Frequently Asked Questions
Please click the questions below to discover the answers.
We help individual investors solve their retirement planning, investment and wealth management problems by providing them with professional retirement planning, investment management and wealth advisory services. We help individual investors develop a plan intended to help them accumulate enough income and investment assets so that when they wish to stop working or can no longer work, they will be able to replace their earned income to support themselves in their desired lifestyle. Then we build and manage a portfolio of investments in their brokerage and retirement accounts with the goal of helping them generate the income and capital growth they will need to meet their planned expenses in retirement.
We serve our clients as an advisor, manager, leader, and counselor. In each role, we contribute differently as our clients look to us with different needs at different times. Most often, we contribute simultaneously across all capacities in differing degrees. As leaders, we provide motivation and direction. As counselors, we help remove barriers. As advisors, we provide technical advice. And as managers, we carry out process. Taken together, we are always working to position our clients in their place of greatest potential.
To learn more about how we pursue and accomplish this, read our Blog.
Yes, we only serve our clients in a fiduciary capacity.
A fiduciary stands in a special relationship of trust, confidence and responsibility with another person. The duties of a fiduciary include loyalty to the client and reasonable care with regard to the client’s assets. All of a fiduciary’s actions are to be undertaken in the best interest of the client. A fiduciary must avoid self-dealing and minimize and disclose conflicts of interest to the client.
Yes, we serve our clients for a professional fee only.
Fee-Only refers to compensation for a service. A Fee-Only financial advisor charges the client directly for advice and/or ongoing financial management. No other financial reward is provided by any institution, which means that the advisor does not receive commissions or other forms of compensation on the actions they take on the client’s behalf. Fee-Only practitioners may not receive commissions, rebates, finder’s fees, bonuses or any other form of compensation from others as a result of a client’s implementation of the practitioner’s planning recommendations. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) ascribes Fee-Only to a practitioner, who in all circumstances is compensated solely by the client, with neither the practitioner nor any related party receiving compensation that is contingent on the purchase or sale of a financial product. It is the required form of compensation for members of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Compensation is based on an hourly rate, a percent of assets managed, a flat fee, or a retainer. Fee-Only compensation helps minimize conflicts of interest.
No, fee-based means a fee is charged in addition to collecting sales or brokerage commissions and other forms of compensation.
No, we only provide professional services to our clients for a professional fee. We do not sell financial products to our clients or broker their investment transactions to generate sales commissions or other forms of compensation to us, or to meet one of the qualifications for a bonus, award, prize, educational trip or job title.
No, our firm only uses unaffiliated qualified third-party custodians to hold custody of our clients’ assets. Our clients’ accounts are held at a recognized qualified custodian like Fidelity Investments, Schwab, or TD Ameritrade and are not held in-house at ICW Investment Advisors. We have limited power over our clients’ accounts held by these qualified third-party custodians. That power is limited to buying and selling securities, moving funds between same-name accounts, and having funds sent directly to the address of record or same-name accounts at other financial institutions.
Yes, we prefer to invest in individual stocks and bonds when the accounts are large enough to achieve acceptable diversification and transactions costs. We want as few people and layers of cost between our clients and their money as possible. We have found that it helps our clients become better investors to see the dividends and interest payments deposited into their accounts directly from the companies in which they are invested. This reinforces our objective of keeping a priority focus on investing for cash flow to meet income needs.
We may also invest in open-end and closed-end mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), exchange-traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and exchange-traded master-limited partnerships (MLPs).
No, we negotiate our professional fee for each client engagement only after we believe we have a complete understanding of the scope of an engagement and the client’s expectations and requirements for the firm’s resources. We consider many different factors in determining our professional fee, including the required planning complexity, professional skillsets required, the nature, types and size of investment assets and number of accounts to be managed, regulatory and fiduciary costs, the number of family members and other professional advisors involved, the number of meetings required, client responsiveness to our requests for information, and client organizational and recordkeeping skills. Our fees are spelled out in our Form ADV Part 2A Disclosure Brochure.
There is no difference. The firm’s legal name is ICW Investment Advisors LLC. Intelligent Capitalworks is a tradename. The names are interchangeable.
Possibly. We may make exceptions, solely in our discretion, for potential clients with investable assets below $1,000,000 who plan to add additional savings to their accounts.
The term “Financial Advisor” has been co-opted by registered representatives at full-service and discount stock brokerage firms, retail bankers and insurance agents over the past 20 years. Before that time, stockbrokers had titles such as registered representatives or account executives (of the firms they worked for), insurance agents were agents (of the companies they represented), and bankers were bank employees. If they generated enough securities brokerage commissions or insurance sales commissions, they were awarded titles such as assistant vice president, vice president or senior vice president. These titles are still awarded today based upon sales and revenue production from client accounts.
As the protective regulatory walls of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1932 were falling in the mid-1990s and brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies began to merge back together again, titles for stockbrokers, insurance agents and bankers quickly and quietly morphed away from sales titles to “Financial Advisor” while regulators were busy overseeing the bigger picture of re-integrating the stockbrokerage, banking and insurance industries.
Today, the title Financial Advisor seems to be a catch-all title for just about anyone in a financial services industry. This has left consumers to figure out “what’s inside.” It’s a not-so-funny thing that we have more stringent laws for truth in food-labeling than we do for people to whom we entrust our money.
To this day, spirited debate continues whether the term “advisor” should be restricted from broad use and returned and preserved exclusively to the province of investment professionals adhering to the higher fiduciary standard of the Investment Adviser Act of 1940. To the extent that regulators have not stepped into the breach, the investigative burden continues to fall to the consumer. To that end, you must observe what they do and how they act, not what they call themselves.