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Frequently Asked Questions

Our Clients
What is your typical client?

Our clients are exclusively US citizen high-net-worth individuals, trusts, and closely held corporations. We have clients in 12 states, with the majority in California and New York. As of February 2021, we have 44 client households. Our generational distribution is 5% Silent Generation, 47% Baby Boomers, 37% Generation X, and 11% Millennials.

Our clients come from a broad distribution of professional backgrounds, but technology, health care and financial services are the most common. The universal connector is that they have high standards of client service and live well within their financial means.

To open an account, a client must generally have liquid investment assets of $2 million. Our minimum annual fee is $10,000.

Investment Approach
What's your investment process?

For clients engaging in our portfolio management services, we begin by developing an understanding of a client's objectives, assess their tolerance for risk, assess the tax situation, and construct a portfolio that's customized to them. We generally recommend a mix of stocks, bonds and cash. Depending on the clients' specific risks, objectives and values, we will exclude—or allocate towards—certain investments.

This is then articulated in an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) that expresses the specific accounts, general objectives, restrictions and risk tolerance of the portfolio placed under management. This agreement, and your accounts, are reviewed and updated regularly, both internally and through regular client calls.

Bond investments are generally guided by a client's tax situation. We maintain a model that guides our investments in stocks. Cash is often invested in savings accounts. For certain clients in retirement or with a very low risk tolerance, we may include gold in a portfolio.

For taxable portfolios, we generally try to avoid the realization of capital gains.

What's your preferred investment style?

We believe that different styles work at different periods in the market cycle. The one style that seems to have outperformed over most periods, however, is what many investors call "Blue Chip" stocks. These are global companies with healthy financials, strong management teams—they are also household names with strong relationships with their customers and investors.

Our portfolios will generally have 10+ individual stocks, exchange-traded index funds and individual bonds. We generally construct bond ladders for clients’ cash flow needs.

Learn about our portfolio management services for a more in-depth understanding of our investment approach.

What alternative strategies do you employ?

We have determined that very few alternative strategies make sense. When we do employ them, we generally favor direct investment in private companies or funds where the principals are known personally to the client. For clients holding these, we have extensive experience with tracking and pricing, as well as established relationships with self-directed IRA custodians to facilitate tax-advantaged investments. We can also complete a valuation of a private firm for a separate engagement.

Will I have to sell all or part of my investments to work with you?

Generally, no. Depending upon tax, lending or professional considerations, it may be advisable to retain certain assets. We may plan to transition out of them over time or "work around" them. If you establish that there are certain positions you want held, we will maintain and report on them in your portfolio.

I would like to continue to manage some of my own holdings. Can I do that with you but still have you advise me on those assets?

For clients that wish to have specific holdings or engage in speculation, we'll establish a separate non-discretionary account and assist them in executing established trading algorithms or conduct research to help them develop their own custom strategies.

You may also indicate that certain stocks or bonds be included (or excluded) from your portfolio.

In all cases, you will receive notification by mail within 3-5 business days of each investment change, and you are always welcome to call and discuss the changes.

What kind of services do you offer corporate executives?

As part of our executive services, we'll help you review your company stock plan and design an optimal exercise and sales strategy. For company stock, we'll generally establish separate segregated accounts or continue to hold the shares at their employer's captive broker. For hedging risk or income generation, we'll execute options strategies for clients through their preferred platform and coordinate regulatory filings with captive brokers. We are experienced with Rule 10b5-1 trading plans and Rule 144. We are familiar with all of the major monetization tools available to company executives.

What kind of services do you offer business owners?

We offer a full package of business consulting services and will help you locate appropriate financial institutions for your corporate cash, coordinate with your tax advisors, help you establish bookkeeping and payroll, and recommend retirement plans for you and your employees.

Am I required to provide you with discretion over my accounts?

You may engage us on either a "non-discretionary" or "discretionary" basis. Non-discretionary means that we must receive your approval on each and every investment change or trade before we make it. Discretionary means we can and may take an investment action on your behalf without getting explicit approval in advance, provided the action is consistent with the overall investment goals we've outlined. Generally, non-discretionary accounts will be billed at a higher rate.

What types of financial planning services are offered?

We don't generally separate the investment management and financial planning processes. Included in our portfolio management approach is comprehensive financial planning and analysis, which includes any retirement, education or stock option planning for our clients.

Our highly experienced team uses state-of-the-art financial planning software that allows us to collaborate with our clients online and use account aggregation technology to continually update your accounts. In certain cases, additional charges may apply. We will coordinate, price, and evaluate outside insurance, accounting or brokerage professionals to purchase financial products and provide financial statements and tax information to appropriate parties.

Will you help me with managing liabilities and applying for mortgages or other loans?

We will help you develop the necessary financial statements and access the right financial institution to secure your optimal financing. We will help you make lenders compete for your business while we coordinate the application process, handling any administrative details. We may charge a small fee associated with this activity.

How are you paid?

We have three sources of revenue:

We charge an investment management fee based off of a percentage of the value of the assets we manage, with 1/4 of that fee being applied each ending quarter to a client's aggregate account balance. The fee is deducted directly from their accounts, in advance. Fees are nonrefundable.

We charge project-based (as opposed to hourly) financial consulting fees to individual clients for activities unrelated to managed accounts. We will quote a service charge for estate planning, mortgage or other activities unrelated to investment management. For example, we generally charge $3,500 to complete a financial plan, $2,500 to coordinate an estate plan and $1,500 to coordinate a set of mortgage applications. These fees are generally deducted directly from the client account or accounts after the service is completed.

Institutional or corporate clients can pay us for consulting services on an hourly or project basis. These fees are generally paid in advance and are nonrefundable.

Will you maintain regular cash flows in and out of my account, exercise stock options, cover capital calls, and handle my regular retirement plan contributions?

Yes, we can handle scheduled or unscheduled distributions and provide expense management services on an ongoing basis. This is generally included as part of our management fees, but we may charge a nominal financial consulting fee depending upon the expense and complexity of the transaction. Family office services are also available for an additional fee arrangement.

How We Work
What is your wealth management approach?

Our practice is modeled around the family office. We see ourselves as personal CFOs, providing our clients with guidance, support and service. We invest their capital, execute their transactions, and select from alternatives—while they concentrate on what makes them successful and happy.

Because we cannot control the financial markets, we focus on what we can. We are constantly advancing our own processes through best-in-class tools and integrating best practices for investment management, financial planning and tax management. This is only possible through a truly open architecture, a commitment to collaboration, and high-touch personal service.

Our firm is a response to the unmet demand that we saw in our earlier careers. Our individual clients wanted a truly independent financial advisor to help them make important financial decisions of all types, manage their accounts across firms, and access specialists without restriction. They wanted to get objective, fiduciary advice, and they didn't want to be limited to one firm's platform.

Who will be working on my account?

We are a highly experienced team at Bradley & Company, and every member will be involved in your account. Ms. Augenstein handles most transactions and maintains the schedule. Ms. Kirby handles complex transactions, manages projects, and maintains client financial plans. Mr. Bradley manages the portfolios of clients, handles the most complex transactions, develops the investment policies, and conducts performance reviews.

How will you communicate with me about my account?

In addition to online access and regular statements that you'll receive from Fidelity Institutional, reports on your performance and holdings are provided by independent third-party Morningstar Associates and eMoney Advisor.

Ongoing, regular client reviews are the core part of our  portfolio management process and we seek to play a role in every aspect of a client's financial picture. We'll discuss your current holdings, account performance, tax situation and other sources of income to maintain your risk profile and manage trading activities. Outside of regularly scheduled conferences, clients can expect a return call within 24 hours and usually the same day.

In between client reviews, we have detailed information on a client's asset allocation, and any financial plans and any important documents uploaded to our online wealth management system. We have also engaged Morningstar Advisor Services to provide account performance and analytics online 24 hours a day through their Client Web Portal.

Clients can directly access and trade their accounts online at Fidelity (or their preferred custodian) and receive comprehensive statements and tax documents from us or their custodian directly.

How often will we directly communicate in person or on the phone?

Our process is determined by a specific client's needs. We understand how unexpected a need for critical advice information can be, so we maintain a 24/7 approach to client service and reporting. Our mandate is to respond to all calls within one business hour and to resolve all matters within 24 hours.

Our model is to follow a "12/4/2" client service approach: monthly communications, four portfolio reviews a year, and two "deep-dives" a year to review your entire financial picture.

In general, the frequency of communication will vary through various phases during a client's relationship. During the earliest phases, or periods of transition (e.g. employment negotiations, retirement, sale of company), communication can be several times a day.

At other times, communication can become less frequent. At a minimum, we want to meet with a client annually to review their accounts and whether the risk of their portfolio is still appropriate.

Getting Started
What's the process for getting started working with you?

We'll start by conducting a 15-20 minute call to answer any questions you have about our team and to get a basic overview of your situation. Before that call, we'll generally send you a basic “deck”—an overview of our firm's capabilities as well as information about our model portfolios. If we mutually decide that it makes sense, we'll generally have a meeting either through Zoom to discuss your current portfolio holdings and what your needs are from a planning and service perspective.

This will then be followed up with a no-obligation analysis of your portfolio and a proposal of what actions we recommend going forward from a planning, account consolidation and investment perspective. At this point, you would decide whether you wish to proceed, and we will sign an investment management agreement and draft an Investment Policy Statement (IPS).

To set up a meeting, get in touch with us.

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