Choosing The Right Financial Advisor For You

It’s time for a change in the financial services industry. Most marketing materials of investment products focus solely on their positive aspects. They describe the “pros” of those financial products, but tend to downplay the “cons” and costs. Investors don’t always know to ask about the flip side of these products, or about the alternatives. Since some financial advisors only sell certain products, they cannot provide their clients with all the options available to them.

bobshwe200x400Bob Schneeweis, founder and president of YES Wealth Management, argues that a change is required in how financial advisors are trained and compensated. Moving to a fee-only service rather than commissions would be a good first step for the industry as it would eliminate a lot of the incentive to just sell product. Brokers and Advisory Firms also need to up their game in ensuring their representatives are knowledgeable across the broad investment landscape and are not just sales agents. They need to be prepared to discuss all aspects of an investment option available to clients, which includes the benefits, downsides, costs and alternatives to those options. With the liquid, low cost ETFs available in todays’ marketplace, financial advisors can provide these services to all types of clients, regardless of the size of their portfolio.

Brothers Bob and Tom Schneeweis founded YES Wealth Management (formerly known as S Capital Wealth Advisors) in 2015, in order to bring the post-modern approach to asset allocation used by endowments and institutions to all their clients, with a particular focus on modern techniques of managing volatility and risk. The firm provides wealth management for established investors, develops wealth-building portfolios for newer investors, and provides solutions for clients who want their portfolios to support their environmental or social values.

Bob Schneeweis has been involved in the financial world one way or another for his entire career. He has an undergraduate degree in accounting and economics from St. John’s University, and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. Bob was a CPA for more than 20 years, and also served as Manager of Trust Operations at US Bank and Director of Planning and Financial Reporting for Norwest Corporation (now Wells Fargo). Tom Schneeweis was a Professor of Finance at the University of Massachusetts, the founder of CAIA (Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst), the Journal of Alternative Investments and a frequent speaker on Asset Allocation both nationally and internationally.

YES Wealth Management was founded upon Schneeweis’ desire to service his own clients, with the goal of innovating how clients were served, unencumbered by corporate goals or incentives. He was an early adopter to the fee-only approach to providing financial services in the 1990s.

“The predominant environment that involved earning commissions from selling investment products did not fit my belief system,” said Schneeweis. “While adopting the fee concept early in my career, the more recent move to my own registered investment advisory practice cements the advisor role of a fiduciary and enables me to be even more proactive as a financial advisor.
Investors must be diligent in finding the right financial professional for them. This involves asking a lot of questions to get to know the financial advisor’s personality, motivations, skills and approach.

For example, clients should ask:

• Who will be holding my assets, and how do they report to me?
• Are you invested in the same products that you are recommending to me, and why or why not?
• Do you have access to the broad market of investment options, or do you only sell proprietary products?
• How are you different from other advisors, with respect to expertise, size of company, location, access and level of services?
• How do you service clients, and who do I deal with when I have questions?
• What is your fee structure? Do you charge commissions?
• Do you offer financial planning for retirement and other needs, or is this extra?

Many younger investors are turning to financial apps and robo-advisors to manage their investment planning. Given the growth of technology and the efficiencies that they provide, these tools can help to make investing easier to understand. Perhaps their greatest benefit is that by making investment information and investing more accessible, they actually encourage people new to investing to start investing.

However, as with other financial products, you never hear about the downside of these technologies. One drawback, at least with today’s robo-advisors, is the inability to truly diversify. These applications enable you to invest in stocks and bonds, but the options beyond those types of investments are limited – and non-existent for some types of investments. The technology cannot assess your specific situation or understand your personal needs. Some provide you with the option of speaking to a person for a fee when you have questions, but you don’t know anything about that person, such as their experience in the market.

“The companies that offer robo-advising solutions don’t talk about the hidden costs or limitations of their application for obvious reasons,” said Schneeweis. “They promote the savings, but ignore the fact that they offer very limited investment options that truly provide downside protection. That’s why it makes sense to speak to and meet with a financial advisor who understands your situation, what is going on in the world in the markets, and who can make changes to your investment strategy when they need to be made.”

For more information on YES Wealth Management, visit:

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