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You are here: Business Finance Does Your Advisor Really Know You?
If not, neither one of you are stepping up.

Financial advisors may have thorough industry knowledge, but if they don’t have a full and complete understanding of you, your motives, personal plans and legacy goals, Craig Pesce, CFP ®, Vice President and Director of Marshall & Sterling Wealth Advisors says they’re simply not doing their job to the best of their abilities.

“Fiduciary competency is a must. That goes without saying.” says Pesce. “But if we don’t take that knowledge and apply it in a specific and custom manner tailored to what our client has worked his or her entire life for, what good is it?”

The Poughkeepsie, New York, firm is a division of a 150-year-old risk management company, currently ranked 33rd among privately held insurance companies in the US, according to Insurance Journal’s 2016 Top 100 Independent Property and Casualty Agencies report. Marshall & Sterling Wealth Advisors are a registered investment advisor offering financial planning, investment advice and Retirement Plan consulting.

To be effective, investing and financial planning has to be a collaborative effort. Investors and advisors need to work together to develop tailored investment solutions. Pesce’s team is very hands on. Their client relationships always begin by asking a lot of questions. “We know each and every one of our clients.” he says.

But you as the investor also have responsibilities . . . be open and speak up. As an investor, your input is essential for your advisor to properly guide you. “Leaving your advisor to interpret what your goals are is a losing proposition for everyone involved. We look for individuals and businesses that are engaged in the process, recognizing it’s not just about earning. It’s about planning, growing, and protecting their wealth.” said Pesce. “When a client gets that and values our guidance and support, it’s a powerful combination.”

Working with clients to find a custom solution recently has taken on new importance with the industry shift away from the “alpha approach.” “Many clients come to Marshall & Sterling seeking alpha, but the conservative approach delivers more consistent rewards over the long-term.” Pesce said. “And our team is in it for the long term.”

Building customized solutions requires knowing investors, particularly from one generation to the next. Approaching newer investors such as millennials — who grew up watching the market lurch up and down, often with disastrous consequences for their parents — requires new tactics like online tools.

The industry is changing as well, with new Department of Labor fiduciary rules going into effect this April and additional 401k disclosure requirements complicating compliance. Increased longevity also complicated the planning process as now clients must contend with 30 or 40 year retirements — something Marshall & Sterling deals with by projecting longer life expectancy and increasing medical expenses in its models to provide a “cushion,” Pesce said.

None of the changes affect Marshall & Sterling’s basic promise to put investors first, Pesce said. A placard in his office lists the top three rules of wealth management; all three are: “Always do right by the client.”

“It’s that simple,” he said. “If you look yourself in the mirror at the end of every day and know that you put the client first, then we all win.”

For more information see:

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advice offered through Marshall & Sterling Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisor. Marshall & Sterling Wealth Advisors, Marshall & Sterling Wealth Management, and Marshall & Sterling Inc. are separate entities from LPL Financial.
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