About the Firm
You have many choices when it comes to financial firms and it is crucial to make the right match. We highly recommend that prospective clients interview several firms before making a final decision.
How do you know CMW is the right firm for you?
Here is what we offer:
- Truly independent advice backed by our commitment to the highest standard of client care in financial services-that of a fiduciary. See Lou the Butcher
- We use investments as tools to help our clients reach their goals without the conflict of commissions.
- Objective, forward looking advisors with extensive education and specialization
- A collaborative process based upon a partnership of shared results
- Client focused, comprehensive care with advisors who use a personalized approach in working with your Attorney & CPA as a team for your best interests
- A strong emphasis on your money reflecting your values is what life planning is all about.
Here are some questions you may wish to consider when hiring an advisor.
1. Is your firm registered as an investment adviser with the Federal Government or any state(s)?
CMW is registered as an investment adviser in the states of Tennessee, Arizona and the Commonwealth of Virginia. As an independent investment adviser firm we are also required to register in states where we acquire more than five clients. As the firm reaches this threshold in the other states where we have clients, the firm will also become registered in those states.
2. Do you also act as a sales agent of any brokerage or insurance firm? If so, how will I know in which role you are working with me, e.g. when are you clearly serving my best interests vs. selling me products?
Unlike the majority of financial services firms, ‘See Lou the Butcher’ CMW is a fee-only, independent investment adviser. Neither the firm nor its associates are affiliated with financial product sponsors e.g. Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, UBS, etc.. This means there are no conflicts of interest to disclose and avoids the confusion of ‘advisors’ focused on selling their products.
3. Will you provide me with your disclosure document Form ADV Part II or its state equivalent?
As a registered investment adviser firm, CMW is required by state and Federal law to provide this document. This is so that you can make an informed decision regarding your choice of advisor and the type of business model in which your professional agreement will be implemented and conducted.
4. Will you provide me with a written disclosure detailing any disciplinary history for you or your firm?
CMW submits this information each year in its annual updating amendment to form ADV and is available online as well as upon request. Neither the firm nor any of its members have any disciplinary history to disclose.
5.How many meetings can we expect?
It’s important to know what you’re paying for, especially if accessibility and time with your advisor is part of the package. Don’t hesitate to get a clear understanding of what to expect in this regard. For example, CMW typically meets at least once and frequently twice with prospective clients before determining to enter into a formal agreement. We then encourage regular meetings at least annually for reviews and to address other planning opportunities as they arise.
6.Describe the depth of expertise that you have in your firm.
Most people inaccurately assume that all advisors possess similar background, training and direct experience. Unfortunately, there is little uniformity across the financial services industry in this regard. You should expect a potential advisor to be very candid and clear about this question. Don’t assume anything – be direct and ask. Most of us would not hesitate to demand specifics from a surgeon we’re considering for a major operation and no less should be expected for the management of your wealth.
7.What percentage of your clients left you in the last 12 months and why did they leave?
One of the biggest differences between product salespeople and fiduciary investment advisors can often be detected in the loyalty of their clients. There is no reason a well-established, truly independent firm would hesitate to offer this information. The advisor’s reaction to this question can be revealing in itself.
8.Is there a specific type of client with whom you have expertise?
Most well established advisors tend to specialize in certain niche markets. This is only natural because of the broad nature of financial services and the depth of knowledge demanded for competence. Beware of advisors who hesitate to share their strong suite and how they collaborate with other professionals to address areas of less specialized knowledge and experience.
9.What distinguishes you from other firms that claim to do the same things you do?
Competition for clients is very high in financial services which frequently leads firms to market ‘all things to all people’ in an attempt avoid limiting their prospects. CMW offers a distinctive set of personalized, hands-on services. What we do is not for everyone. We are very straight forward and comfortable helping folks determine if we are a match. When we are, clients tend to identify very strongly with the statement, "I’ve never seen anything like what you do."