Financial planning covers a large umbrella of activities, and we can address them all. Our primary tool is WealthVision, which is LPL’s private-label version of the outstanding eMoney Pro software program. It is a comprehensive and robust planning, data aggregation, and security platform with tremendous synergies for living, planning, investing, reporting and communicating.
Nancy Loar has been through their on-site education and is our designated source for WealthVision. Financial planners may charge five figures for work product similar to what we generate, but we prefer to give it to our clients for free. We are better advisers if we know all the facts, and the clients and their families benefit from the process of gathering all the data at a time of their convenience rather than in a crisis.
Much of the investment industry has embraced passive investing as a means to drive costs down. We prefer active management but understand both have a place in the market cycle. Passive has clearly benefited from the massive flows into both stock and bond markets since 2010. We believe these flows have distorted market-cap weighted investment vehicles into concentrated, momentum-driven trading vehicles, and the opportunity set for active managers is as attractive as it was post-2000 NASDAQ implosion.
Through the enormous resources of LPL, as well as our own purchased research and personal network, we have access to some of the most brilliant managers available. Early in his career, Johnny served on the Due Diligence Committee at J.C. Bradford that interviewed and monitored every manager the firm used. Deciding on a manager involves much more than just analyzing prior returns.
We can access outstanding active management via separately managed accounts or mutual funds. There are advantages for both, and our recommendation is based on each client’s situation involving costs, tax considerations, philanthropy and investor preference.
We have worked with over one hundred corporate retirement programs---defined contribution, defined benefit and non-qualified. We approach retirement plans from the owner’s perspective: What is the purpose of the plan? Who does it benefit? What are realistic funding expectations? How do we measure success for your plan? Understanding the big picture allows us to generate full value to the business owner for the time, effort and resources a successful retirement plan requires.
There has been tremendous change in the retirement plan arena the last decade, with a much more intrusive Department of Labor and recent tax law changes. The fiduciary exposure for trustees has grown, and it is imperative that plan sponsors stay current with the industry and acceptable practices.
Johnny Lang holds the Professional Plan Consultant (PPC) designation, which requires rigorous continuing education while providing leading edge access to industry changes. His largest relationship is a 401k plan where the owner operates in an industry competing globally for talent and demands a world-class retirement benefit program. We know well what first-class technology and service requires and what it should cost. We have access to a large network of 401k and other platform providers, as well as the full resources of LPL and BankPlus Retirement Services departments.
We had the privilege of managing assets for a sizable family office for nearly two decades. It demanded attention to detail and 24/7/365 service. Our service team of Tammie King and Nancy Loar have been trained by the best, and they do a tremendous job of removing headaches for our clients.
We network with our clients’ other trusted advisors--CPAs, tax attorneys, insurance agents, etc.---with the goal of making life easier for our client and the advisor. Many of our clients are involved in philanthropic activities and fund their commitments using appreciated securities. We’ve developed a client- and CPA-friendly practice for charitable giving.
We have worked with numerous business owners looking to exit their businesses. This is really enjoyable work because it is emotional, collaborative, and usually very enlightening. We don’t provide accounting, legal or valuation services, but we can brainstorm at length with the owner in advance of hiring experts by the hour. Having seen a number of successful transitions, we know many of the questions to ask. As often as not, a successful business owner doesn’t have a family member to pass on the business. With very low interest rates and plentiful private equity funds available, the non-family exit opportunities the next few years may be attractive. The down side of really low interest rates is that the cash flow returns from the sale proceeds may prove to be too meager to justify selling. In an increasing number of cases, we have assisted the business owner transition from management to ownership rather than an outright sale. This involves detailed job descriptions for each position involved, and an ultimate search to hire the owner’s replacement. This process proves particularly interesting in situations where there are multiple owners, but not all are employed in the business. The disposition or transition of a family business is a life-changing event, and we add value and support to the process.