Each winter, I spend a lot of time doing what we call practice management. Before I delve into the components of this, I want to thank you for all the support you have given us this last year. Many things have happened in 2014 -- we have updated our business name, rebranded the firm, launched blogging and social media campaigns, changed registrations, created a new website and changed custodian firms where we hold our clients’ investments.
With these new practices and measures in place, we are certain that 2015 will be our best year yet. We are looking forward to helping you this year and for many after. I’d like to touch on several parts of my practice management for 2015:
Rebranded Firm Name
Our original business name, Failla Financial, was a great name and one that fit beautifully when I left Merrill Lynch in 2008. However, I am not the only one that makes things happen here in our office; there is an entire team I work with. Sandy is an integral part of my team in the office and externally, I rely on multiple strategic partners. I wanted a firm name that represents our entire unit.
Strada in Italian literally means “street” but figuratively it means path, way or direction. As I review each of your financial and personal lives, we are metaphorically proceeding down that path together as a team. Taking my name off the door to reflect this philosophy seemed completely natural and timely.
Our New Goal
A lot of you already know that these last years, I have spent a lot of time working with attorneys in divorce settlement negotiations. We work with families as a neutral or in a support capacity to help them make the right decisions during their divorce. Our goal is to keep families out of court and to help them make the best financial decisions that are sustainable for the future.
Firm Registration Changes
There are a lot of “financial advisors” out there and not all are created equal. Back in 2012, I started to practice fee-only financial advice, but until I changed the registrations of the firm, I could not use the word “fiduciary.” This is the utmost important tenant of our firm. My fiduciary standard is to you, not the broker-dealer and not the insurance firm.
When looking at my career as an investment manager, I am fortunate to have an array of experiences with Merrill Lynch, Pershing and TD Ameritrade. I reviewed a lot of custodians this past year (Fidelity and Schwab included) and chose TD Ameritrade. I went with TD Ameritrade for many reasons: ease of use for my clients, reduced fees on trades, and institutional capability to hold those alternative investments we utilize to reduce market exposure. I look forward to a long relationship with TD Ameritrade.
We are thinking about how to make our operations better and more streamlined and as a result, are instituting a couple of new programs and technology.
Thinking green we will reduce the amount of paper printed and then mailed. With Docusign, we will be able to send needed forms electronically. Our clients can now sign on their computer screen and securely send it back to us. This will also reduce our lead times executing to strategies faster.
Performance Reporting/Client Interface
Since re-registering the firm, I notice my performance reporting is not where I would like it to be. This will be a massive Q1/Q2 initiative on our part, but we will have complete data aggregation of all investments and will be able to report them to you on one statement, once we have established the data feeds.
Once the data is aggregated, you will be able to use our website to log in and look at all investments on one site. We have tried this for many years in the past, but with recent Internet breaches and companies increasing their security, we have had many connection issues. As a result, we will be changing providers and collecting the data direct from the company instead of using your logins and passwords.
Leading Young Professionals with Integrity
We are strategically working with our partners to create offers of our complete services for lower fees to those that need it the most: our younger generation.
The younger generations love transparency and information. They are philanthropic, cost conscious and in need of good information. They are bombarded with what I call “noise” from the Internet and, unfortunately, not executing to some of the more basic financial management practices that can help them live better now and save for the future.
Stay tuned as we launch into this new arena with passion and glee.