The Client Experience

Working with an independent advisor has many benefits including a more personalized service focused on each client's unique needs, goals, and situation. Our work encompasses both investment management and financial planning and is centered on guiding clients in decision-making.

To illustrate what a customized experience with a financial professional is like, we find that it’s helpful to outline the client experience from introduction to ongoing work.

See an illustration of getting started with North Berkeley »

Getting to Know You

Our first conversation is about getting to know each other. We usually start with a phone call to determine if we will bring value to your situation and are a good fit for your needs. If the answer is yes, we schedule an in-person meeting with an advisor. Even if we’re not the right fit for you, we strive to provide options for potential next steps so you can maintain the momentum needed to move forward.

The second conversation is a deeper dive into the specifics of your financial situation with one of our lead advisors. We’ll cover things like the types of investments you need managed, what your long-term goals are (and not just the financial ones), and what financial issues are of the most concern. At the end of this meeting, we hope that you’ll have enough information to make a confident decision, even if that means choosing not to work with us at this time. Of course, we’ll be available for any questions that do pop up after the meeting. If you decide that we’ll be a good partner in your financial decision-making, it’s time to make it formal.

The First Client Meeting

Signing the Documents
At the first official client meeting, your lead advisor will walk you through formal document signing to initiate our partnership, and authorize our work on your behalf. In addition, we’ll collect key biographical information that informs our work together – not only regarding the expected data points of accounts, assets, and income, but also the personal and family information that guides estate planning and beneficiary designation.

You’ll fill out and sign several documents.

  • Investment Advisory Agreement
  • Client Biography
  • IRA Beneficiary Designation
  • Outside Professional Authorizations

The Second Client Meeting

Launching Our Investment Process
At the second meeting we really kick off our work together. The initial focus will be on your investment portfolio and the specific changes we’ll make as we transition your assets into our care. Our desired outcome for the meeting will be to come to a joint agreement about the initial investment positioning that we’ll put into place.

Once your assets have arrived and are positioned, the onboarding process will be complete, and we’ll enter the next phase of our work together.

Beyond the Relationship Launch

Financial Planning and Ongoing Work
Depending on the structure of our work together, our financial planning may be included with your core fee, or it may be billed on an hourly basis. Either way, at the beginning of our relationship, we’ll review your areas of concern as well as the core areas we like to assess for all clients. A calendared plan will emerge of what analysis may be needed, and how to best prioritize and sequence the work.

After these initial phases, our work will take on a natural rhythm with regularly scheduled check-ins, quarterly portfolio reviews, and quarterly reporting. And we’re always available for any new developments because we know that life can change rapidly and that’s exactly when you need a partner the most.

See an sample client calendar »