How are you compensated and when do you get paid?
We are a fee-only advisor firm, with quarterly billing in arrears, calculated as a percentage of overall managed assets. Typically, our fee is automatically deducted directly from your investment account(s) under management. We submit a copy of your bill to you each quarter. You’ll also receive separate monthly account statements from your independent asset custodian, so you can verify that our billing meets your expectations.
What services do you offer beyond investment management?
In addition to managing your investment portfolio, we provide retirement and financial planning services, including analysis and input regarding your non-investment assets, debt structure, insurance coverage and other financial decisions. Like a company’s Chief Financial Officer, we serve as your personal CFO, to help you maximize your overall, after-tax net worth. Both our investment management and related services as described are covered under your one, transparent quarterly fee, as mentioned above.
How does FVIM differ from brokerage firms, trust companies, banks and other asset management firms?
We are a fee-only, Registered Investment Advisor firm. Our only revenue comes from ongoing fees we receive directly from you, our client; we receive no compensation from outside sources. We prefer the fee-only model for the objectivity and transparency it brings to our relationship. Our fee is calculated as a percentage of overall assets we manage, which aligns our interests with yours. (As your assets grow, we do better as well.) We also find it the best fit for our fiduciary obligation as a Registered Investment Advisor firm, which obligates us to always serve your highest interests, first and foremost.
In contrast, brokerage firms, trust companies, banks and many other firms’ revenues comes partly or entirely from commissions or transaction fees. We feel this model of third-party compensation fosters incentives to recommend products or trades that may not be in your highest, best interest. Firms outside of the Registered Investment Advisor role do not owe you a fiduciary duty, which in our opinion further erodes the strength of the relationship.
Do you work with my current advisors (attorneys, CPAs and other professionals)?
We are pleased to work with your advisors to ensure that we are collectively apprised of and smoothly addressing your interrelated goals and circumstances. We proactively strive to build strong relationships with each of your advisors, so we can best pool our collective expertise on your behalf.
Will I receive reports to help me or my accountant prepare my tax returns?
Each year, your independent account custodian will send a Form 1099 for your taxable account(s).
How often do you review my investments?
Each business day, we run a transaction ledger to monitor cash flows in your accounts. We also review your portfolio at least quarterly for cash-flow, rebalancing or other ongoing management needs. This allows us to keep your portfolio on track toward your goals while also serving as a second set of eyes to help identify any unusual activity that may warrant attention.
How often will you communicate with me?
We rely on you to help us determine how often and under what circumstances you would like to meet. We try to strike an effective balance between being available to you, yet respectful of your time. We’ll send you a quarterly report so you can track the performance of your investments’ rate of return (net of fees) at various breakpoints, such as annually, year to date, and since inception. We’ll also include a letter with your report, summarizing topics of timely interest, plus we post regular blogs to help you remain informed and maintain perspective relative to your investment activities. We prefer to meet with you in person at least annually, but we can augment face-to-face meetings with phone calls or emails as appropriate.
What if I move out of the area?
Many of our clients live outside the Pacific Northwest, so we are experienced at serving long-distance clients as if they were here by substituting in-person meetings with email, web services such as Go-To-Meeting and, of course, the telephone.
Where are your clients located?
We have clients based in Washington, Oregon, California and many other states around the country.
What is NAPFA?
Matt Ebeling is a NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor® which represents the top level of membership in the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (www.napfa.org). All NAPFA‐Registered Financial Advisors® must:
- Demonstrate three years of comprehensive financial planning experience.
- Pass a sample comprehensive financial plan peer-review process.
- Possess a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and either a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) or CPA/PFS designation.
- Complete 60 hours of continuing education requirements every two years.
- Provide investment and/or financial advice strictly on a fee‐only basis as defined by NAPFA.
Who is Charles Schwab?
While we manage your assets for you, they are held in your name, under your control at an independent outside custodian. Our primary asset custodian is Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab” or “Schwab Institutional”). In rare circumstances, there may be a need to hold your assets elsewhere. When that is the case, we will go over the reasoning and procedures with you, to ensure you’re completely comfortable with the decision. Schwab provides clarity and transparency by sending you separate monthly statements, online account access, and trade confirmations. Schwab also provides security and insurance measures to ensure your assets’ safety. We are happy to provide additional details on these measures upon request.
Who is Dimensional Fund Advisors?
University of Chicago graduates David Booth and Rex Sinquefield founded Dimensional Fund Advisors in 1981 to offer a then-revolutionary new investment model guided by the science of investing. Since its founding, Dimensional has developed a worldwide presence, offering an array of low-cost, efficiently managed funds that enable investors to capture global dimensions of expected returns according to their personal goals and risk tolerances.
Dimensional’s objective is to “deliver the performance of capital markets and increase returns through state-of-the-art portfolio design and trading.” Its board of directors include Nobel laureate Eugene Fama, among other academic and professional luminaries.
Dimensional’s objective is to “deliver the performance of capital markets and increase returns through state-of-the-art portfolio design and trading.” It does so under the guidance of an impressive line-up of academic luminaries.