The primary focus of our practice is comprehensive financial planning and investment management, performed on a fee-only basis. I've chosen that route because I believe that our compensation should be closely aligned with the value our clients receive, and because I believe it reduces the potential conflicts between our clients' objectives and the firm's interests.
Erskine Financial Advisors is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) licensed by the California Department of Corporations. RIAs are held to a fiduciary standard which requires that our clients' interests come first and that any potential conflicts of interest are disclosed. This standard is also consistent with the Code of Ethics required for CFP practitioners and members of the Financial Planning Association. This more detailed explanation is from the SEC website:
"As an investment adviser, you are a “fiduciary” to your advisory clients. This means that you have a fundamental obligation to act in the best interests of your clients and to provide investment advice in your clients’ best interests. You owe your clients a duty of undivided loyalty and utmost good faith. You should not engage in any activity in conflict with the interest of any client, and you should take steps reasonably necessary to fulfill your obligations. You must employ reasonable care to avoid misleading clients and you must provide full and fair disclosure of all material facts to your clients and prospective clients. Generally, facts are “material” if a reasonable investor would consider them to be important. You must eliminate, or at least disclose, all conflicts of interest that might incline you — consciously or unconsciously — to render advice that is not disinterested. If you do not avoid a conflict of interest that could impact the impartiality of your advice, you must make full and frank disclosure of the conflict. You cannot use your clients’ assets for your own benefit or the benefit of other clients, at least without client consent. Departure from this fiduciary standard may constitute “fraud” upon your clients (under Section 206 of the Advisers Act)."
Financial Planning is provided on a fee basis, based on our standard hourly rates. Once the areas to be covered and the scope of the engagement are determined, a fixed fee will be quoted for the initial plan. Additional consultation and periodic updates and reviews will be provided at hourly rates or on a retainer basis.
Not all clients wish to embark on the full financial planning process, but may need help with a specific concern or question. This more limited service can be provided at our standard hourly rates.
Investment Management Services are provided on a fee basis, generally based on the assets under management. Our compensation consists solely of management fees paid by clients - there are no commissions, loads, sales charges, 12b-1 fees or other inducements to recommend any particular product.
If the financial planning process results in a recommendation for insurance products or mortgage financing, and the client would like us to implement that solution, there may be commissions or other compensation involved. Any such compensation is clearly disclosed and potential conflicts are explained.