That is an interesting question that we had posed to us by several clients. The inference drawn is that our advertising would attract clients in such numbers that we may become overwhelmed with activity and fall behind in servicing our existing clients. We are writing to let you know that will not happen – and why. And, by the way, we’ve always advertised. It’s simply become more noticeable recently because of focus and content.
First, advertising alone does not bring in clients in sufficient numbers to justify the expense. Yes, read that again. So, why would we spend the money to advertise? Because it works positively and synergistically with referrals provided by you, our clients, and by your other professional advisors, such as attorneys and accountants, who also refer prospective clients to us. An accountant who has referred clients to us for over 20 years recently told us that it is so much easier to refer his clients to us as they are already aware of us via our advertising. We are not gaining so many more clients than previously due strictly to advertising, so don’t let that fear stop you from referring your family, friends, neighbors and business associates to us.
Second, we have extremely efficient processes and systems. Your financial advisor is responsible for knowing everything about you, your family, your goals and your unique circumstances. He or she is part of a team comprised of a portfolio manager and an administrative professional. Your financial advisor at Fragasso Financial Advisors is a salaried professional who serves as your financial team quarterback, spending time only on your financial planning and communications. He or she does not have to spend time finding new clients, screening mutual fund data or doing paperwork. Contrast that to the more typical model in our industry where a securities broker is primarily a sales person on commission who also must follow all the securities in your portfolio (and usually doesn’t) and who also is assigned a fraction of a secretary, which means the broker does all the administrative paperwork. Now, that is where more clients mean an immediate drop in service quality. We know that from 35 years of experience in this industry and that’s why we built our model as we did. So your financial advisor specializes in you and nothing else. He or she sits on our Investment Policy Committee and has a strong voice in our asset allocation policy and in guiding our investment selection criteria. But that occurs quarterly and implementation of those policies resides with our portfolio managers. Your financial advisor has the time to pay attention to you. And, when a financial advisor hits the upper reaches of client numbers that can be handled properly, we hire more salaried financial advisors. The system and the processes, and strict allocation of duties among team members, make this possible and set us apart from the rest.
Third, we have service standards that govern how we must interact with our clients. That, very importantly, includes the number of in-person and telephone and electronic contacts you receive each year from your financial advisor and from our Portfolio Management Department. The number of contacts in each case is governed by the amount of investment assets under our control on your behalf and the complexity of the financial planning issues involved. Your financial advisor is held accountable for making those contacts as are portfolio management personnel. Our administrative professionals are measured by the speed in which they successfully handle administrative activities for you. None of this is left to chance or to individual memory. That is why our receptionist calls you to schedule your annual review appointment in our offices. The system tells her when your review is coming due and is not dependent on someone remembering to prompt her. That is why you get a portfolio management letter from Andrei Voicu, our Managing Director of Portfolio Management rather than the old-fashioned, chatty broker call talking about “what the research department thinks” and offering to sell you a new stock issue or the fund-of-the-month. Your financial advisor’s contact will hone in on your unique financial planning issues and focus on guiding you and answering your questions about goals, asset allocation and portfolio management as it relates to you and your family. He or she is uncluttered by the need to sell product, look up mutual fund data or complete beneficiary forms. Other professionals within Fragasso Advisors do that and your FA looks out for you. So, don’t worry that we’ll let him or her lose sight of that primary and all-important mission or become over-burdened with too many client relationships.
Please do not hesitate to talk about this with your financial advisor or to call the Managing Directors who oversee these activities – Debbie Graver, Mike Fertig and Bob Fragasso – to discuss this further.
This article is for informational purposes
only and not intended as financial advice. Consult your financial
advisor to determine what is appropriate for your situation.
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