The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of a business oversees and manages financial matters to maximize value. As your Personal CFO, we assume a similar role for you by integrating financial life planning with investment management in a proactive, ongoing, and fiduciary relationship that seeks to maximize your wealth after all fees and taxes.
Conventional industry methods calculate advisory fees as a percentage of direct assets under management (AUM). Advantages of this approach include the dynamic ability to price services based on value and affordability to a range of clients. The unfortunate disadvantages, however, are that AUM models can reduce transparency and introduce unintended conflicts of interest, which can influence advisors to indiscriminately "gather assets." While having an advisor directly manage your assets is often desirable, there are certain circumstances where the right solution for you is not available under any advisory platform. Common examples where this conflict can arise are the decision of where to hold cash reserves and whether to participate in or maintain an employer retirement plan, such as a 401(k).
Our fixed fee approach retains the positive aspects of considering client asset levels but also eliminates the unnecessary conflicts of interest inherent in an AUM approach. After a no-cost and no-commitment discovery process, we will propose a fixed fee based on the complexity of your financial situation, level of investable assets, and estimated time involved. Throughout the relationship, we will then periodically review this with you and propose adjustments to ensure it stays commensurate with the services provided and value received.
Inline with our laminar philosophy, our fees are competitive and often lower than other advisors offering similar services. Determined on a client-by-client basis, fees range from $5,000 - $25,000 per year, which typically translates to 0.50% - 1.00% of investable assets for most of our clients. Further, when you work with us you are also likely to significantly decrease your other investment costs and taxes. As a result, we are confident that, relative to the fees we charge, the value we deliver will be difficult to match.
As your Personal CFO, we seek to provide true wealth management, which we define as a Collaborative Relationship with Financial Life Planning and Investment Management. Below we outline examples of the specific services included in each of these categories, however, this list is not exhaustive as we tailor our services to the needs of each client.
What you should be asking every advisor before you entrust them with your financial life.
What you should be asking every advisor before you entrust them with your financial life.
Yes, Laminar Wealth LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA). David Oransky and Mary Oransky are Investment Adviser Representatives (IAR) of Laminar Wealth LLC.
No, we do not sell any investment or insurance products. Other financial advisors have chosen to be dually registered under a hybrid business model so that they can earn both advisory fees from their clients and commissions from financial and insurance companies for certain products they recommend. While the current law allows this, we believe that wearing “two hats” is confusing and difficult to discern when your advisor is acting in your best interests as a fiduciary versus when they are acting as a sales person for the companies they represent. As a fee-only advisor, we never take off the “fiduciary hat” and are always representing you and acting in your best interests. If the need for insurance products arises (it often does) we will refer to you to a qualified insurance agent and then act as your advocate throughout the process.
Yes, we are a fiduciary under the law. We will continue to be a fiduciary at all times during the advisor-client relationship and with respect to all of your accounts and all of the advice we provide to you. We believe in always placing your best interests first, acting with prudence, and avoiding conflicts of interest.
Laminar Wealth LLC a fee-only advisor, which means the only compensation we receive comes directly from our clients in the form of transparent advisory fees.
No, we do not receive any commissions, including 12(b)1 fees, nor do we have any financial incentive to recommend certain financial or insurance products.
No, we do not recommend or use any propriety products. While proprietary products are not necessarily bad, they often are not the best or lowest-cost either. Moreover, recommending proprietary products often results in additional compensation to the advisor or their firm, a conflict of interest we think should be avoided.
No, we do not engage in principal or agency transactions with our clients. A principal transaction is where the advisor, for its own account, sells or purchases securities from you. This is often seen when purchasing individual bonds and you are sold a bond out of the firm’s own inventory. Similar to proprietary products, this isn’t necessarily bad but often results in the firm making more money on the transaction and may not always be in your best interests. An agency transaction is where the advisor arranges a trade between two of its own clients. The danger here is that the transaction could be structured in a manner that benefits one client to the detriment of another. Any recommendation we make or transaction we effect on your behalf is done so because we believe it is in your best interests and we have no additional financial incentive.
No, any referrals we make to other professionals are based solely on our belief that it will be beneficial to you. We do not accept any referral fees or kickbacks. These professionals may also refer clients to us, but they are under no obligation or expectation to do so and we will not compensate them for any referrals they make to us.
Yes, we provide this to all clients before entering into a formal advisor-client relationship and on an annual basis thereafter. We have also made this available to the public here.
No, the firm and its representatives have clean records. You can view these public disclosures for any advisor or firm at http://brokercheck.finra.org/.
Yes, we would be happy to share the names of other professionals we have worked closely with to serve our clients, such as CPAs, attorneys, or insurance agents so that you can learn more about our abilities and client services. Given the private nature of our work and our commitment of trust and loyalty to our clients, we are unable to provide contact information for client references.
We require that all clients hold their accounts with an independent custodian. Safeguards such as these prevent the type of theft and fraud that was experienced by clients/victims of Bernie Madoff, where the advisor was also acting as the custodian. While you may choose any qualified custodian, we typically recommend opening accounts at TD Ameritrade Institutional due to their low fees, array of services, and the ability for you to easily authorize us to manage your accounts with a limited power of attorney (LPOA). An LPOA enables us to place trades and deduct advisory fees from your account(s) but restricts cash withdrawals or transfers to accounts not owned by you. Advisory fees will only be deducted from your account in accordance with a written advisory agreement and we will send an informational invoice to you at the same time. Additionally, TD Ameritrade will provide trade confirmations and monthly statements to you directly so that you have a record of what activity has taken place in your accounts. TD Ameritrade also provides an Asset Protection Guarantee that can provide up to $150 Million of coverage for your account.
In the event that you decide not to work with us anymore, we will simply disconnect our authority over your account(s) held at the independent custodian (e.g. TD Ameritrade Institutional). All of your accounts always remain in your name and at the same custodian. You could then authorize a new advisor on your account, manage it on your own, or transfer it to another custodian. No matter what, you always remain in control and have direct access to your accounts through the independent custodian.
One of our primary roles as your investment advisor is to reduce your all-in investment costs. In addition to the transparent advisory fee you pay directly to us, there are two additional direct costs that you may incur to implement your investment portfolio.
Fund Expense Ratios: This is the annualized fee that mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) charge their shareholders. It includes management fees, administrative fees, operating costs, and all other asset-based costs. According to a 2016 Morningstar Report, the asset-weighted average expense ratio across all funds was 0.61% in 2015. This figure has come down significantly over time but is still unnecessarily high in our opinion. By contrast, the asset-weighted average expense ratio of the investment portfolios we recommend for our clients typically range from 0.10%-0.25%.
Transaction Fees & Commissions: These fees are charged by the custodian where your accounts are held and incurred when you buy or sell certain investments. We often recommend TD Ameritrade Institutional as a custodian to our clients in part due to their low fees. In fact, most of the ETFs we recommend trade commission-free at TD Ameritrade. The ETFs and mutual funds that are subject to transaction fees cost $9.99 and $24.00, respectively, per trade. We keep your total transaction costs low in two ways. First, our investment philosophy lends itself to low turnover and thus fewer transactions than a more active or tactical strategy. Second, anytime we are looking to purchase a fund on your behalf we evaluate the impact of any transaction costs and will purchase a commission-free substitute when appropriate.
No, in order to determine the most appropriate investment portfolio we must first have a thorough understanding of your overall objectives and how your investment portfolio integrates with the rest of your financial life. Providing investment advice without a financial plan would be like a physician prescribing medicine without first examining and diagnosing the patient.
David and Mary work collaboratively on all clients. We have made the conscious decision to limit the size of our practice and don’t intend to hire associate advisors. One of the aspects our clients tell us they like best is that they know they are working with a stable team and won’t be passed off to a new associate advisor.
The clients we work best with tend to share our philosophy on life and money. We may be a great fit for you, if you…
Live well within your means
Seek to balance living for today while still planning for tomorrow
View human capital (time, energy, and skills) as your best resource even if you also have significant financial resources
Have a long-term perspective to investing and aren’t easily tempted by hot tips or get rich quick schemes
Believe that minimizing investment costs is a better approach to maximizing returns than stock picking or market timing
Are in a high tax bracket and want to minimize the tax drag of your investments