or investment structures. Upon signing the ATP you are required to pay the implementation fee.
Implementing the plan can take some time – often several months. We will not invest your money without careful thought. That means waiting for market lows, and not purchasing investments that appear too expensive. We may contact you if large alterations to the plan are necessary. While this can cause delays, our experience is that careful purchasing is well rewarded.
The ongoing management service is designed to relieve you of the chores of looking after an investment portfolio, while retaining maximum flexibility. Formally you can have two meetings with us per year, but in practice many clients drop in or contact us whenever they have a question. We will contact you if there is anything new to tell you about, particularly if we have a concern about the portfolio, or if there is a new investment we think you should know about. Under our ongoing care service we undertake to work with your accountant, and deal with tax and social security matters.
Our goal is to meet your needs as a long-term client. Many of our clients have developed into “business friends”.
Our approach regarding fees is to disclose all direct and incidental fees in a clear and easy to understand format on one page in your financial plan. This is different from the industry norm, which requires financial planners to disclose only those commissions and fees which are paid by you directly. In many cases, investors who opt for commission-based financial advice end up paying a range of hidden fees. Our fee quotes include all advisor, administrative and set-up costs that you are likely to incur. The only exceptions are stamp duty on certain asset purchases and specialist consulting services.
If you are comparing our fees, make sure our competition has told you all their fees.
We will charge you a fee to write a financial plan for you. The fee is usually $1050, and may be more if the plan is complex.
We charge a fee of 1.4 per cent to set up your portfolio, based on the value of investable assets (excluding cash and assets which you already own). There is a lot of behind the scenes work in setting up a quality portfolio, and we do it all for you. The fee includes 3rd party set-up costs like brokerage paid to a stockbroker. The 1.4 per cent is calculated with respect to the actual work we do for you. You will not be charged on assets that you already own and that we do nothing with. We may reduce the implementation fee if your portfolio is very large, or very simple.
It’s up to you whether you want us to help manage your portfolio. If you do, we will charge you a fee based on the funds invested and we will provide a quote for the overall cost of managing your portfolio. It includes fees from all sources and will not be higher than for an equivalent retail managed fund.
Our schedule of fees reflects the normal amount of work involved in putting together a personalized financial strategy. Our fee quotes include all advisor, administrative and set-up costs that you are likely to incur. The only exceptions are stamp duty on certain asset purchases and specialist consulting services.