QHow do I start the process?
The first step is an initial inquiry from you. Contact us here or call (610) 648-0700. We offer a free initial consultation by phone or in-person. When you decide to engage Structured Asset Management, Inc. we will discuss with you the steps and data collection process that will be needed for your situation. A large part of the value you receive is from participating in the process. Articulating your goals is the first step towards achieving them.
QHow often will I get reports from you?
All of your trade orders, confirmations and statements are sent to you on monthly basis by the custodian. In addition, for investment management we provide a comprehensive customized quarterly report. Clients can access their statements online from their custodian at any time.
QHow long does it take you to get started?
After engagement of Structured Asset Management, Inc. it generally takes from two weeks to three months to develop a plan and fully invest your assets.
QDo you hold my money?
Absolutely not! We are fee only registered investment advisors, not brokers. Your funds and securities are held at a custodian in your name only.
QDo you work with individual stocks?
We do not generally recommend individual stocks in constructing portfolios. We believe research and experience have shown that broadly diversified baskets of equities are the best way to invest. We do however deal with individual stocks on a regular basis in two instances. A client who has an existing position in individual stocks, or who is receiving company stock as compensation needs an appropriate assessment and a strategy for managing their holdings. Hedging existing holdings and effective tax strategies always need to be addressed. We always work with your existing equity holdings to integrate them into your structured portfolio design.
QOver what period of time will my money be invested?
This very much depends upon your reasons for investing. Do you want to fund a college education for a child, save for a secure retirement or leave a legacy for generations to come? Each of these has different inputs that will impact your asset allocation. Remember that we design portfolios to help you achieve your goals based upon your goals, time horizon and risk tolerance. However, we generally do not recommend that you invest in equities if your time horizon is less than five years.
QHow often do you review my investments and my account?
We monitor our clients' investments on a monthly basis to search for information that may impact their holdings. Since our philosophy is long-term we recommend very little trading outside of rebalancing considerations. Each client's overall asset allocation is reviewed at least once a quarter when we make recommendations about rebalancing.
QWhy is it so important to watch costs? Aren't they all similar?
Keep this in mind as the best free advice you will ever get Costs Count - a 1% reduction in your costs will result in a 20% greater terminal balance for your portfolio over a twenty year period. That is a huge amount. It can make the difference between living the lifestyle you choose and living a lifestyle chosen for you.
It might not be quite as sexy to tell your friends that you reduced your costs by 1% as it is to talk about a hot stock, but it can be much more profitable in the long run.
There is a huge variation in costs among different investments and only a few of them are visible to the average investor. Tax costs, trading costs, custody costs, mutual fund expenses, annuity fees, and 12B-1 fees are just the tip of the iceberg and require careful management.
QYou mention Dimensional Fund Advisors on your web site; do they pay you to use their funds?
No, we are fee only advisors and take no compensation from anyone other than our clients whom we serve. We use a lot of Dimensional Fund Advisors funds in our client portfolios because we believe they are vastly superior to almost any other offering out there. DFA funds are based upon the best in continuous academic research.
They are institutional only; meaning they limit investor access to the funds, prohibit trading in and out, and have very low expenses. They can only be accessed through investment advisors who have gone through a rigorous approval process. This institutional only nature reduces turnover, costs, and taxes which improves returns for investors.
QWhy do you write an Investment Policy statement and what does it cover?
We write our recommendations into an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) which covers all the details of your investment plan and serves as the controlling document for all of our actions. The Investment policy Statement:
- Establishes the investor’s expectations, objectives and guidelines in the investment of the Portfolio’s assets
- Creates the framework for a well-diversified asset mix that can be expected to generate acceptable long-term returns at a level of risk suitable to the Investor, including:
- Describing an appropriate risk posture for the investment of the Investor’s Portfolio specifying the target asset allocation policy
- Establishing investment guidelines regarding the selection of investment managers, permissible securities and diversification of assets
- Specifying the criteria for evaluating the performance of the Portfolio’s assets
- Defines the responsibilities of the investor and the advisor
- Encourages effective communication between the investment manager and the investor