What makes us different Makes a difference to our clients
Q&A with TWM founder, Bruce Thompson
Q: Why are your phones so quiet when the market seesaws?
A: In a word, perspective. Look at an impressionist painting up close and you’ll see chaotic brush strokes that don't tell you much. But if you step back you'll see a beautiful picture. Focusing on news headlines and short-term fluctuations in economic data and stock prices can cause a loss of perspective and bad decisions. But step back and look at the amazing growth in the economy and stock market over the long run, you'll see another beautiful picture imbued with what one of our clients called "the most restful shade of green."
Q: Why do we talk about financial independence more than retirement planning?
A: Words Matter. "Retirement" was a twentieth century social experiment that is increasingly less tenable and desirable. These days, when a client shares their vision, it’s more about living productive, satisfying lives doing the things they love. Success is about being able to control how you spend your time!
Q: Why doesn’t TWM shout about the amount of its “assets under management”?
A: Quality is more important than quantity. A more important metric is the ratio of clients to the adviser. We have chosen to limit the number of clients we serve in order to ensure that each has personal access and dedicated service.
Q: Why does your independence matter?
A: Because it’s essential to clients' financial independence. Wall Street is known as the “thundering herd” for a reason, and the best-known firms are guilty of, at crucial moments, leading their clients – everyday people -- away from sensible things, like asset allocation and diversification, and into risky positions. This happened leading up to the 1990’s tech bubble and the more recent financial crisis. Our firm's relationship and compensation models are structured to give us -- and our clients -- the best chance of thinking for ourselves. That’s incredibly important not only to your financial security, but also to your peace of mind.
Q: Why is acting as a fiduciary important?
A: In a perfect world we could stop talking about it. It means we always put our clients' interests before our own and always offer the best advice, which is our obligation as an SEC registered investment adviser. But it can be confusing for consumers because many players in the field use titles like wealth advisor and financial planner. Stockbrokers, bank representatives or insurance agents who accept commissions based on the products or services they sell, operate under a different regulatory standard allowing them to sell products and services that might be "suitable" for clients, but not necessarily the best or lowest cost. The strategies may favor the advisor or firm over the client. The key question is, what's important to your pocketbook and peace of mind?
Q: How come we don’t advertise our results?
A: Our client retention speaks for itself. The minute an adviser starts advertising results it becomes more about “the adviser’s results” as opposed to the “clients' results,” and this could affect investment decisions. As a boutique firm, we manage clients’ portfolios based on their individual objectives, restrictions and tax circumstances. Those portfolios might include concentrated employer stock options or positions with low tax basis. It might be misleading to market our services by advertising that performance.