Q&A: Will You Be the Only Financial Planner Working with Me?

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In the CFP Board’s “Ten Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor ” they suggest, “Before establishing a relationship with a financial planner you will want to interview several people to make sure they’re the right match for you and exhibit key traits of a good advisor. Here are 10 important questions to ask before selecting a financial planner.”

In this series we are both providing an answer for Marotta Wealth Management as well as giving a longer analysis about the question, why the CFP Board may have included it, and how other organizations might answer if they were being truthful.

The sixth question is about team dynamics. It is difficult to envision all the reasons why the CFP Board thought this was an important question or how consumers would be able to judge the answer. Perhaps you should be concerned that some firms have very friendly and personable people whose sole job is to bring in business and you won’t even be working with the person who hooked your interest. Or perhaps the principle in the firm isn’t accessible to clients. Or perhaps there is no team and your services will be limited by the abilities of one person. At some firms the guiding principle is volume of sales.

At Marotta Wealth Management, we focus on the quality of service to the client.

6. Will you be the only financial planner working with me?

Some financial planners work with their clients directly, and others have a team of people that work with them. Ask who will handle your account, meet them and ask whether the planner works with professionals outside their own practice, such as attorneys, insurance agents or tax specialists. If yes, get a list of their names to check on their backgrounds.

Although you will have one primary point of contact, our team of specialists work in their area of expertise for all of our clients as needed.

It would be difficult for any one advisor to be an expert in every area of comprehensive wealth management. For this reason, studies suggest that multi-advisor firms both do better as a firm and do better for their clients. They can perform the work better, faster, and smarter by each specializing and then collaborating with other team members.

At some commission-based firms a single advisor receives the commissions from the products and services which they sell you. As a result even if you are at a big firm, no one else at the firm has much incentive to do work on your behalf. This silo approach to commissions leaves clients dependent on the expertise of a single salesmen to provide them with wealth management services, many of which cannot be reduced to a commission-based transaction. You deserve better.

At Marotta Wealth Management, we work to fulfill our fiduciary responsibility by dividing areas of expertise into specialties and allowing team members to expand their knowledge and competence as a specialist in that area.

We have support staff specialists who are experts in subjects such as Tax Planning, Roth conversions, or Retirement Planning. We have traders who specialize in Portfolio Management, rebalancing accounts, managing capital gains, and ensuring sufficient cash for client withdrawals. Beyond that, we also have an investment committee who is responsible for developing and reviewing our Asset Allocation design methodology, selecting and defining our asset classes, selecting and defining our sectors, determining the correct weight and dynamic tilt for each sector, selecting which specific securities are on our Buy List, and reviewing overall performance of client accounts on a quarterly basis to assess for any strategic changes.

In addition to traders and specialists, we have advisors who specialize in being the primary point of contact for groups of clients. These advisors specialize in understanding the situation, values, and goals of the clients they serve. Then, they translate that understanding into which financial services we should offer and pull in the appropriate specialist to do the analysis.

The collaboration between advisors, specialists, and traders provides different perspectives on financial planning which enhance the service we offer to clients.

At Marotta Wealth Management, we believe that a team collaborating on your behalf provides you with better service. Give us a call to get started today!

Photo by Wynand van Poortvliet on Unsplash

Follow David John Marotta:

President, CFP®, AIF®, AAMS®

David John Marotta is the Founder and President of Marotta Wealth Management. He played for the State Department chess team at age 11, graduated from Stanford, taught Computer and Information Science, and still loves math and strategy games. In addition to his financial writing, David is a co-author of The Haunting of Bob Cratchit.

Follow Megan Russell:

Chief Operating Officer, CFP®, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. She is the author of over 800 financial articles and is known for her expertise on tax planning.