Have a question?
In any relationship, honesty and transparency are critical. We believe this builds a long-lasting partnership built on trust. This FAQ section is aimed at shedding light on our company and the financial advice industry. We hope you find it helpful:
Yes, your assets will be safe and secure. After careful consideration, we chose Charles Schwab to be our custodian. A custodian is the financial firm that holds onto your assets for safe keeping. You always own your assets; Schwab just holds onto them for you (this is the same setup as at Merrill). This was an important decision, one that we are thrilled about, and are happy to go into more detail during our next conversation.
Schwab is one of the largest brokerage firms in the world and is committed to keeping client assets safe. As of April 2021, Schwab custodies over $7 trillion in client assets with comprehensive measures in place to help protect your privacy and security. They will also cover 100% of any losses in your accounts due to unauthorized activity, based on their current policies. In your welcome packet, you will find two pieces explaining this in more detail: “How Client Assets Are Protected at Schwab” and “Charles Schwab – Who We Are”.
We would have loved to inform you of our move beforehand, and asked for your input. However, laws and other regulations didn’t allow us to do that. It was difficult not sharing the news earlier, but we are free to tell you about it now.
After two decades at a national Wall Street firm, we came to the conclusion that the best place to take care of our clients was in an independent fiduciary model. Oftentimes the goals of the corporate shareholders were not in line with our clients’ best interests. As a Fiduciary, we look out for you – we have no other agenda. As an independent firm, we are not limited to one company’s investment choices. Instead, we can pick the best of the best from many options. We believe the future of financial advice is in the independent space.
No. There have been big shifts in the financial world over the last decade. Because of the advancement of technology, smaller firms often have advantages compared to larger firms. Independent firms are likely to have access to more investment opportunities, can more quickly adapt to changes in technology, and have access to cutting-edge software that helps us deliver better outcomes for clients.
For these reasons, advisors leaving large brokerage firms has accelerated. Many are finding that the independent model is better for their clients, staff, and community.
No, there will not be any significant changes to our relationship or how we work together. We are committed as ever to give you the best possible service and personal attention.
We will serve you based on a fiduciary standard – looking out for your best interest and remaining focused on helping you achieve your goals.
No, your investments will not have to change. We have the ability to maintain your existing investments, and as the markets shift, have even more investment choices to help us prepare for what’s ahead. A major benefit of being an independent wealth firm is the opportunity to bring more investment opportunities to our clients.
To serve you as a fiduciary means we will act in your best interest, above all else. We owe you our complete loyalty and must place your interests ahead of our own and of the firm. Kickstand operates under a fiduciary framework.
We have worked hard to make the process as easy as possible. First, we will help you open accounts at Schwab similar to those you had at Merrill. Then, upon your instruction, we will initiate a transfer of the assets from your old accounts at Merrill, to your new accounts at Schwab. These transfers will be “In-Kind” which means nothing is sold from your account and there are no tax consequences. This applies to both retirement, and non-retirement accounts. Merrill will charge a transfer fee against your account, but we will credit those fees to your new account after your assets are at Schwab. It is important to note that there will be no time at which your investments are out of the market. Once your accounts are set up, you will have online access to your Schwab accounts via their website and the mobile app for your phone and tablet.
To us, independence means we no longer work for a financial firm with a pre-selected menu of investment choices. We are now “free agents”, and able to talk to multiple financial institutions about finding a solution that makes the most sense for you.
For example, if we suggest a client refinance their mortgage to save money, instead of only being able to recommend our parent company’s mortgage, we can search any bank on your behalf and recommend the one with the lowest interest rate and lowest costs. This is not typically the case at the large national brokerage firms.
No. Fees will not change. We have always believed in being fully transparent, and welcome any questions you have in this regard.
You will have access to your account via our new website using the client portal. This is a state-of-the-art service that is clear, well organized, detailed and user friendly. You will also be able to download an app for your phone or tablet. Lastly, if you would like, we can continue to send you monthly paper statements.