ClientFirst Wealth Management | Edward Mahaffy, MBA, CFP®, ChFC
What would improve transparency and peace of mind for individual investors?
Require mutual funds and variable annuities to disclose fees more transparently. Studies show many investors mistakenly believe they are not paying commissions. They pay 1.5 to 2 percent annually without realizing it. The fund does not charge each shareholder directly so they never see an invoice for financial advice. Require all financial advisors to be full-time fiduciaries—legally required to always place clients’ interests first.
What sets yours apart from other firms?
ClientFirst Wealth Management is a fee-only investment advisor and a full-time fiduciary registered with the SEC. ClientFirst specializes in fixed-income/retirement-income solutions. There are no quotas, commissions or hidden fees, such as 12b-1 fees. Clients hold their assets at their choice of custodian and work directly with their portfolio manager, eliminating a layer of expenses. Savings are passed on to the client. Trust begins with transparency and ClientFirst provides absolute transparency.
What do you like best about your job?
Helping clients reach their goals and achieve peace of mind. I enjoy learning from clients as well as educating them. I wrote an article in August 2010 for Barron’s magazine about the fiduciary standard of client care, and a book in 2012 about financial advice/investment management. I describe in detail ClientFirst’s proven approach. Prospective clients receive a copy. Owning my firm means I control the expenses and pass considerable savings on to clients.
Do you have a niche clientele?
High-net worth individuals and community banks. ClientFirst specializes in customized portfolios of tax-exempt bonds and is not tied to any brokerage firm’s inventory. Relationships with many broker-dealers also provides plenty of research for fixed-income, as well as equities. Clients also benefit from financial planning – aided by stated final maturities in their fixed-income portfolios.
What makes your customer service outstanding?
Diligence, accessibility and accountability. Clients can reach their portfolio manager seven days a week. Decisions can be made quickly and nobody has to call New York to solve a problem. Also, some clients want to be actively involved in security selection. I am happy to accommodate. Try getting a mutual fund or a separate accounts manager from a Wall Street firm to do that. Accountability means that the buck stops with me.
What’s your investment philosophy?
Start saving and investing early. Understand the time-value of money, the securities you own and why you own them. Know how (fee, commission or a combination) and how much you compensate your advisor. Have him/her identify all fees. Insist your advisor and their firm have a full-time fiduciary legal obligation to always place your interests first – and get it in writing. If they refuse, find another advisor.
How many hours do you work a week? 40+
Two hobbies outside of work: Reading and outdoor activities of all sorts
Best financial advice you’ve ever been given: Worry about the pennies and the dollars will come.