Frequently Asked Questions About Wealth Management

Frequently asked questions:


What type of client does Emerson typically serve?

Aside from meeting our minimum asset size of $1 million for one relationship, every Emerson client is concerned with creating a holistic and personalized map to their financial goals.  Beyond that our clients are individuals, trusts, charitable trusts, retirement plans, IRAs, foundations, endowments and other institutions.


What is GIPS?

The Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) were created by the CFA Institute to provide investors with a uniform approach.  The GIPS website states that the GIPS standards are voluntary and based on the fundamental principles of full disclosure and fair representation of investment performance results.  Having a global standard enables investors to compare and evaluate investment managers.


What does Emerson Investment Management do for me as a client?

Emerson creates a comprehensive, customized and understandable financial roadmap to address your financial needs and life goals based on a review of your financial situation and investment goals.  We offer strategic advice that integrates with other advisors you may have and can draw from our comprehensive network of experts to answer any questions on the milestones you may encounter. Our team monitors your portfolio, manages investment changes and communicates regularly with you to review your personal and financial situation.  As changes happen in your life we can implement appropriate adjustments to your roadmap and approach to taxes.


Can you describe Emerson’s company culture?

First and foremost, we are invested in our clients and work hard to create relationships that last.  Some of our relationships span three generations.  To us, putting our clients first means we know you and your family’s goals (instead of you as a number); and we leverage our employees’ diverse skills to ensure that you get the most valuable advice.  Built on a foundation of integrity and transparency, we are dedicated to exceeding our clients wealth advisory needs.

We believe you are best served by a healthy company, and so our employees lead balanced lives in and outside of Emerson.  Our employees are involved in charities, churches, sports, and their communities.  Many of our people seek out continuing education opportunities, as well as additional certifications.


Who owns Emerson Investment Management?

Emerson is primarily owned by its employees and Board of Directors. We are proud to be an independent firm, not a subsidiary of a larger financial firm.  We believe that as an independent firm we are better able to serve you objectively.


Does Emerson require a minimum account size to become a client?

Yes.  Emerson’s minimum asset size for one relationship is $1 million. Maintaining a minimum relationship size helps assure that 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.


What does “fiduciary duty” mean?

Fiduciary duty is our obligation as an independent investment adviser registered with the SEC* to act in the best interest of our clients. Investment brokers advising clients are only required to recommend investments to clients that are deemed suitable, while investment advisers are obligated to put clients’ interests first.  We believe your interests are well-served by an independent adviser like Emerson.

* Emerson is registered as an investment adviser with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) under the Investment Adviser Act of 1940. Registration as an investment adviser with the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training.


Who answers questions about my portfolio?

At Emerson you will have a team of two portfolio managers, including at least one managing director, and a client service associate who are dedicated to addressing your questions and needs.  Depending on your investment question, we can also arrange for you to speak directly to one of our investment team analysts.  Any questions you might have will be addressed thoroughly and promptly by our client-focused employees.


How is Emerson compensated?

Emerson is a 100% fee-based adviser.  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.


What is the difference between fee-based advice and commission-based advice?

Fee-based advice is very different from commission-based advice, and it is important that you understand how your adviser is being paid.  If an adviser is paid on commissions it is normally an up-front fee, and the amount depends on what product the adviser 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 adviser is not influenced by the commission amount, so the fee-based adviser can objectively select the investments that are aligned with your goals.  Emerson is a fee-based adviser, and we receive no commissions on transactions, so our interests are aligned with you, the client.


How do I set up an initial appointment with you?

Simply call 617-695-1516 or email We will 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.


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