Wealth and Asset Management Frequently Asked Questions
We are an independent firm, and we partner with an entity with the scale and capacity to provide safe, secure, and technically advanced services. We use Pershing Advisor Solutions, LLC, an affiliate of Pershing, LLC. Pershing Advisor Solutions specializes in serving the needs of clients like ours and investment advisory firms. Pershing, LLC, is the industry’s largest clearing provider, with a track record of over 70 years, and $33 trillion in assets under custody and administration. Pershing’s parent company, BNY Mellon Corporation, is the oldest continuously operating financial institution in the United States. In our view, BNY Mellon is conservatively run and well-capitalized.
Once your assets are under management by North Berkeley and custodied at Pershing, you can go online at any time with appropriate levels of security to look at your portfolio, call up past statements, and look up certain tax and other documents. Most of this access is available on our smartphone app as well. If you like, you can eliminate most of the investment-related paperwork that comes via hard copy.
Yes, we do manage our client’s retirement accounts and can help you access self-directed brokerage options with most institutional 401k providers.
Refinancing my mortgage?
Finding a tax preparer?
Doing or revising a will or trust?
Getting life insurance?
Yes. We have an extensive network of professionals who specialize in these areas, and recommend that our clients work with them or a professional with whom they have an existing relationship. We shepherd the process from intention to execution to ensure that these areas of your financial life are fully integrated and in alignment with your goals.
You may choose to receive most of your investment communications electronically.
The financial services industry is highly regulated and trade confirmations and other disclosures are mandatory. Much of what you receive may seem redundant, but it was legislated in order to protect investors who don’t always have good communication or access to an investment advisor. Sometimes the paperwork that comes from the custodian is confusing. The industry we work in is such that a high degree of caution and protection is in place for you, the investor, even if it is not well explained. Because there is a lot at stake with taking care of your money, we think this level of caution is appropriate. And, you can always call us or bring things in that you don’t understand. We will be happy to explain them to you.
We focus on quality of investment management and affordability of that quality. We think that the quality of the handful of management teams we choose through mutual funds is as high as the most exclusive of investment vehicles. In addition, mutual funds are generally much more affordable than other vehicles, such as hedge funds or separately managed accounts.
In addition, we have access to mutual funds that you wouldn’t otherwise have or that you would pay more money to buy in instances other than through our firm. At times, an investor buying on their own is charged up to 5% ‘front load’ or sales commission for mutual funds that waive that fee for us, in recognition that you are working with an advisor. We are happy to buy load funds with the load waived, no-load funds, or institutional class shares – we get to disregard a cost decision that becomes irrelevant and focus on the quality of the investment manager.
Also, there are times when certain mutual funds close to the public and no longer accept new investors. Some of those times, because of the previous relationship we have had with the mutual fund and its managers, we have retained access to that fund or to that manager’s fund lineup for both existing and new clients.
Finally, many mutual funds will allow us access to an institutional share class where the management fee charged to shareholders is materially lower.
No. We are compensated for the work we do for you by the investment management fee you pay us each quarter.
We are consciously building our team so that we will have the capacity to provide continuity for clients as well as all our team members. We expect to continue to grow our advisor and service teams incrementally, bringing on new partners over time, and to gradually transition strategic leadership of the firm as well as our client relationships. After investing so much into getting to know us and having us take care of their financial and investment matters over a long period of time, we want clients to have continuity and be able to count on North Berkeley Wealth Management for generations.