Comprehensive Financial Planning Process
We provide comprehensive financial planning via a well-defined process requiring specific information. That process and the information needed is as follows:
Step 1: Initial Client Consultation – The initial consultation takes place either in person or via phone. The consultation is an introductory meeting, and provides us an opportunity to learn more about the prospective clients and his or her needs. During this meeting, the information we collect allows us to formulate a proposal based on the client situation and needs. In general, the information we collect is outlined on this questionnaire.
Step 2: Proposal – Based on the information gathered at the initial meeting, Minerva formulates a proposal. If the client elects to move forward with the proposal, an executed copy of the proposal is returned to us. Given that each proposal is unique, the information we need to begin the engagement varies, but a list of information we generally collect is here.
Step 3: Base Plan Review – The base plan is essentially the first attempt at modeling the client’s situation and goals in our software. We review the base plan with the client to ensure that the data entered is correct, and that we have a clear understanding of the client’s goals. We meet with clients for this review either in person, or via an online meeting. Base plan reviews usually require one to two hours.
Step 4: Final Plan Review – To create the final plan, we make any corrections or adjustments needed subsequent to the base plan review, and we add the plan narrative, which includes analysis, recommendations and next steps. Thus, the final plan not only assesses where a client stands with respect to his or her goals, but also what steps are needed to reduce risk and increase the overall likelihood that plan goals will be met. As with the base plan review, we have either a face-to-face or online meeting, typically lasting one to two hours.
Step 5: Portfolio Review – One of the plan outputs is a target portfolio for the client. The target portfolio describes how the client should invest – in what percentage of large cap U.S. stocks, what percentage in small cap stocks and so on. However, the plan output does not include specific investment recommendations – this is the purpose of the portfolio review which provides account-by-account recommendations of exactly what should be bought and sold. Some clients prefer to cover the final plan review and the portfolio review in one session, while others prefer to split the final plan and portfolio reviews into two sessions.
The process beyond step 5 depends upon whether a client elects to be self-directed and implement the plan for herself, or prefers to move into a retainer agreement.
Portfolio Design Process
The portfolio design follows the completion of a plan, and the steps are as follows:
Step 1: Investment Policy Statement – The investment policy statement documents the overall investment strategy, which is determined based on a number of factors, including client risk tolerance and return needs as outlined in the client’s financial plan.
Step 2: Investment Recommendations – Once the investment policy is complete, we formulate specific account-by-account recommendations regarding what should be purchased and what should be sold in each account.
Wealth Management Process
The wealth management process begins where the completion of the initial financial plan and portfolio design end. The first step in wealth management is assisting the client in plan implantation, opening the necessary accounts, transferring assets and implementing recommended trades.
From that point forward, we typically meet with the client once per quarter during the first year and as often as necessary after that. The meetings offer us a chance to catch up with the client, and ensure we remain informed regarding their financial situation and goals. The retainer includes ongoing planning needs, so beyond the periodic meetings, we meet with clients on an as needed basis to discuss any planning issues that might arise.
The process also includes quarterly reporting on both portfolio positions and performance, annual portfolio rebalancing and ongoing portfolio monitoring to identify any changes that might require changes to client investments.