What’s fee-only mean to me?
As a fee-only firm we don’t receive compensation from brokerage firms, banks, mutual fund companies, or insurance companies. Our only compensation comes from our clients, so it eliminates the commission-based conflict of interest. It also means we’ll work to reduce your investment costs instead of trying to build in hidden costs to inflate a commission.
Doesn’t that mean I’ll pay more?
No. In fact you will most likely pay less than working with a commission-based advisor. Because we’re able to use institutional-class shares of mutual funds that aren’t available to retail investors, that’s just one way we can save you money. What’s more, in the mutual fund area, we only use no-load funds, and the resultant transaction costs for our clients are minimal.
So, no sales commissions and possibly lower costs. Anything else?
Yes. Registered Investment Advisory firms owe a fiduciary duty to their clients; that is, their client’s interests must come first. Stockbrokers and other commission-based financial advisors are only required to sell you a “suitable” investment. Of course, as our clients are our only source of income, it’s very easy for us to put their interests first.
Ann Arbor’s CFP® Team
Our advisors are all Certified Financial Planners (CFPs®) , professionals that are uniquely qualified to pull your whole financial life together. Your financial planning may be complex and it can involve tax planning, investment management, retirement planning, insurance, estate planning, education funding and more. In the Ann Arbor area there are just 23 CFPs® that work on a fee only basis* and four of those work together at Vintage.
* Source: CFP Board website February, 2019
Our advisors work as a team, bringing their extensive and varied backgrounds in investments, taxes, insurance and more to all of our clients. In addition to the CFP designation, our advisors have a variety of degrees and designations including a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU, insurance), Masters degrees in Financial Services, NAPFA Registered Financial Advisor, and Enrolled Agent (EA, taxes).
When we don’t have a particular expertise within our firm we have extensive resources with other firms and professionals both locally and nationally.
Vintage is an Independent Firm
Vintage is not owned by an insurance company, a brokerage firm, a bank or a public company with shareholders. We are independently owned and operated to this day by the company founders, who are only accountable to our clients.
Vintage is Proactive
One of the problems with the commission-based advisors is that clients often only hear from them when the advisor has a great new investment idea (that coincidentally will generate another commission).
At Vintage our compensation is tied to the success of our clients’ portfolios, so our incentive is to grow their investments … every day. We don’t collect commissions, so we also work diligently to minimize trading costs. When we do make trades, our only interest is to improve the investment return for our clients.
Our services go beyond the everyday. Every year we contact each of our clients and offer to update their retirement plan, education funding plan, and net worth statement — at no additional charge. A special service for our retired clients is that we can review their rate of spending and can then discuss whether that rate is sustainable over the rest of their lives. We also like to meet with our clients to review their investment performance in our unique Annual Financial Reports.
Near the end of the year, we review our clients’ portfolios for tax saving transactions and proactively administer and capture those in a timely manner. We even report the estimated capital gains to their tax preparer (the client, client’s accountant, or our in-house tax preparation service) so that they can adjust their estimated quarterly tax payments if necessary. And when the tax code changes, we’ll decipher the opportunities and contact our clients about tax savings strategies.