Below please find frequently asked questions and our answers. To view the answers, click the (v).
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)?
A Registered Investment Advisor is a person or firm who advises individuals on investments and manages their portfolios. They are held to a fiduciary standard, required by law under the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 to offer financial and investment advice that is in the best interest of their clients. RIAs are required to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and state regulatory agencies. Find out how RIAs are different from large brokers.
What is the difference between a CFP® and a financial advisor?
The term “financial advisor” is used loosely to refer to all types of financial professionals in the industry. A Certified Financial Planner™ or CFP® is a designation received by individuals who undergo an extensive board examination by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. Someone holding a CFP® designation has extensive training and education in investments, insurance, retirement planning, taxation, and estate law as well as ethics. Additionally, CFP®s must undergo a certain amount of continuing education to retain and sharpen their skills. We believe the CFP® is a valuable designation for clients and is required of all of our advisors.
Have your advisors been sued or disciplined for any reason?
None of our advisors have been sued or disciplined for any reason. Our individual advisor’s record’s can be accessed through the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure Database. You can review each of our their records as well as search for any adviser’s name or firm. If you are transitioning an advisory relationship or have not checked in on your existing advisor, it is highly recommend that you review their disciplinary history.
What is a fiduciary?
Fiduciary is another word for “trustee”. A fiduciary is someone who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with one or more individuals and is required to act in their best interest. As an RIA, we are held to a fiduciary standard by law.
Do you sell products or receive commissions?
We do not sell products or receive any commissions on investments or trading. As a fee-based advisor, we earn a fixed percentage fee on the assets that we manage. As licensed insurance agents, we do review our clients insurance coverage and may recommend new insurance on occasion. In those instances, we do receive commissions from the insurance company. However, we are always bound to a fiduciary standard as defined above.
I already have a financial advisor. Why should I consider switching?
Not all advisors are created equal. Many financial advisors are generalists who provide a wide range of services for many different types of investors. With the increased complexity of markets, regulation, and technology, we believe that clients are better served by an advisor who specializes in a particular aspect of financial advice. At Morton Brown Family Wealth, we are specialists on the decisions that families make about money and investing. Many of our clients have come to us initially out of a desire to align their whole financial picture and begin making purposeful decisions with an experienced partner.
Who is your typical client?
Our clients are families looking to live more purposeful lives. Some are executives, doctors, or business owners while others are entrepreneurs or have already retired. They typically have more than $1 million in investable assets and have multiple priorities, opportunities, and risks related to their wealth. More importantly, we work best with those who embrace the humility to know what they don’t know, the curiosity to learn and grow, and a desire to maintain community and partnership with us as their advisors.
Do you have a minimum Portfolio or account size?
For our typical client, we are managing investments in excess of $1 million. We determine the best fit for our clients based on the type of planning and investing work required and whether our skills are best suited for their needs and circumstances.
Do you hold my money or have access to my assets?
Morton Brown Family Wealth does not hold client moneys. We use Charles Schwab as our independent custodian for client investment assets. You maintain priority access to your funds at all times. We require verbal authorization for any money movements to you and written authorization for any money movements to a third party. During normal business hours, you may call our office to make money transfer requests. Our advisors do have the ability to make investment changes and raise cash as needed. You will be consulted on any significant investment changes that impact your pre-determined financial plan and investing strategy.
Why do I need to call when requesting transfers/money movement? Isn’t an email good enough?
It is for your safety and security that Morton Brown Family Wealth requires verbal authorization for any money movement between accounts. This is not only an important component of our financial risk management strategy, but also ensures no unwanted transfers are made should your identity be stolen or otherwise compromised. We do not rely on email authorizations due to the prevalence of hacking, fraud, and scams.
What should I expect in an initial meeting with an advisor?
You should expect thoughtful questions, active listening, and a team ready to meet you where you are in your financial life. Our goal when we first meet is to understand your “why”. As we begin to understand your vision for a confident financial future we can better align our work with your needs.
We have often found that people struggle to know what questions to ask us as we get to know one another. For that reason, we have created a list of Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor to help spark the conversation and make sure that everyone leaves the meeting having learned about one another.
How Often will I meet with my Morton Brown Family wealth Advisor?
At the beginning of the advisor relationship, you should expect to meet with us at least two to three times. This includes an initial meeting to gather information and learn more about the financial priorities of you and your family. We then scheduled more focused meetings delving into the details of your financial plan and/or investment strategy. From there we take a proactive approach and build a meeting rhythm around the planning and investing needs of each household. All of our advisors are also available for questions or concerns throughout the year as needed.
How do you work with clients remotely?
We utilize a suite of technology platforms to engage with clients who are either unavailable to meet in-person or who live outside of the Lehigh Valley region. Our advisors can host video calls and virtual meetings that allow for shared access to reports and interactive planning tools. Additionally, the majority of our account opening and administrative procedures are managed electronically to ensure seamless and efficient processing.
Do you work with clients outside of the Lehigh Valley area?
Yes! Due to our impressive technology, we are able to maintain client relationships across the United States. Our advisors work with our client’s schedules and time zones to schedule calls and meetings. We currently have clients who reside all along the East Coast as well as the Midwest, California, and as far as Hawaii.
What kind of reporting do you offer to clients and how often?
We invest in technology that goes above and beyond the traditional brokerage statements. While clients maintain full access to their custodial statements and online account access, we also provide leading performance and financial reporting platforms as a service to our clients.
Black Diamond is a performance reporting platform where clients can review their progress in a clear, convenient way. Through desktop or mobile access, clients can view high-level or detailed information about their investments and performance. Static reports are delivered to clients quarterly, with performance reported on a net-of-fees basis.
eMoney is a leading financial planning tool that we use to develop clients plans and model simulations for future financial decisions. Clients have online access to their plans and can also use a secure vault to store documents or share them with their advisory team