Frequently Asked Questions About Wealth Management
Frequently asked questions:
- What does Emerson Investment Management do for me as a client?
- What is a RIA?
- Can you describe Emerson’s company culture?
- Who owns Emerson Investment Management?
- Does Emerson require a minimum account size to become a client?
- What does “fiduciary duty” mean?
- Who answers questions about my portfolio?
- How is Emerson compensated?
- What is the difference between fee-based advice and commission-based advice?
- How do I set up an initial appointment with you?
We offer a comprehensive and understandable wealth plan that addresses your financial needs and life goals based on our review of your financial situation and tolerance for investment risk.
We can also integrate strategies you may have with other advisors to ensure a combined strategy that suits your financial needs. Where planning needs fall outside Emerson’s expertise (e.g. insurance and estate planning), we can work with your other advisors to help achieve your investment goals.
We will monitor your portfolio, manage the investment changes and meet regularly to review your personal and financial situation. And as changes happen in your life we can implement appropriate adjustment to your wealth plan.
RIA stands for “Registered Investment Advisor”, a term for wealth managers who register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). We believe you are well served by an RIA, because RIA firms have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interest of their clients. This means employees of RIA firms must place their client’s needs in front of their employer’s needs – an important distinction from investment firms that are not RIAs. Emerson has been a registered RIA since 1985. (Please note, registration as a RIA does not imply a certain level of skill or training.)
Most importantly, we are invested in relationships with our clients. As a client-centric firm our employees endeavor to know you and your family’s goals — whereas some firms only know their clients as account numbers. Emerson is also a team-oriented company, drawing on the diverse talents of multiple employees to advise our clients. Our goal is to meet or exceed your wealth advice needs. Integrity and transparency are an important foundation in all of our work, and our employees lead balanced lives outside of Emerson, involved in their families and communities. A key part of our company culture is also a focus on growth for both growing the company and growing the careers of our employees. We believe you are best served by a healthy company with measured growth.
Emerson is primarily owned by its employees and Board of Directors. We’re proud to be an independent firm, not a subsidiary of a larger financial firm. As an independent firm we are better able to serve you objectively and without other distractions.
Yes. Our minimum asset size for one relationship is $1 million. We must maintain a minimum relationship size to assure we can provide you with customized and personal service. We are committed to existing clients that may have investment portfolios below Emerson’s minimum size.
Fiduciary duty is our obligation as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) to act in the best interestof our clients. Those investment “advisors” that are not RIAs may not be bound by a fiduciary duty to their clients. We believe your interests are well-served by a RIA like Emerson.
At Emerson you will have a team of two senior managers and a client service associate dedicated to addressing your questions and needs. Depending on your investment question, we can also engage our analysts in a conference call or meeting. Any client question will be addressed thoroughly and promptly by our client-focused employees.
Emerson is a 100% fee-based advisor. This means Emerson’s only compensation from you is a professional fee based on the size of your portfolio. We charge a percentage of your portfolio value at the beginning of each quarter. The annual fee starts at 1.2% for the first $2 million, and the percentage declines for larger portfolios. If the value of your portfolio increases, so does our fee. And if the portfolio value declines, our fee declines, so our interests are aligned.
Fee-based advice is very different from commission-based advice, and it is important that you understand how your advisor is being paid. If an advisor is paid on commissions it is normally an up-front fee, and the amount depends on what product the advisor is recommending for sale. For example, commissions (or “loads”) on “A” share mutual funds are typically several percentage points, and commissions can vary widely from fund to fund. In contrast, a fee-based advisor is not influenced by the commission amount, so the fee-based advisor can objectively select the investments that are aligned with your goals. Emerson is a fee-based advisor, and we receive no commissions on transactions, so our interests are aligned with you, the client.
Simply call 617-695-1516. We’ll put you in touch with one of our wealth managers for a brief preliminary conversation to discuss your particular situation and needs. After this, our next step is normally to schedule an in-depth meeting at a location convenient to you.
If you were introduced to Emerson by a friend or family member, please let us know. The greatest compliment a current client can provide is the introduction of a friend or family member, so we want to thank them.