The three pillars of my business are Professionalism, Objectivity, and Care.
Managing my clients' money is a privilege and responsibility. I strive to maintain the highest practice standards of competence, service, and ethics. I worked hard to earn the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ mark, the gold standard of financial advisor credentials. I am also proud to have spent the beginning of my career working for T. Rowe Price Associates, an investment firm in Baltimore with an excellent reputation for ethics and training.
Part 1. Motivation.
In my opinion, there is a big difference between a "financial salesperson" and a "financial advisor". Unfortunately, there is very little regulation to help consumers identify who's who. Ultimately, the best way to understand a professional's motivation is to find out exactly how they make their money. Some professionals collect payments from investment products sold to clients, with commissions that can vary widely. Although this arrangement can be perfectly fine and ethical with the right advisor, it does introduce sales incentives and conflicts of interest. I offer my services as a "fee only" investment advisor, collecting the same 0.92% annual fee from each portfolio regardless of investment strategy. This allows me to select investments based on the needs of my clients without impacting my own pay.
It's also important to understand that my clients' money is not actually held by me personally or by Middleton Advisory LLC. A third-party financial institution (normally TD Ameritrade Institutional) has custody of the portfolio and executes trades based on my instructions. They also send statements directly to clients and process my advisory fees. I am not a TD Ameritrade employee or contractor. They simply provide services to my clients and have Middleton Advisory LLC on record as an agent with limited power of attorney.
Part 2. Investment Philosophy
Objectivity is an important part of my approach to investing. I don't believe that anyone can reliably predict the short term movements of the economy, the stock market, or any individual investment. However, I do believe that specific classes of investments (stocks, bonds, commodities, short term bonds, etc.) exhibit group behavior that can be reasonably modeled for long term investment planning. Therefore, I prefer to invest in large bundles of securities with diverse exposure to many parts of the world economy.
As a small business owner, client satisfaction isn't just a job requirement, it's quite literally the key component to my professional success and the well being of my family. My goal is to develop a full understanding of your goals and values, working with accountants, attorneys, and insurance agents to understand your current financial situation. When you have any financial question, I can be your first resource and coordinate your other professional advisors. I can then manage your money in a way that reflects your values and puts you on track to accomplish your goals. If desired, social and environmental values can be considered as well. Investing does involve losses as well as gains, so I set expectations for long-term account growth that is appropriate for your personal risk tolerance.
If you trust me with your money, I pledge to care for you as a valued part of my practice.
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