WHAT IS OUR FIDUCIARY ROLE?
At Fortress Wealth Planning, we are committed to a fiduciary relationship with you, our clients. This means that the discipline of putting your interests first and providing objective advice and solutions is more than just a worthy ambition; it is our duty.
As fiduciaries of HighTower, we have a legal obligation to act solely in the client’s best interest. The fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care, highlighted by good faith, loyalty and trust.
Our shared belief in putting clients first is one of the many reasons we chose to align our practice with HighTower. Please ask us about Client First, an interactive website that highlights the strategic advantages and benefits of working with advisors affiliated with HighTower.
WHY ARE WE AFFILIATED WITH HIGHTOWER?
In order to serve you and your family, we have made the decision to resign from our former firm, and launch our own wealth management practice, Fortress Wealth Planning.
As you recall, the Financial Crisis of 2008 thrust our industry into turmoil, prompting continual pressure on margin and revenue growth. The industry has changed immensely over the years. As it stands today, we found ourselves out of sync with our former firm’s goals and practices.
We felt that we must make a change to ensure that we could continue to deliver a fiduciary experience.
This conclusion sparked an in-depth process and rigorous due diligence to find a new platform that would allow us to continue to provide you with sophisticated planning advice, portfolio management and an impeccable service experience, without many of the conflicts of a traditional wealth management model.
Moving to a direct competitor was never something we considered. We strongly believe that our practice is built on relationships, and that our clients feel connected to us because we offer a comprehensive, boutique wealth management experience, catered to individuals’ and
families’ needs. After careful consideration, we have found that platform and partner in two firms: HighTower and Fidelity Investments.
HighTower is a national, industry-leading* wealth management firm offering a distinct model that blends objective wealth management advice with a robust technology and services platform. Our independent-minded advisors are dedicated to providing clients with transparent communication and comprehensive support.
Clients’ financial well-being and deeply-rooted trust is the foundation of the firm. The company is headquartered in Chicago and maintains corporate centers in New York and San Francisco, with branch offices across the country.
*HighTower named #2 on the nationwide Top 100 Wealth Managers List.
WHY HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR PRACTICE’S NAME?
We chose the name “Fortress” because it stands for safety and protection, and the word
“Planning” because we believe everyone should have a clearly-defined plan in order to achieve and sustain their financial legacy. In our role as fiduciaries for you and your family, the word “protect” is of the utmost importance to us because, as you know, we take the opportunity to help protect your goals and assets very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that we wanted that mission reflected in our name.
WHAT TYPE OF CAPITAL DOES HIGHTOWER HAVE BEHIND IT?
HighTower is well-capitalized by sophisticated, institutional grade investors including Franklin Templeton Investments, M.D. Sass-Macquarie Financial Strategies Fund, Dave Pottruck (former CEO, Charles Schwab), and Doug Brown (former Vice Chairman, Morgan Stanley).
HighTower’s capital partners do not make decisions regarding our asset manager selection or research, eliminating many of the conflicts of interest inherent in the culture of traditional brokerage firms. They share our belief that investment advice should be provided by advisors
with a fiduciary duty to their clients.
YOU SAY THAT HIGHTOWER PROVIDES SUPPORT VIA AN OPEN SOURCE PLATFORM, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
Through our partnership with HighTower, we gain access to resources that include research,
manager due diligence, technology, institutional investment managers, financial planning software, trust, insurance and estate planning services, and even independent custodians and trading platforms. Since the principal clearing and custodial firms, as well as the 45 contra-trading firms, know they are competing for our business, they are incentivized to deliver high-quality service and execution. A significant benefit of our affiliation with HighTower is being able to source and utilize industry resources in order to serve our clients’ needs. We are not beholden to proprietary technology and solutions.
HAS OUR INVESTMENT PROCESS CHANGED?
No. In fact, because we are no longer captive to proprietary technology. Whether it is a view of research and due diligence, access to numerous institutional money managers, portfolio construction or sophisticated capital market capabilities, this move empowers us to do more for you.
HOW WILL FEES CHANGE?
We set the fee structure entirely, with no minimums, floors, penalties or add-ons.
WILL YOU CONTINUE TO WORK WITH MY OTHER TRUSTED ADVISORS (MY ATTORNEY, ACCOUNTANT, ETC.)?
Absolutely. As in the past, your personal advisors are an integral part of the team. We will
continue to encourage their involvement and execute upon strategies we design with each other’s input. Nothing has changed in this respect.
WHERE WILL MY ASSETS BE HELD, AND HOW SAFE WILL THEY BE?
We have access to a selection of strong, reliable and secure third-party custodians and service providers. We believe Fidelity offers the most complete package of trusted brand, financial stability and reliable service, and will therefore be our primary custodian for our clients’ assets.
Fidelity is a family-owned and privately held business with deep conservative roots. Fidelity is one of the largest asset custodian and brokerage firms in the world, with more than $5.4 trillion in client assets. It did not need the bailouts and other Wall Street excesses so common to the major investment firms over the last 20 years.
The security of your assets is our priority, and we are confident that Fidelity will fulfull our high standards of security and client care.
CAN FORTRESS WEALTH PLANNING ACCOMMODATE TRUST ACCOUNTS AND PROVIDE TRUST SERVICES?
Yes. In addition to trust services at Fidelity, we have access to additional, independent providers of trust services, including the RBC Trust Company and The Advisory Trust Company of Delaware (ATC). Just as we will advise you on custodian choice, we will also advise you on which trust company we feel offers services and support to help fulfill your needs.
WILL YOU, AS MY ADVISOR, BE ABLE TO VIEW AND ANALYZE ASSETS I OWN OUTSIDE OF HIGHTOWER & FORTRESS WEALTH PLANNING?
Yes. We have arranged to use reporting software that can provide our clients with comprehensive financial reporting. With your consent, we can view accounts held outside of Fidelity (such as bank accounts, company 401k plans, and accounts at other investment firms). We can produce comprehensive financial reports for all of your accounts, allowing us to provide integrated, holistic advice.
I USE BANKING FUNCTIONS LIKE CHECKING, DEBIT CARDS, AUTO TRANSFERS AND OR DIRECT DEPOSIT LINKED TO MY ACCOUNT AT MY CURRENT FIRM, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO MY BANKING FUNCTIONALITY IF I MOVE MY ACCOUNTS TO FORTRESS WEALTH PLANNING?
If you choose, you will be able to set up these banking functions with a new account at your new custodian. However, we encourage you to choose the banking arrangement that works for you. Our team will communicate with you to help you coordinate your banking with your investment accounts.
I USE A CREDIT CARD LINKED TO MY ACCOUNTS AT MY CURRENT BROKERAGE FIRM. MAY I KEEP MY CREDIT CARD IF I MOVE MY ACCOUNTS TO FORTRESS WEALTH PLANNING?
Yes. We encourage you to use whatever credit card works for you. If your credit card was paid
automatically from an account at your old brokerage firm, we will help you set up a new automatic payment arrangement.
I HAVE A MARGIN OR PORTFOLIO SECURED CREDIT LINE, WILL THIS TRANSFER?
Yes, we have the ability to transfer your credit line and have arranged a few options. Our team will help coordinate the transition and review the best solution to fit your needs.