6600 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd
Embassy Row 600
In our years of experience, we have found the vast majority of new client candidates do not fully understand all of the costs associated with their investments. This is especially true when we help potential clients identify the hidden layers of fees in their mutual fund accounts, variable annuities and even fixed indexed annuities.
A 2019 Magnify Money survey reported that 73% of investors don’t know how much they are paying in fees. In a 2018 Harris Poll, 53% of respondents could not find fees on their statements, nearly 40% wrongly thought they were paying no fees at all, and 15% reported paying fees that didn’t even exist!
Unfortunately, many investors are misled to believe that the only fee they pay is to their advisor. The Financial Planning Association’s recent survey of investment professionals finds that nearly 90% of fee-based advisors use fund products in their client portfolios. These add costs over and above the advisor’s management fee and can diminish growth potential.
1 Any fees paid an the frequency charged will be agreed upon by the client when contracting with Smarte Investments, a Member of Advisory Services Network, LLC. Additional information about fees can be found in the Adviser's Form CRS and Disclosure Brochure.
According to several independent investment resources1-9 , the breakdown of costs associated with an active mutual fund portfolio can be staggering:
1 Bernicke, Ty A., CFP (2011). The Real Cost of Owning a Mutual Fund in Forbes 2 Edelen, Roger, Evans Richard, Kadlec, Gregory (2010). Shedding Light on “Invisible” Costs: Trading Costs & Mutual Fund Performance 3 Kim, Kenneth (2016). How Much Do Mutual Funds Really Cost? in Forbes 4 Chen, James (2019). Load Fund 5 Bogle, John C. (2014). The Arithmetic of “All-In” Investment Expenses 6 Rushkewicz, Katie (2010). How Tax-Efficient is you Mutual Fund? 7 Advisory HQ (2020). What are the Average Financial Advisor Fees & Investment Fees Being Charged in 2020? 8 Chen, James (2019). Window Dressing 9 Huang, Jennifer, Sialm, Clemens and Hanjiang, Zhang (2009). Risk Shifting and Mutual Fund Performance, National Bureau of Economic Research
It is important to know the difference between a broker and registered investment adviser, as well as the difference between terms like fee-based advisor and a fee-only adviser.
Since the repeal of the 1933 Glass-Stegall Act via the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) in 1999, the distinction between stockbrokers, investment advisers and insurance agents has become increasingly blurred to the average consumer. The operational deregulation of GLBA allowed for the cross-selling of brokerage, insurance, lending and advisory products, and permitted brokers to use titles such as “financial advisor” or “fee-based advisor” (but not investment adviser or fee-only adviser.) Based on subsequent studies, these changes contributed to investor confusion over the standard of care required of their investment professionals:
1 Hung, Angela A., Clancy, Noreen, Dominitz, Jeff, Talley, Erric, Berrebi, Claude, & Suvankulov, Farrukh (2006). Investor and Industry Perspectives on Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers, Rand Corporation. 2 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (2011). Study on Investment Advisers and Broker-Dealers as Required by Section 913 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act 3 U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (2018). SEC Proposes to Enhance Protections and Preserve Choice for Retail Investors in Their Relationships With Investment Professionals
According to FINRA’s 2020 Industry Report, only 9% of the nearly 700,000 registered individuals are fee-only (fiduciary) adviser representatives.