The securities markets reflect an infinite variety of investment philosophies and strategies. We consider ourselves seasoned guides in the market - but also perennial students. We continually research our ideas to better client performance. The one constant in the securities markets is change, so flexibility is a key tenet. We want to maintain the ability to adapt and adjust to the ever-changing investment landscape. This means we try to avoid illiquid investments and overly rigid strategies.
We often use both "active" and "passive" investment vehicles, depending on the market sector and the economic cycle. We use exchange-traded funds (ETFs), closed-end funds and open-end mutual funds. We will occasionally employ separate account managers who direct investments in a sub-sector of the market. No-load, low-cost variable annuities may be incorporated to reduce personal income tax liabilities for high income clients. We also buy and sell individual stocks and bonds. Our objective in each case is to build the best "risk-adjusted" portfolio we can - one designed to deliver returns and risk in line with your Investment Policy Statement.
Risk management is an essential focus. We prefer to deliver steady gains to our clients rather than scary (but sometimes thrilling) swings in returns. As a result, diversification is a fundamental part of our investment philosophy. We thoughtfully allocate assets across a global investment market, pulling in international stocks and bonds, and other investments designed to "smooth-out" your investment experience. When a segment of the market is "hot", for example, technology stocks, your diversified managed portfolio will probably not keep up with the hot sector, but in down markets, we hope our diversification efforts will reduce the magnitude of portfolio declines.
Every engagement begins with an advisor who listens carefully to you and helps organize your overall, long-term financial picture. We explore your financial situation and preferences, and help prioritize your short- and long-term goals. We then fashion a fully customized financial model for you, using excellent software that distills the complex down to graphics that are understandable. We continue to work with you to refine this model, and update it regularly to confirm you are "on track" with your long-term vision.
Wealth Management clients have a wide range of issues to address beyond their investments - from estate planning to income taxes to mortgages to insurance to charitable planning and more. We help you stay on top of these matters with a simple chart that shows the tasks you have completed, along with the tasks you still have to work on. We help identify the most time-sensitive and important of these items, remind you how they fit into your overall plan and support you in completing them. The structure we provide, and the financial planning assistance you receive, can prove to be more valuable to you than even our best investment efforts.
Tax, Estate Planning and Insurance. Each Wealth Management client needs specialized professional expertise at some point. We facilitate that service by recommending other professionals, when needed, such as attorneys, CPAs and insurance agents. We work with them to fully address and implement your individual solution, so it is consistent with your long-term plan and your investment accounts. We are fortunate to have an estate planning attorney working out of our Alamo office, which makes it especially easy to resolve matters involving wills and trusts.
Most of our clients decide they need the comprehensive approach that our Wealth Management platform provides. Here is a checklist to help you see the differences between Investment Management and Wealth Management, and which might be right for you.
During and after the above planning steps, we regularly monitor your financial affairs to anticipate critical decisions and actions that must be taken. You can rest assured that your affairs are being watched over by an advisor who will alert you to external financial events that require adjustments to your plan.