Letter from the Fortress Team

Dear Friends,

We are writing to thank you for the trust and confidence you have placed in us throughout the years, especially through extraordinarily difficult economic times. With this, we would like to share some exciting news. In order to better 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.

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 our duty as the protectors of your goals and assets very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that we wanted that mission reflected in our name.

We want you to know that this decision did not come easily or quickly. Rather, it evolved over time.

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 the conflicts of a traditional wealth management model.  

With a combined Wells Fargo Private Bank tenure of more than half a century (Jay - 19 years, Mike - 18 years, Jim - 13 years, Eileen - 9 years), and total industry experience of more than 100 years, this was a carefully considered decision. 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 several meetings, phone calls and discussions, we can tell you with the utmost confidence that we have found that platform and partner in two firms: HighTower and Fidelity Investments.

HighTower will provide the operational and compliance support for our business, enhancing our investment and research resources, while allowing us to focus on serving your needs and protecting your wealth.

Additionally, we have selected Fidelity Investments as the primary custodian for your assets. We believe Fidelity offers the most complete package of trusted brand, financial stability and reliable service. 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.

We sincerely hope you are as enthusiastic as we are about this tremendous opportunity. While we wish we could have shared our plans with you earlier, we simply were not permitted to do so.

We understand that you will likely have many questions, and we want to assure you that our entire team is joining us at Fortress Wealth Planning, and we are available at any time. 

In closing, thank you for your confidence in our team, and for your investment in our relationship. All of our commitments to you are intact, and we now have a platform and independent paradigm through which our relationship can be managed exactly as it should be. 


Michael G. Skowfoe
FINRA BrokerCheck
Jim M. Williams, CFA®
Jay D. Rolfe, CTFA
Eileen E. Ortega, CTFA