Choosing an Investment Advisory Firm

By Peter E. Bower

In making a decision to hire an Investment Advisory Firm many ask what the most important factors are.  The keys to an investment advisory firm are no different from any other business; management, management, management.  Start with the management of the firm.  Is it experienced, dedicated and disciplined? Is there team or is it a one-man band?

Look at the people. Are they vibrant, with reasonable tenure in the firm, or is there constant turnover, poor attitudes or other signs of poor or even bad management.  Does the firm attract and retain talent? Look at the service. Is the firm responsive? Is the work accurate or fraught with error?

Can you count on the firm and not have to continually follow-up? Human beings aren’t perfect, and no firm is perfect, but most of us know good service when we experience it.  Is the management of your portfolio good? Do they deliver? Remember that none of us controls the investing environment. Delivering doesn’t necessarily mean beating every benchmark every quarter but measuring up well against them over time.

Just as important, are they consistent in their approach? Do you understand and agree with it? Many different approaches to investing can produce excellent results.  The key is consistency and discipline. Managing a portfolio against your criteria is vital.  It must be the risk level you are able and willing to accept.

If the management of your portfolio varies from your criteria, ask why. After all, it’s your money and your future.  It all goes back to the management of the firm.  None of these performance measures will stay strong over time if the firm is poorly managed.


It is important to understand your costs. Are there other fees in addition to the posted management fee?  There may be imbedded fees in some of the investment vehicles that some firms use.  Understand what these are and remember, you are paying these fees.  Transaction 12b1 fees, etc. ought to be discussed with you.  Annuities have several additional fees you should know about.  You have a right to know about these charges and others.  Riverplace Capital does its own research and management so we avoid this extra level of fees.

We believe Riverplace Capital measures up well against these criteria.  We have a seasoned management team, a talented and experienced staff, and a high level of commitment to our clients.

If you would like to work with a company that meets these criteria, Talk with Us.