How is Smart Investor different from other financial advisors?
Smart Investor serves as a fiduciary and owes its highest duty of loyalty to its clients. We don't attempt to prove we have a "crystal ball" that can predict the future and "outsmart the markets." We simply follow the tenants of the Prudent Investor Rule and implement the science of Modern Portfolio Theory and Asset Class investing.
What is a fiduciary?
Black's Law Dictionary states that a fiduciary relationship is "one founded on trust or confidence reposed by one person in the integrity and fidelity of another." In practical terms, being a fiduciary means owing a duty of loyalty to the client and not acting in a manner that prejudices the interests of the client or having any conflicts of interest with the client. It is a relationship of trust.
In the context of retirement plans, an independent fiduciary can enhance the confidence and certainty of a Plan Sponsor that their Plan is being handled with honor and precision; and that their employees are being protected by an undivided loyal and accountable party. Smart Investor, serves as an ERISA 3(38) independent fiduciary and investment manager.
What is a fee-only advisor?
As fee-only advisors, we are compensated solely by you, the client. What this means is that we are paid through a combination of hourly fees, financial planning fees, and asset management fees. Smart Investor advisors do not receive commissions, rebates, awards, finder’s fees, bonuses or other forms of compensation as a result of implementing your financial plan. This compensation model reduces the potential for conflicts of interest between the advisor and the client.
How many team members does Smart Investor have and what are their roles?
Smart Investor is made up of an eleven member team of professionals. Click here to read bios for the entire firm.
What does Smart Investor do?
- Provide overall wealth management services and discretionary broadly-diversified investment management, utilizing low-cost, no-load (no-commission) asset class mutual funds, in a manner designed to achieve each client’s goals.
- Invest based on an academic, research-driven, disciplined and structured, low cost process that is grounded in the efficiency of capital markets.
- Based on each individual client’s objectives, time horizon and risk tolerance, the investment vehicles that Smart Investor uses capture five dimensions of market risk (that account for approximately 94% of the variations in market returns) with a structured, broadly-diversified portfolio to provide the optimum return at the lowest level of risk. Specifically, we:
- Define the US, international and emerging market marketplaces
- Categorize each stock based on market capitalization and book-to-market price and compute current and target positions in each stock
- Categorize fixed income securities based on credit quality and maturity duration
- Identify and invest only in countries that:
- Are committed to a Free Market Economy
- Have a good legal system that protects property rights and enforces contracts
- Provide reasonable taxation, ownership restrictions and repatriation of capital to foreign owners
- Have well-organized trading (minimum $10 billion in market capitalization), ample liquidity (minimum $10-$20 million average daily turnover) and sufficient number of publicly traded companies
- Regularly rebalance client portfolios to manage risk and enhance returns
- Implement a purchase and sale policy based on price and liquidity costs and recognize that:
- Patient, price-conscious trading reduces transaction costs
- Portfolio design promotes lower turnover
- Lower transaction costs are to be negotiated where possible
- Incorporating evidence of momentum when making buy and sell decisions
- Avoid purchases of:
- Recent IPO’s
- Companies in financial difficulty, bankruptcy or facing potential merger or acquisition
- Where appropriate, provide tax management in our client portfolios by:
- Delivering consistent exposure to the risk dimensions while maximizing after-tax returns
- Recognizing that broad diversification minimizes company-specific risk
What does Smart Investor not do?
- Buy or sell based on:
- Predictions or forecasts of future short-term market movements
- Stock picking, opinions of perceived “under” or “over valuations,” “hot tips,” overconfident or other ego-driven conclusions in an effort to keep up with the “most promising” securities
- Attempting to track, target or replicate a market index (indexes reflect the average of how active managers – stock pickers are performing)
- Attempt to “time” the markets or “move to safe havens”
- "Sector rotate” or engage in other tactical schemes
- "Bet” on limited number of investments or hold concentrated portfolios
- "Chase returns” or identify the “best manager”