Ten Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Planner
The Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) Board of Standards created the following ten questions as a tool to assist you in evaluating financial services firms. Uhler Vertich White Advisors, LLC is proud of the ethical standards, experience and credentials we offer our clients.
Here are our answers to the questions provided by the Certified Financial Planner™ Board of Standards.
1 – WHAT EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE? AND:
2 – WHAT ARE YOUR QUALIFICATIONS?
Uhler Vertich White Advisors (UVWA) is a team of experienced professionals. Our collective experience in the financial services, investment, trust and banking fields exceeds 200 years. Our planners and Client Service Associate are securities and life and health insurance licensed. Other support staff have prior significant experience in trust services, investment management, securities supervision and management, banking and bank management.
Tom Uhler holds general securities representative and principal licenses and is Florida licensed as an agent in the areas of life and health insurance. His relevant experience spans over forty years of serving clients in Southwest Florida.
Corey Vertich holds a general securities representative license and is licensed as a Florida life and health insurance agent. He holds a college degree in finance and accounting and is a member of the Financial Planning Association. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.
Scott White holds a general securities representative license and is a licensed life and health insurance agent. He earned his MBA, is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma international business society, and is a member and past president of the Financial Planning Association Southwest Florida Chapter. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, a Chartered Financial Consultant®, and a Chartered Life Underwriter® professional.
Shane Carrier holds a general securities representative and and is a licensed life and health insurance agent. He holds a college degree in business administration and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.
Bryan Fiore holds general securities representative and principal licenses and holds the CRPC® retirement planning designation and the CSRIC™ Societal Responsible Investing title.
3 – WHAT SERVICES DO YOU OFFER?
Uhler Vertich White Advisors is a comprehensive financial planning firm and Independent Registered Investment Adviser. We assist our clients with:
- Protection/Insurance planning,
- Estate planning,
- Retirement planning,
- Philanthropic planning,
- Trust planning,
- Tax planning,
- IRA distribution planning,
- Income and estate tax planning,
- Intergenerational wealth transfer planning, and
- Investment planning and asset management.
In serving our clients, we interface with their accountants, attorneys and other advisors and organize and attend meetings with those advisors to coordinate the needs uncovered in our meetings. We will also recommend professional providers as needed. Raymond James does not provide tax or legal advice.
4 – WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO FINANCIAL PLANNING?
Uhler Vertich White Advisors has developed a financial planning process that is designed to benefit our clients in several ways. At the beginning of the relationship, four meetings are held. These meetings address the family’s needs, desires and concerns; no two families are the same, and the UVWA planning process helps uncover and find solutions for the issues which concern (or should concern) our clients. Together, we craft a comprehensive plan, the Investment Policy Statement, that addresses the issues, implement the plan, and regularly evaluate the plan. The last requires annual and semi-annual reviews for which UVFP does substantial preparation. Flexibility is key to any successful plan, and these ongoing meetings allow us to change course as needed for the benefit of our clients. Because we offer comprehensive planning, all the issues addressed in the prior question are brought to the table during this process.
5 – WILL YOU BE THE ONLY PERSON WORKING WITH ME?
The Uhler Vertich White Advisors team consists of three planners as well as support staff. The planners and two staff members maintain securities and insurance licenses, allowing your needs to be addressed promptly and efficiently. The Client Service Associate will meet you at the beginning of the relationship, and, once the initial planning meetings are completed, will be your primary point of contact for paperwork and requests. The planners are always available to deal with technical or complex planning issues and to conduct the scheduled reviews. Our firm has enjoyed longevity of service from our staff, allowing strong relationships to grow.
6 – HOW WILL I PAY FOR SERVICES?
Experience has taught us that clients typically prefer a fee-based arrangement, as opposed to commissioned or hourly compensation models. We also believe that this is in our clients’ best interest; our compensation is directly aligned with the value of your portfolio. Uhler Vertich White Advisors maintains suggested investment minimums for the establishment of a financial planning relationship. This helps ensure our ability to deliver ongoing, high-quality comprehensive planning to a manageable number of families. For a complete description of our fee schedule, we provide all prospective clients with our most recent SEC Form ADV, which we file annually with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the regulatory body of Registered Investment Advisors. However, if deemed appropriate and in our client’s best interest, we also provide commissioned brokerage services.
7 – HOW MUCH DO YOU TYPICALLY CHARGE?
UVWA does not charge for the preparation of a comprehensive financial plan and investment policy statement, including the four-meetings, in the initial planning process. Should a prospect choose to not continue after these meetings, no fee is due. For ongoing services, our compensation is a percentage of managed assets per year, billed quarterly in arrears. This fee covers all of our services. However, if our clients choose to purchase certain insurance products from Uhler and Vertich Financial Planners, we may be paid commissions by the issuers of such products.
In some cases, UVWA may charge an hourly or fixed fee and if deemed appropriate and in our client’s best interest, we also provide commissioned brokerage services.
Clients should periodically re-evaluate whether the use of an asset-based fee continues to be appropriate in servicing their needs. A list of additional considerations, as well as the fee schedule, is available in the firm’s Form ADV Part 2 as well as the client agreement.
8 – COULD ANYONE BESIDES ME BENEFIT FROM YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS?
Some business relationships or partnerships that a planner has could affect his or her professional judgment while working with you, inhibiting the planner from acting in your best interest. We are proud of the fact that we are independent in providing advice. Our recommendations are designed to be in the best interest of our clients.
We maintain a relationship with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. (RJFS, Member FINRA/SIPC). RJFS, is one of the largest independent financial planning broker/dealer firms in the United States. An affiliated firm, Raymond James and Associates, Inc., (RJA, Member FINRA/SIPC), serves as custodian of our clients’ investment assets.
Raymond James Financial (RJF), a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, wholly owns RJFS and RJA. While RJF owns a mutual fund family as well as an investment management firm, neither Uhler Vertich White Advisors nor our clients is under any obligation to use these firms. Indeed, it is our policy to not use these firms, in an effort to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Uhler Vertich White Advisors has adopted a policy that prohibits acceptance by it, its principals or employees of any “soft dollar” compensation. Please see our SEC Form ADV for additional detail.
9 – HAVE YOU EVER BEEN PUBLICLY DISCIPLINED FOR ANY UNLAWFUL OR UNETHICAL ACTIONS IN YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER?
We are very pleased to share with you that all financial consultants at Uhler Vertich White Advisors maintain excellent records, void of any actions detrimental to clients. UVWA is an Independent Registered Investment Adviser with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and fully complies with their prescribed regulations.
10 – CAN I HAVE IT IN WRITING?
Absolutely. Prior to your retaining us as your financial advisors, we request that all clients sign an engagement letter that outlines the services to be provided. Furthermore, we provide all prospective clients with a copy of our SEC Form ADV Part 2 and other disclosure documents; these documents describe in detail the services we provide to our clients. Finally, during the course of our initial meetings, and as a result of the information you provide us about your wants, needs and concerns, we generate a written financial plan and an Investment Policy Statement. This document, which is commonly used by endowments and other large investors, summarizes our agreed-upon policies regarding the management of your investment portfolio and is updated in the event of any significant changes in your situation.
In summary, our firm has always believed in full disclosure and that is why we welcome questions such as these, which are presented by the CFP® Board of Standards, a non-profit, professional, self-regulatory organization. We are happy to answer any additional questions you have.
In a fee-based account, clients pay a quarterly fee, based on the level of assets in the account, for the services of a financial advisor as part of an advisory relationship. In deciding to pay a fee rather than commissions, clients should understand that the fee may be higher than a commission alternative during periods of lower trading. Advisory fees are in addition to the internal expenses charged by mutual funds and other investment company securities. To the extent that clients intend to hold these securities, the internal expenses should be included when evaluating the costs of fee-based accounts. Clients should periodically re-evaluate whether the use of an asset-based fee continues to be appropriate in servicing their needs. A list of additional considerations, as well s the fee schedule is available in the firm’s Form ADV Part 2 as well as the client agreement.