fiduciary financial advisors faqs

CPA CFP® Credentials

What is the CFP® certification?

The CFP® (Certified Financial Planner) certification identifies individuals who have met rigorous professional standards and have agreed to adhere to principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism, and diligence when dealing with clients. To become certified, an individual must meet educational, examination, experience, and ethics requirements.

What is a CPA?

A CPA is a Certified Public Accountant who is licensed by a state board of accountancy. To earn a CPA, one must demonstrate knowledge and competence by meeting high educational standards, passing an exam, and attaining a specific amount of general accounting experience. A CPA license is the accounting profession’s highest standard of competence, a symbol of achievement and assurance of quality.

What is the PFS credential?

The PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) is a credential for CPAs who specialize in personal financial planning (PFP). The PFS is granted solely to CPAs with considerable PFP education and experience who want to demonstrate their knowledge, skill and experience by earning this exclusive credential.

Financial Planning and Investment Management Services

Do you sign a confidentiality agreement with clients?

We definitely can, but a confidentiality agreement is not necessary. Our clients should feel free to discuss anything they feel comfortable sharing with us, and know that our conversation will not leave the room unless instructed by the client. We update our privacy policy annually and treat the Client-Advisor relationship with utmost importance.

Do I have to have investments in stocks and bonds to be a client?

No, you do not. While investment management is one of our core services, we can still work with a client in other financial planning areas, including tax-planning, retirement planning, trust consulting, charitable giving, and estate planning strategies.

What is your business continuity plan? Do I work with one CPA investment advisor or a team?

Our clients will typically work with one lead advisor, but our firm works as a team. Should something unexpected occur, you can feel comfortable knowing that another team member can pick up right where your advisor left off.

What services does marrick wealth not provide?

We do not sell insurance, provide legal advice, or prepare taxes.

What items should I bring to an introductory meeting? Is there a charge?

There is no cost for an initial consultation with one of our fiduciary, fee-only financial advisors. Before the meeting, we will request a few documents, including tax returns and investment statements. This will give us a starting point for our conversation.

Do you prepare tax returns?

We do not prepare tax returns, but we provide comprehensive tax-planning for our clients. Our fiduciary, fee-only investment advisors are licensed CPAs and have experience preparing many types of tax returns, but we leave the tax preparation to accounting firms. However, we are happy to help our clients select the right accountant for their situation.

What type of professionals do you typically coordinate with as part of a client’s advisory team?

We typically coordinate with a client’s accountant, attorney, insurance agent, and more. We can also provide contacts for our clients, should they be in need of a specific professional. We DO NOT receive referral fees from any other professionals.

Do you only work with clients in California?

Thanks to technology, we work with clients all over the United States, and have the ability to work with clients in other countries.

How do I know you will not steal my money (i.e. Bernie Madoff)?

As an Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), we use a third-party custodian to hold client assets. We currently use Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade as custodian for our clients. Having your accounts at a third-party custodian adds an extra layer of protection for your assets.

How many clients do you have?

We currently work with just over 60 client families. We pride ourselves on the client-advisor experience and being able to provide comprehensive financial planning and investment management services to our clients, without sacrificing quality. Thus, we strategically have fewer clients per fiduciary investment advisor than the industry average.


Is Fee-Only the only fee structure? How do non Fee-Only firms charge their clients?

Other firms may use a commission-only or fee-based model to charge their clients. Fee-Based is a combination of the commission-only and fee-only financial advisor compensation models.

What fees do clients pay to marrick wealth?

We can collect fees in any of three ways: as a percentage of assets under management, as a flat fee, or on an hourly basis.

How are you compensated?

As a Fee-Only RIA, we aim to minimize conflicts of interest between advisors and the investment solutions used for our clients. According to a NAPFA, a Fee-Only financial advisor is compensated solely by the client, and does not receive contingent payments or commissions from the sale of financial products.

Do you have a minimum fee?

We do not have a minimum fee, but for our investment management services, we have a portfolio minimum of $500,000. We charge on assets under management for investment management, and/or an hourly fee for financial planning. For portfolios exceeding $2,000,000, we include all of our financial planning services and waive the financial planning fee; clients would only be subject to investment management fees in this scenario.

Industry Lingo

What is the difference between discretionary and non-discretionary investment authority?

Discretionary investment management is a form of investment management where trading decisions are made for clients at the portfolio manager’s discretion. Under non-discretionary investment management, trades must be discussed and approved by clients before taking place. Most of our client accounts are managed on a discretionary basis, but our clients are free to choose whichever option they prefer.

What does it mean to be a fiduciary? Are you a fiduciary for your clients?

A fiduciary financial advisor is one who acts in utmost good faith, in a manner he or she reasonably believes to be in the best interest of the client. As a Registered Investment Advisor, we act as fiduciaries to our clients. At marrick wealth, our CPA financial planners have an additional fiduciary standard of care as a result of holding CPA and CFP® certifications.

What are separately managed accounts?

Similar to a mutual fund, a separately managed account is a professionally managed investment strategy that owns a basket of securities (e.g., stocks or bonds). Unlike a mutual fund, which pools the assets of multiple investors, a separately managed account is managed on behalf of only one investor, and therefore can be customized to meet the unique investment and tax objectives of that investor.

What is NAPFA?

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the country’s leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors who are committed to working in the best interest of those they serve. All of our fiduciary investment advisors are NAPFA-registered financial advisors, which is the highest level of membership. Each advisor in this category must satisfy several requirements, including: holding the CFP® certification, attaining a Bachelor’s Degree, participating in a peer review, and completing 60 hours of continuing education every 2 years.

What is the difference between passive and active strategies?

An indexed investment strategy seeks to track the returns of a market or market segment with no tracking error, before costs. In contrast, actively managed investment strategies seek to achieve a return or risk level that differs from that of a market-cap-weighted benchmark.

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