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Frequently Asked Questions

These are the questions we hear most often. If you can’t find the answer to your questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Call us at 843-271-6088 or use the contact form below and we would be happy to answer any questions you may have!

What is the difference between planning and investment management?

Financial planning is the process we use to answer the questions that matter to you:

  • Do I have enough money to retire?
  • How can I minimize my taxes?
  • Am I saving enough?
  • Do I have adequate insurance coverage?
  • What is the appropriate asset allocation for me?

These questions tie directly into the goals you have for yourself and your family. We look at the available data- your cash flow, savings, insurance coverages, tax returns, will/trust documents and determine whether you are on track to reach your goals. If you are not on track to reach all your goals, we provide you with recommendations for changes that increase your chances of reaching those goals.

Investment management refers to the crafting and oversight of financial portfolios to meet client specific goals. We start by working with clients to identify their appropriate target asset allocation- the percentage of the account that should be devoted to stocks, bonds, and cash. We perform various “maintenance” tasks throughout the year to keep our clients on track- such as rebalancing, tax loss harvesting, and investing deposits. Every day we keep an eye on the investments our clients hold and the market to make sure that the assets best invested in an ever-changing environment.

Fee only investment management

What does it mean to be independent?

We are a completely independent firm. This means we own our own business, work only for our clients and we do not outsource any of our services to another firm. When you contact us, you always know who you’ll reach. Many firms appear to be independent, but upon closer inspection are part of a larger organization or brokerage firm. Along the same lines, some companies appear to provide the entire menu of services themselves but farm out investment management to others.

What is a fiduciary?

The fiduciary standard is the highest ethical standard in the financial industry. WestView Investment Advisors always operates under the fiduciary standard. This means that in everything we do, we have a legal and ethical obligation to act in our clients’ best interests. The Investment Advisers Act of 1940 requires Registered Investment Advisory firms to follow the fiduciary standard as does the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation.

Fee-only Investment Management

What do you mean by “fee-only?”

Westview provides all services on a fee-only basis. This means that we never receive commissions, kick-backs, trailers, or any other form of payment from a third party. We only receive payment from our clients and the only thing our clients buy is our time and expertise. For investment management, we are paid based on a percentage of assets under management (AUM). For financial planning, we are paid on an hourly basis. We believe this is the compensation arrangement that best minimizes conflicts of interest while aligning our incentives with our clients.

We have more information on the fee-only structure and the ways other financial professionals are paid on our blog.

Do you receive commissions?

No.

Do you sell insurance or annuities?

No.  We don’t sell any insurance or annuity products, although we are happy to provide objective planning advice on these items.

What is the minimum amount for investment management?

We have developed a series of portfolios using ETFs to help those with smaller accounts get the diversification they need at a low cost. For this level of asset management, our minimum amount is $50,000, which can be spread over multiple accounts.

For custom portfolio management using individual stocks and bonds, our minimum amount is $500,000. At this level we provide fully customized portfolios that are unique to each client.

If you are looking for financial planning services, there is no “asset level” that is too small. We offer financial planning on an hourly basis and we can provide guidance to all.

Financial Advice for Women

Do you use ETFs and mutual funds?

While the bulk of our clients’ holdings are in stocks and bonds, we do hold ETFs and mutual funds where appropriate. Typically, ETFs and mutual funds are used as a low-cost way to gain broad exposure to a segment of the market that represents a small portion of the total portfolio. For example, we might use an ETF to take a 5% position in TIPS or emerging market bonds. We also have developed a series of portfolios aimed at getting young professionals started in investing that are made up entirely of ETFs.

What are your fees?

Our fees for investment management are based on assets under management (AUM). This means that we are paid based on a percentage of the account value. The annual fees for investment management are as follows:

Market Value of Portfolio% of Assets
On the first $2,000,0001.00%
From $2,000,000 – $5,000,0000.75%
From $5,000,001 and aboveNegotiable

 

For financial planning, we charge $200 per hour.

Hilton Head Bluffton Financial Planning

How many hours does it take to complete a financial plan?

The answer to this question lies entirely in the complexity of your personal financial situation and the questions you bring to us. A smaller financial plan looking at budgeting and a major purchase decision might take 2-4 hours. In contrast, a comprehensive plan requiring extensive retirement, tax, and estate planning could take 10- 12 hours. We always give clients an estimate prior to beginning a financial plan.

What other fees should I expect as an investment management client?

The primary fee you’ll see is our management fee. There are also fees associated with trading that are charged by the custodian- $4.95 for stock trades and $1 per $1000 bond. We use mutual funds and ETFs as appropriate for our clients. All mutual funds and ETFs have internal operating costs that accrue to each fund, in addition to the fees charged by WestView Investment Advisors.

Who do you use as a custodian?

We use Charles Schwab as a custodian. Schwab is committed to the independent model and has been serving independent advisors for 30 years. They are the leading custodian for independent advisors with some $1.5 trillion in assets under management.  However, we are not employed by Schwab; we hire them to provide custody services for our clients.

How are client assets protected at Schwab?

Schwab is committed to staying financially strong and takes several measures to ensure that client assets are fully protected.  First, client securities are segregated from broker-dealer securities which means that they are not available to general creditors of Schwab.  Second, SIPC protects clients in the unlikely event that Schwab fails financially.  Third, Lloyd’s of London provides excess SIPC protection.  Fourth, all bank deposits held by Schwab Bank are insured by FDIC insurance up to $250,000 per owner.

Hilton Head Wealth Management

What does a custodian do?

At the most basic level, custodians hold the assets in investment accounts. Think of a custodian like a bank.  In addition, custodians provide a variety of “accounting” type services such as calculating taxable gains, keeping track of cost basis, and providing clients with reports on account performance.  As discretionary advisors, we can trade securities in our clients’ accounts, but we do not have access to the funds in clients’ accounts.

How is a Registered Investment Advisory Firm different from other types financial advisors?

Registered Investment Advisory firms (like WestView) are required to operate under the fiduciary standard meaning they have a legal and ethical responsibility to place their clients’ interests ahead of their own. Brokers and insurance agents are held to the “suitability” standard meaning they may sell investments which are suitable for the client but may not necessarily be the best.  Because brokers and insurance agents get paid a commission, they have an incentive to sell higher commissioned products to their clients and can do so if they are suitable.  We have an article available on our blog that details these differences here.

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Who regulates WestView Investment Advisors?

WestView is regulated by the SEC and information about the firm including our most recent Form ADV can be found at: https://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/IAPD/IAPDFirmSummary.aspx?ORG_PK=116001

What is CFP® Certification?

The CFP® certification marks identify individuals that have met rigorous professional standards known as the four E’s: Education, Examination, Experience, and Ethics.  The education component requires completion of a college-level program of study in personal financial planning as well as a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.  The CFP® Certification Examination assesses the planner’s ability to apply financial planning knowledge and marks the culmination of years of study.  The experience requirement of 6000 hours requires the applicant to work on the job in a planning environment or 4000 hours as a direct apprentice.  Finally, with the ethics component candidates agree to adhere to high standards of ethics and practice as outlined by the CFP® Board and complete the obligatory background check.

Do I need to live the Lowcountry for you to help me?

No! We are happy to work with clients in all locations. There are many ways to stay in touch whether it be over the phone, on video chat, or through email communications. We are also able to travel for meetings as needed.

Where are you located?

We are on the north end of Hilton Head Island in the Local Life Business Park.  Our address is 400 Main Street, Suite 200G, Hilton Head Island, SC 29926

Hilton Head Island, SC
Questions? Contact Us!