Beginning a new relationship with a financial firm / professional can be intimidating. How will the process work? How will my assets be transferred? Will any of my investments be sold or will they transfer as-is? Will I have on-line access? What will my statement look like? These are just some of the questions that you will likely have as you consider establishing such a relationship.
For your peace of mind, at Foundational Wealth, we take great care in answering any questions you may have before beginning our on-boarding process for new client families. For example, in today's digital world, the majority of financial assets are transferred electronically from one firm (custodian) to another (custodian). The transfer usually takes 5-7 business days in order for your assets to "disappear" from your current custodian and "show up" at our custodian. We recommend suspending any check writing during this period and to also make certain that all automated payments have been turned off.
It may also be helpful for you to know that the majority of financial assets can be transferred as they are (in-kind). However, there may be certain investment products purchased at other firms that are proprietary to that firm and are difficult, if not impossible, to transfer. If you own one of these products, then it will be up to you to either sell it, or to keep it active at your current custodian. We can help you evaluate the merits and drawbacks of each of these types of products, but unfortunately, there is no easy answer on what you should do in this situation, as it will depend on a number of factors.
As your assets arrive at our custodian, your Foundational Client Experience is already well underway. We now begin the process of helping you "connect" to your assets by (1) helping you set up on-line access to all of your accounts, (2) ensure you have checks and a debit card, (3) helping you to re-establish all of the payees for your web bill payments (or, we can pay bills for you with your authorization), (4) giving you access to our client portal and also give you a short tutorial on how to use it for your family's benefit, and (5) ensuring that all cost-basis information transfers from your old custodian to us. We will also ask for your prior year-end statement so we can ensure that any required minimum distribution calculations can be effectively computed (this applies only if you are 70 1/2 or older).
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Our protocol is to then have an in-person meeting with you to ensure you understand that all of the items listed above have been completed. At this same meeting, we discuss the "to-accomplish" list (every family has one) that you'd like us to help you complete over the next 3 months. The development and completion of your family financial plan (which is accessible from your client portal) is also on the agenda for this meeting. Lastly, the development and implementation of an investment strategy for your family (and any entities involved such as an FLP/LLC, Family Foundation, or Trust(s)) rounds out this first meeting. Of course, we can also discuss any other personal issue(s) you'd like to mention.
After this initial meeting, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing someone is acting on your behalf to help bring about the results you want to see for your family. It's a collaborative effort: you and us.
In 3 months time, as part of our quarterly review, we call to schedule another meeting to review the work we've completed on your behalf as well as to review the investment performance experienced over this time frame. We go through many of the same processes described above again. We tweak asset allocations where appropriate. We update your family's plan. We ask what your to-accomplish list is for the next 3 months.
We repeat our processes every 3 months for as long as you are our client. It's amazing what taking a few to-do items at a time, every three months, year after year can help a family accomplish. There will no doubt be times when other items need to be discussed at one of these quarterly reviews, and there may even be times when you choose to opt out of one of these reviews, but our pledge is to only work with the number of client families that we can offer this comprehensive level of advice, attention and service to. It's worked well for us for 25 years. It may work well for you, too.