The SFG Difference
What (really) Makes us Different
Financial advisor websites often have sections describing what makes them different. Ironically, a lot of them seem to say the same things – often vague generalizations about how they're "client oriented" or provide excellent service. The reality is that financial advisors can be so different from one another that they almost seem like completely different businesses, and understanding these differences is incredibly important to choosing the right advisor for you.
Brokers vs. Investment Advisors
The term "financial advisor" is used pretty loosely, but has no formal definition. There are two categories of licensed investment professionals: brokers and investment advisors. They can seem pretty similar, but there are some important distinctions.
These legal distinctions are very significant, but they only scratch the surface of the implications for client services and "culture." Brokers sell investment products. They are legally prohibited from providing investment advice. In practice, this can lead to a lot of frustration when clients are looking for deeper, more complicated, and more comprehensive financial planning and advice.
Sovereign vs. other Investment Advisors
Some Investment Advisors work exclusively as investment managers. Some are more planning oriented and take a broader approach. They may provide analysis and advice in areas such as insurance and estate planning. They often have established referral relationships with tax, insurance, and legal professionals. These things can be very helpful to many people. But we still think there's a lot of room for improvement.
The "traditional approach" leaves the client responsible for executing many elements of their financial plan and for coordinating their accountants, attorneys, and insurance agents. But most people – even very bright ones – lack the training and expertise necessary to do these things optimally. Even more importantly, they lead busy lives and lack the time to get it all done. Good advice and planning do little good without proper execution and maintenance.
Our approach is comprehensive, client focused, service oriented, and process driven. We aren't experts in everything, so we work directly with tax, legal, and insurance professionals on your behalf. We coordinate these professionals so they work as a team for you. We execute as much as possible instead of leaving you to do the "heavy lifting." We use structured processes to help get your financial life completely in order and to keep it that way. Our systems keep important things from being overlooked or neglected, and are focused on efficiency and consistency.
Ever feel like your advisor isn't really looking at everything you want, or is just "winging it?"
Do your review meetings lack purpose and focus, other than seeing if you'd like to invest more or buy more insurance?
Would you like more help with things like your employer benefits, tax reduction strategies, or estate planning?
Are you unsure whether you're really on track for goals like retirement or college funding?
Have you ever found yourself awkwardly trying to relay information to your accountant from your financial advisor or attorney? Or trying to resolve conflicting advice from your CPA and your insurance agent?