Frequently Asked Questions
ABOUT AP WEALTH MANAGEMENT
With an exceptional team of experts and an unrivaled level of client care, AP Wealth Management helps clients ATTAIN wealth, and PROTECT their legacies.
AP Wealth Management is an independently-owned and operated, Georgia-based firm that serves as a fiduciary. We are able to prioritize client objectives rather than institutional initiatives, and we always work in the best interests of our clients.
We see ourselves as professional and community stewards who provide Collaborative Financial Stewardship with Your Life at the Center.
With over 120 years of combined experience, the firm is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) and each advisor and team member possesses a vast breadth of knowledge and experience in investment management, financial planning, and tax & estate planning.
Here are a few resources that explain how a registered investment advisor can help you. Additionally, they can guide you in choosing an advisor you feel comfortable with – both personally and professionally.
Although based in Augusta, Georgia, AP Wealth Management can help any client, across the United States.
Collaboration and personalized solutions are at the core of the AP Wealth Management business model, so we work hand-in-hand with clients and all trusted financial advisors who have a part in their financial well-being. AP Wealth Management enters into a client relationship with the expectation of a lifetime partnership.
In addition, we strive to invest in our local community. One way we do this is through the annual George & Dorothy Walton Award.
View our SEC Form ADV to learn more.
We’ll interview you to learn about your unique situation using our Discovering Your Investment Viewpoint survey, which considers your age, savings, goals, lifestyle, and risk tolerance. Once we know you well, we’ll design your portfolio to match your needs.
Because we’re independent and not beholden to any particular fund manager, we do our own research and choose the ideal securities to grow your portfolio and minimize risk.
We tend to prefer ETFs, as well as mutual funds, and our core strategy emphasizes capital appreciation and investment income. We use passive and active funds and choose active managers with a long track record.
Once we’ve built a portfolio that aligns with your unique needs, remaining invested and staying true to that asset allocation over the long term is essential to reaching your goals. As your financial advisors, our role is to provide perspective and a stable voice to stick with the plan.
AP Wealth works with a custodian, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., who is the third party with custody of your securities. As an independent custodian, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. works for the benefit of both the client and the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) – AP Wealth. The custodian serves you by providing third party, independent information regarding positions and transactions in your account. They serve as a “check” for you that we are living up to the fiduciary standard.
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. is financially stable. Their capital structure and liquidity are sound, and their internal controls and business standards are designed to keep client assets safe. They maintain a disciplined focus on risk management and strive to operate the firm conservatively
to minimize investment risks.
Please call us at (706) 364-4281 or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to set up an introductory meeting so that one of our advisors may answer your questions and you can learn if AP Wealth Management is the right firm for your financial management needs. Alternatively, you can see our availability and book a meeting automatically, here.
CLIENT ACCOUNT SERVICING
Signing up for Schwab Alliance gives you access to your account information virtually anytime, anywhere, while saving time and paperwork.
If you’ve already signed up for Schwab Alliance, click HERE to login.
Investment statements should be retained for at least a year whether paper or electronic. Year-end statements are especially important because the information contained in these statements is often necessary for filing an accurate income tax return. Trade confirmations can be purged immediately after comparing the confirmations with the applicable monthly statement for accuracy. The monthly statements from that date forward will suffice as your confirmation of trade activity.
ONLINE ACCESS THROUGH SCHWAB ALLIANCE
There are three parties in our business: the client (you), the Registered Investment Advisor (AP Wealth Management), and a custodian (Charles Schwab).
With investment information supplied by the client, AP Wealth constructs a portfolio in accordance with the client’s needs, assumes the responsibility for monitoring the portfolio, and makes adjustments in response to changing financial environments or the client’s circumstances.
An independent custodian, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. works for the benefit of both the client and the Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). The custodian serves the client by providing third party, independent information regarding positions and transactions in a client’s account. They serve as a “check” to the client that the RIA is living up to the fiduciary standard.
By using Schwab as primary custodian, AP Wealth Management has access to a wide range of products and services that help us serve our clients, including:
- Full range of investment products and trading services
- Wide array of investment account types including retirement accounts, charitable giving, and education accounts
- Full range of investment options such as stocks, mutual funds, bonds, exchange traded funds, CDs and other investments
- Technology and service support so investors can access all their accounts online and view positions, balances and account histories in one place
Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. is financially stable. Their capital structure and liquidity are sound, and their internal controls and business standards are designed to keep client assets safe. They maintain a disciplined focus on risk management and strive to operate the firm conservatively to minimize investment risks.
*These materials have been independently produced by AP Wealth Management LLC. AP Wealth Management LLC is independent of, and has no affiliation with, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. or any of its affiliates (“Schwab”). Schwab is a registered broker-dealer and member SIPC. Schwab has not created, supplied, licensed, endorsed, or otherwise sanctioned these materials nor has Schwab independently verified any of the information in them. AP Wealth Management LLC provides you with investment advice, while Schwab maintains custody of your assets in a brokerage account and will affect transactions for your account on our instruction.
Money Link is the most efficient means of transferring funds from your Schwab account(s) to another account (checking or savings) of your choosing. This is a standing authorization that allows AP Wealth to initiate the transfer for you at your request.
You can also initiate the request on Schwab Alliance for an electronic transfer or a check to be sent to you.
Yes, you can receive trade confirmations via your email address. eConfirms are electronic trade confirmations sent to your email, replacing paper trade confirmations. eConfirms are an easy, convenient and paperless way for you to receive your trade confirmations. eConfirms are confidential, they are sent without your name and address, and only include three digits of the account number to ensure privacy. There is the ability to nickname accounts for easy identification (e.g. Gene’s IRA). To enlist for eConfirms please contact AP Wealth to establish your electronic delivery. We will provide your email address to Schwab. You will then contact Schwab Alliance at 800-515-2157 to establish eConfirms.
For many people, the term fiduciary isn’t a part of their regular vocabulary. But, it’s important. Being able to trust the person who is managing your financial legacy to put your goals and preferences first is vital. A fiduciary investment advisor is responsible for acting in the best interests of the clients whose assets they are managing.
Not all investment advisors hold a fiduciary duty. Broker-dealers are held to a suitability standard of conduct, meaning their recommendations must be suitable for investors based on their financial profiles, but those advisors are not required to act in their clients’ best interest.
Broker-dealers are often compensated by commissions on transactions that can create a conflict of interest for their clients.
On the other hand, fiduciary duty is one of the most revered and powerful aspects of the financial industry. Fiduciary duty requires an investment advisor to act in the best interests of his or her clients. In fact, according to the Cornell Law Dictionary, “A fiduciary duty is the highest standard of care.” It entails always acting in our beneficiary’s best interest, even if doing so is contrary to ours.
According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, acting as a fiduciary means:
- Acting with undivided loyalty and utmost good faith
- Providing full and fair disclosure of all material facts, defined as those which “a reasonable investor would consider to be important”
- Avoiding conflicts of interest (such as when the advisor profits more if a client uses one investment instead of another) and disclosing any potential conflicts of interest
- Never misleading clients
- Never using a client’s assets for the advisor’s own benefit or the benefit of other clients
You may wish to know how you could tell if the person managing your assets is a fiduciary. It’s really pretty simple. Investment advisors are registered with the SEC or a state securities regulator and are fiduciaries – meaning they are subject to the duty of loyalty and due care with their clients. They are typically compensated by asset management fees (“fee-only” or “fee-based”) and are expected to act in the best interests of their clients.
On the other hand, stockbrokers, broker-dealer representatives, insurance agents and others who provide investment advice are regulated by the private-sector organization Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or by state insurance regulators and are subject only to a “suitability” standard of conduct.
In conclusion, everyone should be aware of whether the person or firm who is responsible for their investment management is a fiduciary or not. You can simply ask your advisor, or you can look up their registration with the SEC or FINRA.
Sound financial advice is as important to your overall health as good medical advice. Many people may not know exactly who to ask when it comes to getting quality financial advice. “Financial Advisor” is actually a generic term, and it does not have a precise industry definition. Many professionals fall into this general category, including stockbrokers, tax preparers, investment managers, and financial planners.
Not all financial professionals are held to the same standard when it comes to giving advice to their clients. So, it’s important to know the difference between a fiduciary and suitability standard. [To learn more, read our blog post on Fiduciary Duty].
Things to consider when looking for a Financial Advisor:
- Are they a Fiduciary?
- What kind of certifications do they hold?
- What experience do they have?
- Does their investment philosophy align with yours?
Some may call a financial advisor your planning partner. Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” While most people have at least a general idea that planning and saving for retirement is important, and that properly investing their assets is vital to building wealth, those same people may not have a good plan in place to achieve that goal. That is where a financial advisor can help.
A good financial advisor will work with you to determine your financial health today, your financial goals for tomorrow, and then, s/he will craft a plan according to your risk tolerance to execute that plan.
Effective leaders know when to delegate and when to seek expert opinions. So as the leader of your personal finances, you shouldn’t be afraid to consult a financial planner.
Perhaps a good place to start when discussing investment philosophy would be to look at a term with which many of us are more familiar – worldview. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a person’s worldview is “a comprehensive conception of the world especially from a specific standpoint,” or more simply put, the way someone thinks about the world.
A person’s worldview influences how an individual interprets the world and interacts with it through the decisions they make on a day-to-day basis. A person’s worldview is evidenced by the order of their priorities. For example, one person’s worldview may hold family as the utmost importance, thereby choosing to prioritize time with family, or even sacrificing personal goals for the good of the family. Another person’s worldview may hold personal honor as the utmost importance – which may lead them to prioritize this above time with family. Each person’s worldview influences what they see as the “right” choice.
An investment philosophy is very similar and linked to a person’s worldview – one influences the other. The way in which a person interprets events in the marketplace, their money management, and investment decisions all make up their investment philosophy and are influenced by their worldview.
A few of the most common investment philosophies are listed below. It is important to note that some investors may also hold a hybrid of these philosophies.
- Value investing
- Fundamentals investing
- Growth investing
- Socially-responsible investing
- Technical investing
This may seem very high-minded and theoretical at first, but it is easy to see why this matters in a practical sense.
There are many investment vehicles and investment plans to choose from and none of us can invest in everything—nor would it be particularly profitable to do so. Each of us needs guiding principles when it comes to these decisions—that is where an investment philosophy is important.
If you are working with an investment management firm or financial advisor, it is important that your investment philosophy aligns with that of the firm or individual who is managing your assets. If not, you can guess that you may end up less than pleased with the decisions that are made in regards to your investments.
It’s important to have conversations with your financial advisor to learn how they make decisions in regards to: investment vehicles/portfolio allocation, debt (use or avoid), risk tolerance, taxes, and building wealth. If you find that you agree, all the better! And, if you find you disagree on the fundamentals, it’s positive as well. Better to know upfront than to experience friction down the road in that relationship.
A custodian is a financial institution that holds customers’ securities for safekeeping so as to minimize the risk of their theft or loss.
A custodian can hold securities and other assets in electronic or physical form. Since they are responsible for the safety of assets and securities that may be worth hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars, custodians generally tend to be large and reputable firms. Most custodians also offer other services, such as account administration, transaction settlements, collection of dividends and interest payments, tax support, and foreign exchange.
Like most RIAs, we chose independence because we enjoy serving clients and growing our business. Our custodian, Charles Schwab, provides the back-office support we need to keep our time focused on what really matters – our clients.
We have had a close, long-term relationship with Charles Schwab as our custodian that includes strategic discussions about our business and operational best practices. Charles Schwab has more than 30 years of serving independent advisors like us, expertise that helps us improve our service to our clients through access to proven technology platforms, products, services and best practices.