How Advisors Use AdvisorIntelligence

Paul Boyd
Jim McGurren
Jeff Metz
ClearPath Capital Partners,
San Mateo, CA
Dartmouth Advisory Services, Inc.,
Garden City, NY
Pinnacle Financial Advisors, LLC,
Marlton, NJ
PaulBoyd
JimMcGurren
JeffMetz

Firm size

 
Four advisors One advisor + two para-professionals Two advisors + one in training

Frequently used AdvisorIntelligence features:

 
Model Portfolios We follow both the index and active allocation models closely, but we occasionally choose different index funds.
Tactical Allocation Changes
We follow all of the changes.
Asset Class and Fund Reviews
Monthly Commentaries
Client Presentations
Other Client Communications
We utilize most of what's available on the site, but not all of it as we had established systems in place.
Research
I heard from some of the mutual fund managers that Litman Gregory has the most thorough, in-depth due diligence, and a research team that asks questions that nobody else asks.
Model Portfolios
I follow the models and deviate by adding individual securities for my largest clients.
Recommended List
Client Communication
I selectively use communications if they fit for specific clients.
Practice Management
AdvisorIntelligence provides the fundamentals that I can implement based on where I want my business to be in the future rather than where my business is today.
Recommended List
Asset Allocation and Fund Selection Discipline
Model Portfolios
We follow the models pretty closely. The main differences include an allocation directly to TIPS and, more recently, energy. Litman Gregory's perspective is a long-term horizon and we may make adjustments based on the cyclical and not the secular outlook. We also index a portion of the U.S. equity allocation to lower the overall costs.
Client Communications
These tools have been excellent, and we have utilized the PowerPoint slides and the quarterly newsletter.

Comments

 
We could not survive without AdvisorIntelligence now. We've cancelled other research over time.

We moved all of our clients to the AdvisorIntelligence models because of the track record and methodology behind them. Using the AdvisorIntelligence platform has freed us up to grow and expand.

The direction that we get from AdvisorIntelligence in terms of research, models, recommended funds, and due diligence is essential to our practice.
It gives me focus in my practice and helps me filter and analyze all of the information that's thrown at me. AdvisorIntelligence helps me stay disciplined in my process, with my clients and with their investments. I analyzed it against other research and determined it to be clear, consistent, rational, well-founded thinking. I believe it has actually made me a much better investor. We realized that we couldn't do an effective analysis of all mutual funds and asset classes on a global basis. So we asked, "Who can we use as a third party— a completely independent firm that can give us mutual fund analysis as well as asset class analysis?"

We compared AdvisorIntelligence to our existing menu of recommended mutual funds. They weren't that far off. So we felt that AdvisorIntelligence could a) do a much better job than we could and b) we could get the in-depth manager analysis as well as the drivers behind asset class valuations.

Advice to other advisers when evaluating AdvisorIntelligence

 
What AdvisorIntelligence offers is great for new advisors who don't want to start from scratch.

Understand the model concept, track record and methodology and do your homework on the models and AdvisorIntelligence.

As an investment advisor, you feel a large amount of responsibility, focus, and concern about what you're going to do for your clients. Evaluate what AdvisorIntelligence brings to the table that can improve your service and free you up to do what you do even better.
Small advisors can use AdvisorIntelligence's research, model portfolios, client communications, and practice management tools to create efficiencies and scalability needed to help grow their practices, get a little smarter, and have structure and discipline when making investment decisions.

You can use it in different ways, but there's a lot of information on AdvisorIntelligence. Even if you only use half of it, you're doing great. If you believe in the managers, you like the model portfolios, you prefer no-load, and you follow this philosophy—how could you not benefit from a resource like AdvisorIntelligence? If you're a stock picker, then it's not going to help you.
I would tell them that the investment they make in AdvisorIntelligence is well worth it. The return will be many times over what the cost is.

Between the communication tools, the practice management tools, the asset class valuation, and the in-depth analysis that AdvisorIntelligence provides on the managers, there really isn't a better bargain and a more valuable tool that I've ever come across.

AdvisorIntelligence subscriber since:

 
2002: We spent the first 5-6 months doing due diligence on AdvisorIntelligence. In 2003, we transitioned to the AdvisorIntelligence model portfolios and tactical asset allocations to test how they worked for our business. By the end of 2003, we were completely hooked and migrated our entire business practice to the model portfolios, and we've been using them ever since. 2001 2001

AUM

 
$44 million* $60 million* Approximately $200 million*

Practice

 
Financial advice and investment management services as well as facilitating hedges, structuring derivative transactions, and hedging risk management Advice and strategic guidance for individuals and families to capitalize on opportunities to preserve, grow, and transfer their wealth. We help simplify the management of multigenerational needs and soften the financial and emotional impact wealth planning can have on families. Comprehensive financial planning and investment management. We understand everything about our clients' financial life and tailor an investment strategy based on their lifestyle needs
*As of June 30, 2007.

 


Feedback We've Received

Matthew Casey — Registered Investment Advisor

As a subscriber to AdvisorIntelligence for the past year, I just wanted to take a moment to say "thank you" for your cutting edge insights and the always-professional demeanor by which you operate. I have been the beneficiary of your tremendous applications and sincerely feel that the valued relationships that I have developed within the past year with many of my clients is a direct result of your offering. Keep up the great work!

Please know that I look forward to continued success with your organization and welcome any and all insights that you may have as it relates to helping one grow their RIA practice.

John J. Malzone, CFP, President — JJM Financial Strategies, Inc.

While we subscribe to AdvisorIntelligence for your diligent and valuable mutual fund research, I have come to also benefit from the many other features your offer. In 2002, we customized the slide show and successfully presented it to a board of trustees who voted to have us manage a $5 Million account. Since then, drawing ideas from your models and specific fund recommendations we have demonstrated a competitive value to the client. In turn, they have recently entrusted us with an additional $5 Million.

Sheila M. Chesney—Chesney & Company, LLC

I know that I have written to you before but I wanted to send you an email after receiving the client letter that you sent out on Monday. [this refers to a client letter we provided during the steep July 2002 market decline]. I did not have a chance to look at the letter on Monday but woke up very early in the morning quite concerned particularly about some of my clients since they tend to panic. So rather than lay in bed and worry, I decided to get up and reformulate your letter and get it sent out (via email to some of my real worriers). I have not had one phone call yet. My biggest concerns (the ones that I sent the letter to via email) have not even called to talk about it. It has been noted in many a financial planning article that clients leave not necessarily because of performance but because of lack of communication. I believe that this is true. Because of my relationship with you, I have the opportunity to continually communicate with clients on a very high level. I believe that over time this will give my clients a level of comfort that they would find hard to duplicate elsewhere. I also read somewhere that affluent clients expect some kind of communication between 12-18 times a year. I also believe this. So I regularly send them updates on the funds in our portfolio (I use your models) as well as the philosophy pieces so that hopefully over time I am growing a set of clients who are committed to a strategy. I appreciate your work and wanted you to know that for a sole practitioner it is invaluable.

Michael DeKovner—Registered Investment Advisor

I am a longtime No-Load Fund Analyst subscriber, and I was thrilled to hear last year that you were going to launch your AdvisorIntelligence.com site to focus on the advisor market. After reviewing the site, I am amazed at all of the information and tools that you have posted.

In fact, I am already using the investment questionnaire, investment policy statements and quarterly PowerPoint presentations with my clients. This has been a huge time saver, and I appreciate how all of the materials integrate with your model portfolios.

On the research side, I really appreciate having access to all of the charts and fund reviews. I am looking forward to printing this information for use in my client meetings. It's nice to have a service where I can pay one fee and have free rein to use the content as often as I like.

Thanks for making this great resource available to me. Feel free to use me as a reference!!

William A. Edwards, Jr., ChFC—Financial Management Consultants of Virginia

I am a new subscriber and would like to say right off the bat that I am very excited and impressed with your services. I am a Fee-Only advisor who provides a full range of services in my practice, which includes tax planning/preparation, estate planning, cash flow management services, etc. plus investment management services. Your service is the first I have come upon that can give me a competitive edge in the investment management arena. Because I am diversified in my practice as a whole, I do not have the time to develop models, select assets and perform due diligence the way you can. You have given me, (at my fingertips), all the advantage of the bigger players in this business and consequently increased my competitiveness. Thanks for your service.

Harold Evensky—Evensky, Katz & Levitt

I'm a longtime admirer of the work you do, and with Advisor Intelligence it only gets better.


Mike Genovese—Genovese, Forman & Burford

No matter the size of your practice, if you're managing money and utilizing mutual funds, these are tools you'd be a fool to be without. Unlike most of the other research tools in the marketplace, these come from people who first and foremost manage money and their products are designed with that perspective in mind. These guys are grounded in research and practice management; they're horrible marketers, which is a plus in my mind.

Advisor Intelligence will help you filter through the debris of information that we're all bombarded with. They consolidate it into an understandable and usable format. They've not only helped add discipline to our investment process, they've helped us communicate more effectively with our clients as well as run our practice more efficiently.

It's inconceivable that an advisor could go out and economically recreate or duplicate what they are offering for such a nominal cost. The bottom line is these products will save you tons of research time, help you avoid making costly mistakes in your practice and more importantly they'll help you make better investment decisions and more money for your clients.

Mike Irving, President—Irving Planning & Investments, Ltd.

I am excited about outsourcing my mutual fund research and model portfolio construction decisions to Litman Gregory, through the AdvisorIntelligence website. Litman Gregory is a substantial firm with a history of providing excellent investment research and portfolio management services. Outsourcing these areas will give me the confidence and time to grow my business and bring more assets under management.

Raymond Johnson—Financial Planner

As a new subscriber to AI, I am thrilled beyond imagination with all the great information you provide at such a reasonable price. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with other financial planners and RIAs.

Jeffrey Keimer, CFP—Stanford Investment Group, Inc.

Please let Ken and the others there at LG know that we here at Stanford Investment Group are finding your Advisor Intelligence site, and the articles you publish there, to be of immense value to us. Several articles have been the basis from which we have created timely letters and reports to mail to our clients, on which we have received very positive feedback.

James V. McGurren, CPA—Dartmouth Advisory

Excellent site. The content is great, and I am constantly looking forward to the next piece, article etc. and how I can incorporate it into my practice.

Jeff Metz —Pinnacle Financial Advisors, LLC

We are extremely impressed with the depth of the coverage on issues related to overall asset allocation and equity strategy. Having looked for a data service that provides advice on equity strategy as well as individual manager due diligence, the AdvisorIntelligence product replaces our previous Callan Associates product with an extra bonus, written reports and graphs that can be used for our own client materials.

Matthew J. Morehead, JD, CEBS—Janiczek & Company, Ltd.

AdvisorIntelligence has enabled us to greatly improve our asset management services while simultaneously decreasing the amount of time and personnel needed for such services, dramatically improving our bottom line. Thanks to AdvisorIntelligence, we have better clarity regarding macroeconomic trends, market valuation changes and individual mutual fund performance and operations. We have never been more specific and proactive in managing our client portfolios. In addition, AdvisorIntelligence has better equipped us to communicate this timely information to our clients and prospects, resulting in improved client retention and an increase in assets placed under our management. We highly recommend AdvisorIntelligence for any advisory firm in the money management business—it has had a tremendously positive impact on our firm.

Madelyn M. O'Connell, CFP—Catalyst Financial Planning & Investment Mgt., Inc.

I've been an avid reader of the No-Load Fund Analyst for ten years and have always valued the charts and graphs in the newsletter for their pointed, original and insightful explanations of the financial markets. Now, as a subscriber to AdvisorIntelligence.com, my staff and I are able to incorporate your charts, graphs and other high quality research into our client presentations - thanks for a terrific, cost-efficient enhancement to our in-house research.

Steve Pomeranz—Pomeranz Financial Management

I truly can't believe how well you have built this site. I use a lot of them and this is the best I've seen!

Wes Prescott —Diesslin & Associates

I am finding AdvisorIntelligence very helpful in the asset management part of our business. Thanks for a great service!

David J. Reichle, Managing Director—Pacific Investment Advisors, LLC

I recently, and enthusiastically, began my year subscription to your website. One of the main reasons is the access to timely market data and research, particularly some of the excellent charts. The value of objective nonproprietary data is highest. Thanks for your work.

Jim Rhodes—Rhodes Investment Advisory

I started my fee-only investment practice several years ago after a 25-year career with major institutional investment organizations. I am always pleased when I can find a resource that is both professional and economical. The quality of L/G's research is unique in terms of what is available to small, independent investment firms. Fortunately for me, their asset allocation approach is consistent with, and applicable to, the "top-down" approach I use with managing client assets. Their mutual fund recommendation process is top notch in terms of its scope and professionalism. Being able to deliver all of this information in a timely and organized manner, through the AI Internet site, makes my subscription far superior to anything else available to me. I have made AI my Internet home page so I can be briefed every morning on the latest research, investment opinions, and recommendations of L/G's staff.

Scot Schoeppler —Performance Capital Management, Inc.

Thanks for the follow up. It's nice to do business with people who are responsive and conscientious.

I would like to say that so far I'm very happy I made the choice to subscribe to your site. I've started to use it extensively in my small one-man practice. I think one of the keys to success for smaller advisors is to leverage off what other people have done. I use AI, as you suggest, as my research department. There is no way I could duplicate what you do in my own shop, and why try, it's more cost effective to pay for your research.

Garry Shea—DA Davidson & Company

You are all great. I have been in the business since 1973, and I have never encountered a resource of information and ideas that is as productive.

Paul Solli—Aperio Group, LLC

Thank you, thank you Litman Gregory! What an amazing resource for both the established FA and the smaller advisor building his or her practice. I almost had a heart attack when I saw the extent to which one of the most successful financial advisors in the country had opened up the doors to their practice. After a computer, AI is the most useful tool I can think of for a new FA to build his or her practice of advising clients and managing their assets. And as an established advisor I think your site will be an enormous time saver in providing valuable insights and content for client interactions. While the information I get from Morningstar is excellent, your fund due diligence in AI is obviously much deeper and more comprehensive and gives me greater confidence in recommending a particular manager. I also appreciate the ability to download and customize everything from a client newsletter to an annual client tax questionnaire.

Taylor Welz—Bowman & Company, LLP

AI is invaluable. I feel like we have a real-time research department in our firm now. I have been very impressed with the graphs and the content, and the asset class updates and relative valuation indicators are also great.

Deb Wetherby—Wetherby Asset Management

We find the site to be a wonderful resource for us. We really appreciate your generosity in sharing things like quarterly client presentations and investment policy statements. The research, as always, is thoughtful and comprehensive. We also find that you are doing a good job of discussing issues that are on the top of our list, like alternative investments. Thanks—we are happy subscribers!