Specialization & Value to Clients

Have a question not listed here? Please contact Rich at 434 978-7424, richard.keffert@lpl.com, or use the contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are you paid?
I prefer to work with clients on an annual fee basis as this largely removes transaction costs from investment decision making and enables decisions to be made on the merit of the investment. Please see Account Fees for specific rates. If a client prefers to work on a commission basis then I will do so.

Why are you not fee-only?
My supporting broker dealer, LPL Financial, sets a minimum size for fee-based accounts at $25,000. Sometimes a client with a fee-based account may have another account that is below this threshold. In this instance I work on a commission basis until we can build the account up to qualify for the fee-based model. There are also situations, especially with very long-term "buy and hold" investors or bond investors that always hold bonds to maturity, where commissions can be more cost effective than the fee structure.

Do you offer comprehensive Financial Planning?
Yes. If a client's needs are simply estimating future retirement income, or developing savings strategies, then I provide this as a complimentary service. If a more comprehensive financial plan is required, this is provided through an independent CFP® on a flat fee basis.

Are there account minimums?
In order to maintain expected levels of service, I set opening portfolio minimums for new clients at $50,000.

What are the costs?
Please see the appropriate table under Account Fees.

Will you work with a client that wants to use mutual funds rather than individual securities?
Yes. A mutual fund driven strategy is much less time intensive for me than individual securities, and I discount my fees accordingly (35% lower than fees for portfolios comprised of individual stocks and bonds – See Table). All commissions for mutual funds are waived in fee-based accounts.

Do you sell annuities or other life insurance products?
I am uncomfortable with the conflicts of interest that in my opinion seem inherent in selling products with a commission that may represent 7% or more of the product. Accordingly, I made a conscious choice not to sell annuities and insurance products, but to instead offer independent advice and allow my clients to shop competitively for such products if they choose.

Can you manage my account on a discretionary basis?
Yes, within a fee-based account. Prior to starting on a discretionary basis, you should be willing to invest some time with me in clearly defining the rules and guidelines within which your account will be managed.

Is this the right time to be in the stock market?
You will not know if now is the right time until you look back with the benefit of crystal clear hindsight. Stock markets, despite the endless parade of opinions in the media, really are unpredictable - and especially so in the short term. What we do know about investing in stocks is that the longer your holding period the greater the odds you will achieve returns superior to lower risk asset classes such as bonds and cash. You should only consider stock investments for that portion of your portfolio that you will not need to touch in the next five years. Seasoned professional investors understand that trying to jump in and out of the market in anticipation of a recession or economic rebound is more often than not self-defeating. I do not attempt this with my own money and would certainly not try it with yours.

How many companies do you follow?
This typically ranges between 40-60 companies. I also examine a much larger universe of "candidate" companies during the course of a year, but for one reason or another may choose not to add the new company to portfolios. Sometimes one can uncover a wonderful company, but with a stock price that is far too high to make a prudent investment.

What do you look at when investigating companies for a possible investment?
It can take me upwards of six hours to complete an investigation of a candidate company, during which time I will consider many factors, however I place the greatest weight on a company's fundamentals. The end goal of my investigation is to arrive at a reasonably confident estimate of how future earnings per share and free cash flow may evolve over the next five to ten years, and consequently to determine if buying into that future at today's share price represents a prudent investment.

† Investing in mutual funds involves risk, including possible loss of principal. Investments in specialized industry sectors have additional risks, which are outlined in the prospectus.