Transitioning with FocusPoint
Once you decide you'd like to work with us, we want you to be able to focus entirely on meeting with clients and talking with them about these exciting changes you've chosen to incorporate into your business.
Therefore, we will handle all relevant client transfer paperwork as well as get your client households set up in our non-proprietary systems. We'll guide you along your plan/timeframe based simply on how quickly you'd like to meet with your clients. To get started on designing the best timeline for you, we'll start with gathering information from you based on your answers to some specific, relevant questions about your business.
Your dedicated FocusPoint transition and back (middle) office team will handle all new account setup as well as transfer of cost basis information as applicable. We will also handle all trading on accounts to set them to your models.
We will get you set up with the custodian you choose, then help you to understand both the necessary preliminary/setup steps and what to expect from them on an ongoing basis. We'll also pre-populate all relevant client account paperwork throughout your transition process.
Advisor transitions can include:
- Customize client transition plan
- Complete all relevant client paperwork related to transition
- Conduct asset review and approval
- Establish advisor ﬁ rm with custodian
- Assist with client communications
- Set up new accounts and transfer cost basis information as applicable
- Trading on new accounts to set them to the portfolios you choose
We can help you to streamline ALL of your client assets into one system.
One of the most common questions we hear from advisors is this: "How can you possibly take the hodge-podge of stuff we have and essentially fit it into models...some big accounts, some small accounts?"
Read an explanation of how we help advisors with assets in many areas begin to pull everything into one system (and most assets into streamlined portfolios of your choice, based on your instruction and investment philosophy).
This is often a real stumbling block for advisors. We all know that having more consistent portfolios really enhances an advisor's ability to provide a high level of service to the client, largely because we simply know the portfolios better and can make changes more quickly and easily when required.
However, most advisors don't believe there is a clear and concise way to take all the divergent assets they have accumulated over years and years and cram them all into a neat package that is more manageable. We have built (and helped advisors build) appropriate models for large accounts, small accounts, annuity accounts and even socially responsible investors. We've created systems to monitor special assets like individual stocks or even limited partnerships. We want to remove obstacles to you satisfying your clients’ real needs and wants. The constant theme for your transition team should be, "How can we move ALL assets into a fee-based business model?" We have been doing exactly this for over many years and have therefore developed systems to accommodate these assets.
FocusPoint's transition team reviews every account. We confirm each client's basic asset allocation, derived from their individual need for return and their risk tolerance. From there we begin looking at the specific allocation, meaning we determine what weightings are in each specific asset class (small cap, large cap, mid cap, international, specialty equity, government bonds, intermediate bonds, and specialty bonds). Then we can evaluate all the assets held in the account.
We will look for all of the following: cost basis issues, surrender issues, and securities that cannot be sold (deciding if we need to exchange them into another sub-account or build the portfolio around them). We know each portfolio can be a little different.
To give a clearer picture to our process, here is a typical example of a client's taxable portfolio:
|Security||Value||Date Sold||Cost Basis|
|XYZ High-Yield Bond Class B||$45,000||2002||$50,000|
|ABC Fund Class A||$40,000||2000||$45,000|
|DEF Fund Class A||$65,000||1998||$75,000|
The advisor has determined that the client needs an allocation of 70% stocks and 30% equities.
In this example, we would start with the funds and look at cost basis, recommending the following:
- We would sell the ABC and DEF and capture the $15,000 in losses.
- Next, we would talk to the advisor about the bond annuity to see if we should think about selling it. In this scenario there would be no tax issue; it would just be a matter of asking, "Is it out of surrender or not?" Let's assume we could sell it. (Now we have $180,000 in cash and $170,000 in securities that cannot be sold at this time.)
- Our next step would be to evaluate if XYZ is the manager we want to use for specialty bonds. Our CFA team determines the best manager XYZ has and we decide to make the recommendation to exchange these B shares for XYZ's Growth & Income Fund. We capture a $5,000 loss and don't trigger the back-end load.
- Now, we would look at the variable annuity and the sub-accounts that are offered to the client within it. We see that PIMCO's Bill Gross is running the bonds for them and want to use him for the bond allocation, so we allocate a portion of the annuity to the government and intermediate bond position. They also have a good large cap manager so we allocate the rest of the annuity to that manager.
- At this point, we have dealt with all the securities that we cannot sell and we would use the remaining cash to purchase securities in the remaining asset classes.
In the above scenario, we have achieved the proper allocation that the client and advisor wanted - and happened to capture a $5,000 loss.
From this point forward, our experienced team would manage the portfolio in an active manner. We would also flag the B shares so that we know when they should be converted to A shares. We have now captured all the information about the portfolio inside our streamlined systems, and the advisor has all the information at their fingertips (i.e. cost basis of the overall portfolio, information about B shares, and the original cost of the annuity with purchase date).
Now this portfolio can be effectively managed.
As for the portfolios themselves, we currently manage or help advisors with many different models (depending both on their investment philosophy and whether they choose to manage the assets themselves or have our team assist them with this process):
|Asset Allocations||Asset Allocations|
Our team also manages Individual Stock and Income Distribution portfolios.
Each of these models is designed for specific accounts and size. Companion accounts typically utilize four asset classes and are managed for accounts under a minimum size. Extended Focused accounts are managed with all asset classes but one fund per asset class. They are designed for accounts typically ranging in value from $40,000 to $125,000. Extended accounts are designed with all asset classes and multiple funds per asset classes for accounts typically above $75,000.
This is just a quick overview of how we help advisors pull in and then manage all accounts on a fee-based business. Our team is happy to go through this in greater detail at any time.
Creating Your Plan
Perhaps you're thinking about forming your own RIA, tucking into an existing RIA, changing broker-dealers or outsourcing in general.
This process can be incredibly overwhelming and you may not always know what to expect. Not only will we help you to determine where you'd like to be in the next few years, we can help you identify the steps you can begin taking today to help to get you there. Our knowledgeable team is always here to help you to thoroughly consider all of your options.
Remember, like you, we are financial professionals.
FocusPoint Solutions is an RIA. We've dealt with the same issues you may now have, and we've learned from (and created of one of) the best, most efficient, profitable practices in the industry. Our step-by-step consultation process can help you to make an informed decision about what solution will make the best sense for your business. In-house compliance support and legal counsel are available to help you determine the direction in which you want to steer your business based on your unique clients, strengths, and needs.
FocusPoint's main objective will always be to have long-term partnerships with the best advisors in the business.
Therefore, put simply, we will do quite a bit of up-front work with you to identify your goals - to become more independent, more profitable, more balanced, more excited about your business, etc. Then, together, we'll determine whether a partnership between our firms makes good sense.
We begin designing your transition plan by identifying the location of all client assets and a full-blown business analysis. Whether you work with FocusPoint or not, our calculator can be a great tool for you to get a good overview of your current situation, including all revenue and relevant fees.
Together we'll figure out which accounts can now be moved to a fee-based or fee-only model. Since our platform has no account minimums and can custody just about anything, very few assets cannot be considered for movement into fee-based accounts. Advisors are often surprised at the solutions we've developed for fee-only advisors to accommodate most every type of asset - including insurance, retirement plans, etc.
Your customized plan we'll develop with you can include any and all of the following:
- Describing the exciting changes to your business to your clients
- Delivering paperwork to your clients
- What and when to mail certain pieces or correspondence to your clients
- Determining which of your customized allocations to put each of your clients into
- Following up with your clients once assets have transferred in
We promise to help you consider all of your options and find your way.
So relax... and explore your choices.
Communicating Positive Changes to Your Clients
Many advisors who find us are frustrated because they feel like their clients' assets are all over the place. Others have considered redefining their fee structure. Not surprisingly, advisors often simply resign themselves to doing the same old thing - a formula guaranteed to result in lower levels of both client service and profitability.
It can be quite a feat to figure out a solution to these issues.
Your team at FocusPoint will be as involved as you'd like. Once you make the decision to work with us, a whole range of business consulting comes into play - including guidance as you discuss your new and improved business model with clients. As your virtual partner, FocusPoint will also work with you to design a game plan based on how quickly you'd like to meet with clients to communicate these exciting changes. Your transition timeline is custom-designed based on how quickly you'd like to meet with clients to discuss your enhanced business model.
Our partners' initial client meetings often result in more profitable relationships. This is largely attributed to clients' recognition of the additional value their advisor can now offer as a result of incorporating our systems into his or her practice. Interestingly, our partners consistently report that our coaching process facilitates comfortable discussions with clients. These sessions provide the perfect opportunity to introduce a new level of service and communication that clients can - and should - now expect. As our partners have more free time to focus on client-centric activities, these relationships can significantly improve.
You're more than welcome to talk with our partners about their clients' positive reactions to these conversations. While it's inevitable that some advisors will experience margin compression, those we've empowered report just the opposite: A thriving business, happy clients, and plenty of time for the good stuff.
Your Staff: Before and After FocusPoint
Advisors who use FocusPoint find that not only do they have more time to focus on the things they do best and truly enjoy most - in many cases, so do their staff.
No matter how big or small your team, when you work with us, you'll discover that FocusPoint takes over the most time-consuming tasks (such as tracking transfer paperwork, freeing up trades for client redemptions, account review, trading, reporting... not to mention, of course, continuously researching investments).
We recognize that many successful advisors reach a point where they feel unable to effectively service another client. You are not alone if you have found yourself at some point facing this universal conundrum: How can I increase business without sacrificing attention to client service?
This is something many of the advisors who contact us are experiencing. More often than not, their first inclination is to hire more staff in order to grow the business. But is it really that simple? Maybe not. Moving to a fee-based business that offers a true service model, as opposed to a product distribution one, requires you, the advisor, to build up your firm's infrastructure - which will require more people and likely, more of your time. Unless, of course, you can find a way to outsource the right tasks to the right partners.
Part of the beauty of working with us is the peace of mind you'll have, knowing you'll never have to reinvent the wheel.
In the background, our back (middle) office staff will handle things like transfers and paperwork so that you can focus on sitting down with clients. And, once you initiate a client activity and assign it to our back (middle) office, it must be closed out with your satisfaction and approval. You have real-time access to all activities, account values, reports, etc. In other areas, enjoy the support of a full-time Investment Policy Committee that operates under your discretion, as well as a compliance/transition support team, and much more.
Our system allows you to delegate tasks - while remaining in control.
They're your clients, and it's your business.
Think of FocusPoint as your Virtual Ensemble, allowing you to enjoy all of the economies of scale and synergy of a much larger firm - while keeping your independence and remaining in control of all decisions relating to your business.
Meet the Advisor Transitions Team
Take advantage of our firm's long-standing relationships with custodians and vendors, and an experienced team whose key players have an average of 12-15 years in the industry. We'll help eliminate your fears as you're guided by a knowledgeable, personalized, experienced staff who oversees your transition process start to finish.
The entire FocusPoint team is comprised of highly experienced, knowledgeable professionals who are all exceptionally qualified for the roles they play in the advisor support process. Each person has been individually selected because of his or her unique abilities and background in the RIA and financial services world.