Frequently Asked Questions – Real Questions, Real Answers
Q. Is the firm an independently registered investment adviser with the Federal Government or any state(s)?
A. Is your firm completely independent or, part of a larger firm that also sells financial products or has affiliations with firms that sell financial products?
CMW is a completely independent, Fee-only registered investment adviser. This eliminates inherent conflicts of interest in selecting your investments and implementing your strategies.
Q. Will you provide your written brochure (document Form ADV Part II) indicating your fiduciary obligation to me and all legally required disclosures about your firm, its operations and its members?
A. Many firms will only provide this document at the time of opening and transferring accounts (if it is even required). In some cases this can be a daunting document when presented along with many other confusing forms. If this is not provided ahead of opening accounts, request it. If it’s not required, you are not engaging a fiduciary advisor but a sales representative.
CMW is required by state and Federal law to provide this document to you before engaging the firm as an adviser. It includes information about the firm and its associates that regulators consider material to your decision to work with us. It also assures you of the consumer protections legally afforded you in the engagement.
Access to our most recently updated brochure form ‘ADV Part 2’ is available here.
Q. Will I be required to sign a non-public, binding arbitration agreement agreement, SEC- Investor Arbitration Alert, with your firm in order to engage your services as an adviser?
A. Most financial advisory firms operate under FINRA rules which dictate that the customer sign this agreement. It limits clients from suing the adviser in court.
CMW is not supervised by the brokerage industry watch dog, but the SEC and/or state regulators as an independent RIA. The firm has a legally binding fiduciary obligation to its clients to solely serve your best interests.
Q. Will you provide a written disclosure of disciplinary history for your firm?
A. CMW submits this information each year to regulators annually and makes this update available online and upon request to clients and prospective clients. Neither the firm nor any of its members have any disciplinary history to disclose.
Q. Describe the depth of expertise that you have in your firm.
A. Most people assume all advisors possess similar background, education, training and experience. This is not true in the financial services industry.
CMW’s principals each possess high levels of education, training and expertise specific to financial planning, investment management and fiduciary services. One principal holds the AIF® designation; the two others are CFP® professionals. Additionally, together the principals possess over 65 years of hands-on financial experience.
Q. How often do you meet with your clients? How much time is built into the cost of services you normally allow and how is that cost covered? How accessible can I expect you to be on an ongoing basis and are there other charges involved?
A. CMW meets once for initial consultations at no cost with prospective clients before entering into a professional engagement. For ongoing asset management and advisory services we encourage regular meetings at least annually for reviews and to address other planning issues as they arise. This is part of the advisory relationship and is covered in the investment advisory fee.
Financial Planning with development of an investment policy statement are quoted as a onetime charge for each case and is due upon presentation and client satisfaction. Fees are quoted based on the scope of this engagement. Planning documents are presented as a stand-alone deliverable without obligation to implement through CMW.
Q. Do you work with my other advisors?
A. We routinely work in collaboration with your attorney and CPA. If you are not working with an accountant or attorney we can refer you to one. If you have insurance agents with whom you are comfortable, we will work with them to evaluate your existing programs and offer an objective second opinion. If you need an insurance professional, we can refer you to one.
Q. How do you determine who to accept as new clients?
A. CMW is committed to maintaining a high level of individual and personal attention to our clients in a safe, boutique environment. What we do is uncommon and we recognize it’s not a fit for everyone. For these reasons, we offer an initial consultation at no charge. This allows each party to explore the potential for a satisfying working relationship. We also provide specific feedback regarding issues and concerns. This is usually accomplished in one meeting. If both parties are confident to move ahead, a second meeting is scheduled that normally leads to a formal service agreement.
Q. What distinguishes your firm from others that appear to offer the same or similar services?
A. CMW is an independent, Fee-only investment advisory firm. We offer a distinctive set of personalized, hands-on services in a safe and welcoming environment. Clients are empowered by our educational emphasis. We make it very simple for prospective clients to decide if we are a match. It this case, it is common to hear clients say they have ‘never seen anything like what you do.’
FINRA, a self-regulatory body (watch-dog), supervising more than 640,000 sales representatives popularly called ‘financial advisors’ lists over 170 financial designations, many of which require little or no demonstrated knowledge or continuing education. If you don’t ask you won’t know what qualifies a financial advisor to be trusted with your life savings.
CMW is one of very few Fee-only firms in the nation led by Certified Financial Planner™ professionals. Of the 76,000 CFP® professionals in the nation, fewer than 5,800 list themselves as Fee-only with the CFP Board. CMW is the one firm of this type in the Verde Valley region of Arizona and the only one in Tri-Cities Tennessee with over 25 years of continuous service to clients in East Tennessee.
To learn more or set an appointment contact us!