Our retirement planning, investment management and advice fees are NOT based on a percentage of your investment assets. All clients pay us the same low-cost and transparent fixed monthly fee of $375 for full-service investment management and advice regardless of the size of your investment portfolio. Click for additional information about our fees.
How can you charge such low fees?
We think our fees are fair. The real question is not why our fees are so low, but rather, why are the majority of other investment advisers charging three to four times our fees? What are they doing for those high fees? A typical investment adviser would charge you fees of approximately 1% or more of the value of your investment assets annually. Those fees can easily add-up to tens, if not, hundreds of thousands of dollars of fees paid to an advisor. With fees that high, investment advisers need to achieve higher returns (meaning more risk) to make up for their high fees to simply match the performance of the stock and bond market returns net of their fees.
How quickly can Firstmetric start providing me advice and managing my investments?
The process to start providing you advice and managing your investments can vary, depending on your availability to talk with us so that we can learn about your financial situation and develop your investment plan. For a motivated client, the process can take as little as a few business days.
How involved am I in the ongoing portfolio decisions?
The management of your portfolio follows an investment plan that is approved by you in advance and is outlined in your Investment Policy Statement. As such, you will not be contacted by us seeking permission to perform routine portfolio management and maintenance functions such as monitoring, rebalancing and tax loss harvesting. However, if at any time you have questions about your portfolio, simply contact us by phone or email. Just because you hired Firstmetric to handle the day-to-day management and maintenance of your investment portfolio does not mean you are not involved. We ask that you always keep us informed of any changes in your financial situation, tax status, cash flow needs and overall investment objectives.
How often does a Firstmetric professional talk with me about my portfolio?
Just because you hired Firstmetric to handle the day-to-day management and maintenance of your investment portfolio does not mean you are not involved, or we don't communicate with you. We ask that you always keep us informed of any changes in your financial situation, tax status, cash flow needs and overall investment objectives. In addition, we are always available for financial advice and periodic reviews on an "as needed" and/or "as-requested" basis.
When can I expect my portfolio to be rebalanced?
On a continuous basis we compare your current portfolio asset allocation strategy to its fixed target allocation. Portfolios are reviewed for possible rebalancing when your asset allocation has shifted up or down from its target allocation based on market activity. Firtsmetric generally uses a predetermined percentage formula to determine if and when a portfolio should be rebalanced. A decision to rebalance will also depend on the dollar amount to be reallocated, any known expected future contributions or withdrawals from the portfolio, and any potential tax consequences in taxable accounts.
Is there a cost to terminate if I am not satisfied with Firstmetric?
No, either party may terminate the Investment Management Agreement at any time and for any reason. There are no termination charges. The only remaining charges will be a final prorated invoice that will be generated based on the actual number of days during the current quarter that your accounts were under management.
Where will my cash and securities be held?
All client accounts are held with Schwab Advisor Services, a division of Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Schwab Advisor Services is an independent qualified custodian, which means they hold your cash and securities and facilitate trading activities. Firstmetric has selected Schwab Advisor Services as its sole custodian because of their commitment to client service, low trading costs, and operational efficiency. Firstmetric never has access to your cash and securities except to debit our quarterly investment management and advisory fee that you authorize.
Do I need to contact Schwab to open or transfer my accounts?
No. There is no reason for you to contact Schwab Advisor Services. We will assist you in opening your Schwab Advisor Services accounts and transferring your existing accounts into your new Schwab Advisor Services accounts by sending you all the necessary new account and transfer paperwork in either electronic signature or hardcopy format. You will be notified by both Schwab Advisor Services and Firstmetric as new accounts are opened and cash and securities transfer into your new accounts.
Will I have online access to my accounts?
Yes. You will always have website and telephone access to your accounts 24/7 through Schwab Advisor Services at Schwab Alliance. Their direct phone number is 800-515-2157. In addition to accessing your accounts through Schwab Alliance you will also have access to your accounts using the myFirstmetric Client Portal. Our online portal will provide you with updated account and performance reporting information formatted to match your Investment Policy statement.
How will I know if Firstmetric places trades or there is activity in my accounts?
If you sign up to receive trade confirmations electronically, Schwab Advisor Services will notify you by email in near real-time when Firstmetric places trades in your accounts on your behalf. If you have not opted to receive electronic trade confirmations, then Schwab Advisor Services will send you hardcopy trade confirmations by regular U.S. Mail. In addition, you always have online access 24/7 to view all transactions in your accounts through Schwab Alliance or the myFirstmetric Client Portal.
What asset classes and index funds will be selected for my accounts?
There are many asset class and index fund options available. At Firstmetric, we want the purest exposure possible with any given asset class or index fund, not to mention the lowest cost. Therefore, we generally limit our asset class and index fund selections to those offered by Vanguard, Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA Funds), and iShares. From time-to-time we may consider investments from other investment companies.
How does Firstmetric help limit my taxes for my taxable accounts?
Taxes are an investing expense, just like any other investment related expense. We use several techniques to help control taxable events. First, if you are in a high tax bracket; we generally use tax-free municipal bond funds rather than taxable bond funds in your taxable accounts. Second, we try to limit the placement of any real estate investment trust (REIT) funds in a taxable account because REIT funds distribute a large amount ordinary income. Third, we place less tax efficient investments in your qualified tax-deferred retirement accounts. Finally, we harvest tax losses in your non-qualified taxable accounts by swapping one investment at a loss for another when tax losses are available for harvesting. Those losses can then be used to offset current and future realized capital gains to help lower your taxes.