What is a Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®)?
Licensed by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, CFP®s must complete an advanced college-level course of study addressing financial planning subject areas, including insurance planning and risk management, employee benefits planning, investment planning, income tax planning, retirement planning, and estate planning. In addition, they must pass the comprehensive CFP® certification examination and obtain at least three years of full-time financial planning-related experience. To maintain the designation, CFP®s must complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years. As a member of NAPFA, Mike completes a total of 60 hours of continuing education every two years.
What is a “fee-only” planner?
NAPFA defines a fee-only planner as someone who, in all circumstances, is compensated solely by the client, with neither the advisor nor any related party receiving compensation that is contingent on the purchase or sale of a financial product. A NAPFA member or affiliate may not receive commissions, rebates, awards, finder’s fees, bonuses, or any form of compensation from others as a result of a client’s implementation of his or her planning recommendations.
Why is fee-only compensation of critical importance?
A financial planner who has a financial stake in the course of action that he or she recommends to a client faces an inherent conflict of interest and cannot be considered objective and unbiased. This is true even if the planner truly believes that he or she has only the best interests of the client at heart. Unfortunately, for years, financial “experts” have been selling financial products—not services. For these salesmen, some or all of their income may be dependent upon their ability to steer their clients to a limited slice of the thousands of financial products available today. (Putting aside the conflict of interest factor, this limiting of choices in and of itself is often enough to impact the quality of the investment advice.) These advisors include stockbrokers, analysts, insurance agents, accountants, and attorneys, as well as financial planners. Many of their clients are not aware of their advisors’ dependence on selling products, or else they do not recognize its significance. NAPFA believes that many of the problems that beset Americans today in their financial affairs – including the mismanagement of debt, failure to protect retirement assets, and poor allocation of savings and investments – relate directly to the conflicts of interest that pervade the marketplace.
What is NAPFA?
NAPFA, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, is an organization through which fee-only financial planners can further enhance their professional skills, market their services and become part of a collective, influential voice on matters that affect them and their clients. Founded in 1983, NAPFA currently has more than 2,400 members nationwide.
What is the significance of the term, “NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor?”
It indicates that a financial planner adheres to the industry’s most demanding practice requirements, including fee-only compensation, and meets NAPFA’s rigorous standards. We believe that, through our NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor program, we have created the financial planning industry’s clearest message about the level of responsibility and care that must be exercised on behalf of each client.
What is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)?
As an RIA, Bienvenue Wealth LLC acts in a fiduciary capacity when engaged for comprehensive financial planning. Under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, any firm that is engaged in the business of providing financial advice for a fee is considered to be an “investment advisor.” RIAs are required to be registered with the appropriate federal or state agency. Unlike traditional stockbrokers, this means that the firm always put the interests of our clients ahead of our own interests serving as your fiduciary.
What is a fiduciary?
Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), a fiduciary is any person, company, or association that renders investment advice for a fee or other compensation with respect to the funds or property of a plan, or who has the authority to do so. A fiduciary exercises discretionary authority or control over the management of a plan or the management of the disposition of its assets, or has the discretionary authority or responsibility in administering a plan. Importantly, a fiduciary is bound to always act in the best interests of the client. See my complete fiduciary statement.
What is your fee structure?
At Bienvenue Wealth LLC, our compensation is 100% transparent, so you know exactly what we make and the value we provide. As a fee-only RIA, we charge an annual retainer rate for financial planning services ranging from $3K-$20K based on the complexity of your needs, or a competitive asset under management (AUM) annual fee ranging from 0.6% to 1.2% based on the amount of assets we manage.
Do you have a minimum account size?
While we do not have a minimum account size, our services are best suited for clients with investable assets in excess of $500,000.
How do I know my money is safe?
Bienvenue Wealth LLC works directly with an independent third-party custodian, First Clearing, and all of our client assets are held in protected First Clearing accounts. Your funds will never be commingled with any other investments.
I’m an educated person. Why would I need a financial advisor?
Highly successful and disciplined people know that accountability is a key to success. However, many people with the knowledge and experience to manage their own assets will procrastinate when it’s time to make a decision. Often their own needs take a back seat to jobs or family. We add value not only by helping you develop a plan, but also by implementing and adjusting it when necessary. My knowledge and accountability as a financial advisor can help you put a plan in place and take the actions necessary to meet your goals.