METHODS

A Client Relationship - What to Expect
There is more to money than money®. Far too many people focus attention on specific investment ideas or discreet financial acts. Financial growth is not achieved by unrelated acts. People should understand and manage their resources relative to their comprehensive goals. Resource Advisory Services builds relationships to expand attention for the “big picture.”
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From the first contact, we want our communications with you to be a two-way exchange - not an effort to sell you on our ideas. We will be alert to indications a mutually beneficial relationship can develop. Finding these relationships is as personally rewarding for us as the clients we serve. So, we approach new potential clients with anticipation that you and we will benefit. We will be open about issues that may hinder our relationship. The decision to proceed in the relationship should be mutually made on both sides.

Resource Advisory Services understands that developing comfortable communications can take time. We are sensitive to the faith you need in us before revealing your personal information. Emails and phone calls are usually the first conversations. Often, we are introduced by someone who thinks we can help their friend. We hope you understand that we need extensive information to do our work well. Building easy two-way communications, so this trust can grow, is important to the relationships that foster our best work.

AN INITIAL MEETING
The relationship should progress to an initial meeting, in our offices or another convenient place. When couples are involved, having both present is important. Hearing voices and seeing faces, of the people who will be affected together, conveys a great deal of understanding. Expect the meeting to include at least two of us, where we talk more about your perspectives than documents. We want to hear the issues that motivate you to seek our help. We will take notes and discuss ways we can approach issues we see. The documents can be interpreted later. A goal for us during this meeting is to help you feel strongly that your effort has been worthwhile. It is rare that we can resolve all the issues in these meetings. It is also rare that we cannot resolve several of them. Like the entire relationship, we want this meeting to be valuable for you. Click here for guidance on preparing for the meeting.

Recommendations Report
Our primary job is to clarify complex information with carefully considered professional opinions and advice. Since our purpose is to assist in comprehensive management of your financial affairs, we need a baseline place to start. The best way to start is through a written document we call a “Recommendations Report.” This project is also an important description of the context before our responsibilities as an investment advisor begin. Writing especially for you brings together our interpretation of the things you tell us and the documents you provide. We search for consistency and inconsistency. What are your greatest strengths for a secure life? What might undermine that security? Are your various resources arranged to complement each other? Or, do some offset the benefits you could receive from others? You have written information to decide whether we know you well enough to be your advisor.
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Our Recommendations Report Guidelines list issues we consider as we write. Those that have relevance for you will be discussed in your report. They may be as broad as the ratio of your assets to liabilities or as minute as significant items of art and jewelry. Yes, we want to express our understanding of your connection to amenities in your life, within the same document that discusses our opinion of your investment portfolio and the instruments within it. We are as interested in a second home, or the desire for one, as we are in securities accounts. Ultimately, we want to help you understand how to balance these demands on your greatest resource - the ability to earn income.

The Recommendations Report is an independent service. It is intended to have substantial value in the ways it helps you understand your relationship with your wealth, as well as our recommended approaches to the issues we see – particularly the unique issues that brought you to us. It provides a foundation for us to discuss effectively and efficiently prioritizing whatever work needs to be done. A meeting to discuss your reactions to the report and clarify any remaining issues is an important part of the Recommendations Report service. We want to hear the ways you understand our written document, for clarity of two-way communication.

Sometimes this is enough. Not everyone needs an Ongoing Relationship. Through the years, there have been a significant number of cases where the Recommendations Report provided all the guidance the clients needed at the time. A few of those clients came back, even years later, when they did need more assistance. Click here for our Recommendations Report Guidelines.

The Recommendations Report has its own fee, which will be quoted in the initial meeting or a written proposal to follow. We use Guidelines for Recommendations Report Fees as a starting point and adjust for more or less perceived complexity. Once the engagement agreement is signed, you will know the exact cost to expect. We bare all risks that the work may require more of our resources than we expected.

Ongoing Relationships
As we prepare to enter an Ongoing Relationship, the Recommendations Report and its follow up meeting will have described the expectations for our role in your financial future. These expectations will be well documented and unique to your situation. There are likely to be a number of tasks that take six months to a few years for completion. Our job is to organize and facilitate these activities and keep our activities coordinated for the effort. The cornerstone communication tool for this is a Quarterly Report, written specifically for you. All the while we are “on call” for whatever financial issues arise in your life for as long as you remain a client of Resource Advisory Services. Our Methods have evolved over the years to keep us always prepared with a growing understanding of your unique needs.
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To insure that we remain on task through Ongoing Relationships, we maintain an extensive Quarterly Reporting routine. The Quarterly Report is a letter discussing the status of our work for you. Every three months, we ask if there are new issues we should consider in your upcoming report and bring your Net Worth Statement up-to-date. This is not a standard newsletter to all clients. It is part of our continuing two-way communications with you. If you have asked us for assistance on a specific issue during the reporting period, we restate the disposition of that issue in the report. Some issues may have been deferred to the Quarterly Report, when a comprehensive view of your situation has our full attention. On some occasions, a Quarterly Report may require extensive research and analysis.

Because we require ourselves to provide written reports on our relationship at regular intervals, we are kept “on task” to examine your situation regularly. This helps us maintain accuracy in our understanding of your affairs and see implications for future adaptations we should help you consider. Each Quarterly Report will have some paragraphs that express our opinions on current economic conditions as a context for the decisions being considered with you. These reports become a diary of your financial life.

Retainer fees for this part of our relationship are generally determined by securities portfolios we manage. We have guidelines for minimum quarterly retainers. These are described at Retainer Relationship Fees. They cover much more than managing your investment portfolio. They make possible all the resources we bring to our relationship with you.

RESOURCE FILES

Preparation for First Meeting
(Download PDF, 136kb)

Resource Advisory Services, Inc.