Here are some common questions you might have if you are considering moving your investment accounts to us.
Q: What does CFP® and AIF® mean?
A: The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ or CFP® certification is a professional certification mark for financial planners conferred by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) in the United States. To receive authorization to use the certification, the candidate must meet education, examination, experience and ethics requirements. To learn more about this program use this link: www.cfp.net
The Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation represents a thorough knowledge of and ability to apply the fiduciary practices. Through fi360's AIF Training programs, AIF designees learn the Practices and the legal and best practice framework they are built upon. AIF designees have a reputation in the industry for the ability to implement a prudent process into their own investment practices as well as being able to assist others in implementing proper policies and procedures. To learn more about this designation use this link: http://www.fi360.com/main/designations_aif.jsp
Q: What do you do at Dowd Financial Group?
A: Our goal is to become a trusted partner for you and your family to assist you in making sound decisions in all areas of your financial life. Some specifics might include helping you:
- Build a plan to accumulate a nest egg
- Manage assets and investments daily
- Design and maintain a retirement income plan
- Rollover your old or existing 401(k) into an individual retirement account (IRA)
- Develop strategies to help conserve your nest egg
- Build an estate plan to help distribute wealth according to your wishes
- Create a plan for the continuity or sale of a business
- Design and maintain your company's 401(k) plan
- Set up or review your family's life insurance
Q: Is there a fee for the initial consultation?
A: No. At Dowd Financial Group we do not feel it necessary to charge you to find out if we are a good fit for each other.
Q: What are the fees?
A. Dowd Financial Group works on an annual fee structure that is based on your family's assets with us. Yes, so if you refer your brother and sister and the kids to us, it helps you qualify for a lower fee. (Specifics about family member asset levels are kept confidential.) The fee amount is tiered based on the amount that is entrusted with us. The tiers are $50-$500k, $500k-$1MM, $1MM-$5MM, $5MM+. For example, an account with a $500,000 balance would pay an annual fee of 1%, which is deducted from the account on a quarterly basis (.25% per quarter). When the account grows to $1 million, the account fee drops. The fee is tax deductible in many cases.
Q: Will I get reports showing fees?
A: Yes. Quarterly. The quarterly statements are distinct from the monthly reporting and also show valuable up-to- date reporting of unrealized and realized short- and long-term capital gains for each investment. This information helps make it possible to manage nonretirement assets in a more tax efficient manner.
Q: Can I trade stocks online?
A: Yes. Trading accounts are held under a different account prefix and allow for online trading. Commissions start at $19.95. These accounts will be separate from your regular managed accounts and will not be subject to any management fees. However, the balances in these accounts will be included in your overall family balance to arrive at your tier level. These types of accounts are designed for those who want to have a separate unmanaged account to keep some assets in to make some stock picks of your own, but also like the convenience of keeping all of your investment accounts under one roof.
Q: Do you offer tax support?
A: Financial planning and taxes obviously go hand in hand so we are very often in contact with your CPA to make sure they are in the loop with your finances and strategies. If you are not using a CPA, we may even be able to help you find someone you can trust.
Q: Can I link my investment accounts to my bank account?
A: Yes, you can, and it does not matter what bank you choose to do business with or how many times you decide to change banks. A simple form is required to set up the link. Through this link you will be able to move money to and from your accounts via EFT (electronic funds transfer). In most cases the funds are available the same day if done before 2 P.M. on a business day.
Q: Are there any fees associated with moving my IRA to Dowd Financial Group?
A: There may be a fee from the firm you are transferring from. Often, it is nominal and called an IRA termination fee. However, if you are transferring assets from a firm whose accounts are carried by National Financial Services LLC (NFS), a Fidelity Investments Company, there is no IRA termination fee because Dowd Financial accounts (with Commonwealth Financial Network®) are also carried by NFS, and it is then considered an internal transfer.
Q: If I move my investment accounts to Dowd Financial Group, do I still have all of the investment choices that I have with my current well-known brokerage firm?
A: Yes, and in some cases we can actually offer you more investment choices than the big firms. As a matter of fact, what many people do not realize is that many large firms may be restricted from offering you a truly objective array of investments due to their internal conflicts of interest, or selling agreements from one company to another. We at Dowd Financial Group do not have this issue and offer a true open architecture without the restrictions. Check out http://www.commonwealth.com/Investors/about_cfn.asp to learn more about the broker/dealer we've chosen to partner with.
Q: Will I be able to view my accounts online?
A: Yes. Through a link on this website, you may access your account information. Through a single login, you will be able to view your accounts held at Dowd Financial Group as well as accounts held in other institutions through the use of Commonwealth's leading edge technology Investor360°®. This will allow you to get a full net-worth picture including LOANS, 401(k)s, CREDIT CARDS, and BANK ACCOUNTS, using one easy login ID and password, which you create. Through this service you will also be able to create customized consolidated statements, which include all of the assets and liabilities that you have linked for viewing, to easily review you current financial status. This service will also provide links to the individual institutions' website should you need to make transfers or pay bills using their home site. This is all free!
Q: Is Investor 360°® secure?
A: Commonwealth uses industry standard 128-bit encryption on all websites that contain personal information, including Investor360°®.
- Complete social security numbers are not shown on the system.
- Commonwealth advisors are the only people who have the ability to share accounts with clients via Investor360°®. Additionally, advisors can only share accounts that they have access to.
- Investor360°® has a four-tiered authentication level built into it:
- Only advisors can link accounts on a client’s behalf.
- Clients must reset their passwords upon first entry into Investor360°®.
- Passwords must be eight characters in length and contain at least one number.
- Secret questions are asked of each client upon initial login to help make the automated reset function more secure.
Q: Will you offer detailed reporting on investment progress?
A: Absolutely! One of our main objectives at Dowd Financial Group is that you can expect an increased level of service than what you might be used to. With that said, we have access to state of the art technology which allows us to create reports through the use of software such as Forefield Advisor, NaviPlan, Money Guide Pro, Morningstar Advisor Workstation, Argus Research, Standard and Poor's Advisor Insight, and Value Line to name a few. These tools allow us to do the kind of research we need to do to stay ahead of trends in the complicated world of investing. They also make it easy to generate client-friendly reports so you stay informed.