Frequently Asked Questions

Please click the questions below to discover the answers.

Whom do you serve?

We provide our services to individuals and families wishing to pursue long-term goals based on our strategic approach to growing and managing wealth, and nonprofit fiduciaries looking for a financial ally to help them manage their investment needs.

Describe your broad services.

We conduct initial and ongoing deep discovery, to determine clients' financial needs in relation to their unique values; goals; personal, professional and institutional relationships; assets; and interests. We then form a comprehensive plan to meet those needs. We gather expertise, and work with existing alliances if appropriate, to ensure that each component within the strategy is carefully executed and seamlessly integrated to serve the overall purpose.

How much does it cost to hold initial planning meetings with your firm?

There is no cost for our initial Discovery and Investment Plan meetings. We feel it's time well spent to first get to know one another -- before we seek mutual commitment and before we begin charging a fee.

How do you charge for your services?

We are a fee-only advisory firm, which means our sole source of compensation comes from you, our client, with no third-party commissions or other behind-the-scenes incentives. By eliminating any potential conflicts of interest when recommending one investment or service provider over another, we feel we are best positioning ourselves to fulfill our fiduciary obligation as a Registered Investment Advisor firm, which is to always serve your highest financial interests.

We are committed to keeping our fees transparent, competitive and an excellent value. Our fees are based on a percentage of your assets that we manage, and are charged on a sliding scale; for larger amounts, the percentage decreases, as follows:

Account Value Annual Fee
On the first $1,000,000 1.00%
On the next $1,000,000 0.80%
On the next $1,000,000 0.60%
On the next $2,000,000 0.40%
On all amounts above $5,000,000 0.35%

Accounts for immediate family members (such as husband, wife and dependent children) are aggregated, and the fee is charged based on the total value of all family members’ accounts.

The fees for nonprofit organizations will be billed at reduced rates.

Do you have a minimum fee or minimum portfolio size?

Our minimum account size is $250,000, and a minimum fee of $5,000 is generally required. If your current asset level does not meet our minimum requirements but you have unique circumstances you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

What happens to my current holdings if I become a client?

Before any changes are made, we first analyze your existing portfolio and discuss our recommendations with you. Our overall goal is for your portfolio to make sense for you and your lifetime objectives, in the most cost-effective way possible. Among the ways we achieve this goal are capturing your unique willingness, ability and need to take risk through asset allocation and diversification; minimizing the expenses involved in investing; managing for appropriate asset location between taxable and tax-sheltered accounts; and eliminating any unnecessary complexity in your portfolio. If existing holdings lend themselves to these objectives, we may recommend leaving them in place. If changes are warranted, we work with you to ensure any transitions occur as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible.

Do you trade and hold my assets for me?

While you grant us Limited Power of Attorney (LPOA) to execute transactions on your behalf, you remain in control of your assets. Accounts are held in your name at a high-quality, nationally known custodian such as Fidelity Investments, and you receive monthly statements directly from that custodian.

You mentioned a “fiduciary obligation” to your clients? What does that mean and how is it different from a suitability standard?

Registered Investment Advisors, such as Rocktree Financial Advisors, are held to what’s known as a fiduciary standard, generally considered the highest legal duty one party can have to another. This means, among other things, that we are legally obligated to put your interests ahead of our own. Brokers, in contrast, are typically held to a lesser requirement known as a “suitability” standard, which requires that any investment vehicle they recommend to a client be “suitable,” but allows them to recommend an investment vehicle that would result in a higher commission to the broker over one that would be in the client’s best interest.

What is your investment approach?

A key to our client care is our distinct approach to investment management, which we call “evidence-based investing” because it’s based on decades’ worth of peer-reviewed academic studies on how markets are expected to deliver their returns. The evidence from those studies overwhelmingly indicates that the largest determinant by far of portfolio performance is asset allocation: how your assets are exposed to various risk factors. We build portfolios accordingly, tailoring your portfolio's level of risk (and its expected returns) according to your personal preferences, goals and circumstances, typically using low-cost institutional managers who provide passively managed mutual funds, and diversifying globally to reduce non-market risks. And, together, we create an Investment Plan that clearly describes your strategy, so that instead of emotionally reacting to the latest headlines, we have a plan we can stick to.

Many financial-service firms offer an approach based on "active management," which refers to stock picking or market timing, or both. Active management assumes that markets are generally inefficient, allowing clever individuals to regularly exploit anomalies and profit from them -- beyond the sometimes considerable costs of actively seeking and executing such trades. But to us, the evidence clearly shows that the opportunities to exploit inefficiencies are too few and far between to effectively and profitably pursue, and the occasional successes of active management are more likely due to luck than anything else – and even if some active managers are actually capable of exploiting such inefficiencies, it is difficult, if not impossible, to consistently determine which active managers will perform well over the next period.

I have heard you offer access to Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) funds. How do I learn more about them? What is your relationship with them?

If you have already heard of DFA, you may be aware that it seeks to protect the reliability and manage the costs of its funds by requiring investors to access them via a select group of financial advisory firms. Our firm is proud to be among the select firms who have access to DFA funds. You can learn more about Dimensional Fund Advisors by clicking here to visit their website.

We often find that DFA funds provide the best vehicles for building portfolios that can be cost-effectively designed and managed to target your unique objectives through all types of markets. Whenever we feel there is a better investment option for your particular needs, however, we use it. Note that we receive no commissions for using DFA funds, or any other funds.

What if I have other questions or I would like to get in touch with you to explore next steps?

Please contact us today. We are eager to respond promptly to your thoughts and questions.