FA-IQ reached out to advisors to ask: What are the top financial advice questions you are getting from your clients? How are you responding to those questions?

Brett Bernstein, chief executive officer and founder of XML Financial Group. Rockville, Maryland-based Bernstein has been in the industry for 23 years and has $3.7 billion in client assets.

“The top financial advice question I am getting from clients and prospective clients currently is, 'Should we be making any allocation shifts to their portfolio based on interest rates, the market volatility and inflation?' I am saying that we have based your allocation off of a well-thought-out financial plan.

Brett Bernstein
We do, however, make tweaks to a client’s portfolio based on the economic, geopolitical, market, interest and other factors that are out there.

Overall, through diversification and not trying to market time things, we can provide the majority of the success to your financial plan. But sometimes tweaks here and there can add alpha to your portfolio.”

Jim Pratt-Heaney, founding partner of Coastal Bridge Advisors. Westport, Connecticut-based Pratt-Heaney has been in the industry for more than 30 years and has $2.85 billion in client assets.

Jim Pratt-Heaney
“'Am I OK?' is the most basic and frequent question I hear from clients.

This can mean:

  • Do I have enough money for my plans?
  • Are the investments we have still the right ones, given the changes in the markets and the world?
  • Is there something others are doing that I am missing?

Responding to these very important questions becomes easier when I rely on our thorough, personalized planning process as the basis for their investments and other financial needs. Answering these questions would be impossible if an advisor is investing for clients based on market moves alone."

Gerald Goldberg, CEO and co-founder of GYL Financial Synergies. West Hartford, Connecticut-based Goldberg has been in the industry for 26 years and has about $9 billion in client assets.

Gerald Goldberg
"At GYL, our investment recommendations are custom-tailored to the unique needs of the client. We consider the client’s risk tolerance, time horizon and liquidity needs. During periods of elevated volatility, clients sometimes ask if they should cash out and wait for things to calm down in the markets.

Thoughtful, prudent return and volatility expectations recognize that risk assets do not grow in a linear fashion. Crucially, it is not infrequent that the best days of the markets follow some of the worst days.

Timing the market is very difficult. To do so successfully one needs to correctly time not only when you get out but also when to get back in. I don’t know anyone with the insight, nerve, and luck to do that effectively and consistently.

Accordingly, it is best to review your needs in the short term and intermediate term and allocate appropriate cash to meet those needs. By doing this you provide your longer-term assets a sufficient time horizon to overcome near-term volatility and act as the longer-term vehicle for growth and inflation hedging for which they are intended.”

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