Frequently Asked Questions

What does NewFocus Financial Group do?

NewFocus Financial Group provides comprehensive financial planning and investment management advisory services to individuals, families, trusts, retirement plans and businesses seeking preservation of capital, income, and long-term capital appreciation. We believe that a coordinated effort between portfolio management and financial planning is the best approach to building a complete wealth management solution and are committed, through financial planning and disciplined money management, to assist investors in realizing their financial goals.

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Is NewFocus Financial a brokerage firm?

No. NewFocus Financial is an SEC registered, Registered Investment Advisor.

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What type of clients do you work with?

Generally, our clients are people who are successful, goal-oriented, ask good questions, and value working with an experienced, unbiased advisory firm. Approximately two thirds of our clients are individuals who are in or approaching retirement and nearly one third are younger individuals who are accumulating wealth. Our clients have a desire to follow the financial advisory process and have reasonable expectations for success. The common denominator among all of our clients is a desire to work with a trusted advisor and to delegate the financial advisory process so that they can pursue other goals. Our wealth management services typically provide the greatest benefits to clients with investment assets of at least $500,000.


How do you differ from banks, brokerage firms, and/or other financial advisory firms?

We differ from larger firms and other financial advisory firms in a number of ways. First we are primarily compensated by fees paid by our clients thereby allowing us to work in our clients’ best interests. In other words we act in a fiduciary capacity when advising our clients. Unlike our competitors — who may receive the bulk, if not all, of their compensation from commissions on the products they recommend, the majority of the compensation we receive comes solely from our client. In addition, many times when you are working with a purely commission-compensated individual, there are hidden commissions and compensation fees, which are not transparent.

By law, brokers and advisors who are employed by a sales organization are required to work in their firm’s best interest. In these situations, the individuals that represent these firms have an incentive to recommend high-cost products that may or may not be in your best interests.

Banks and brokerage firms sometimes provide some of the same planning and investment services as NewFocus Financial. However, the advisory fee charges are frequently at a higher cost and are provided without an understanding of their clients’ overall objectives.

In comparison to brokerage firms, we do not underwrite individual securities that we purchase for our clients, nor do we have proprietary products to sell (mutual funds, etc.). As a result we have no incentive to recommend or to buy a particular equity or mutual fund to a client.

Finally, we focus on our client’s entire financial situation. This means that we integrate every aspect of your financial and investment management plan.

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How are you compensated?

The compensation we receive for investment management is based on a percentage of the assets we manage. The fee is quoted as an annual percentage fee and is billed quarterly in arrears. There may also be a separate flat fee for financial planning services (quoted up front before any work is undertaken).

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What do you do for your clients and how do you earn your fee?

We help our clients accumulate, grow, protect, preserve and transfer their wealth. This includes setting goals, developing and implementing strategies and monitoring their impact. We also help our clients take advantage of financial opportunities and avoid financial problems. We earn our fees by providing advisory services that are of benefit to our clients via the prudent and continued management of our client portfolios.

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How do I begin the process of becoming a client of NewFocus Financial?

Once you have contacted our firm, an advisor will contact you by phone to discuss your situation in more detail and to provide you with information on how to move forward. Click here to start the process and become a client.

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Is there a charge for the initial meeting and what can I expect?

No, NewFocus Financial does not charge any fees to prospective clients. The initial consultation is designed to introduce you to our firm, uncover your goals, objectives, planning priorities, financial resources, past experiences, return expectations and attitude toward risk – among other things. The meeting will last approximately 30-90 minutes. In order to make the meeting as productive as possible we will ask that you bring certain documents with you. At the end of the meeting we can discuss what next steps might be appropriate.

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Does a client have to stay with the NewFocus Financial service for any length of time?

No, there is no obligation to stay with our service for any length of time. Clients are allowed to terminate our services at any time.

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Who actually does my financial plan and manages my portfolio?

One of our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners will develop your financial plan. Our CFP® practitioners are experts in retirement planning, investments, insurance, college funding, tax planning and estate planning issues.

The NewFocus Financial investment policy committee consists of over 80 combined years of investment experience to help you achieve your financial goals. Our investment policy team includes Chad Burton CFP®, Brad Stacey CFP®, Patrick Mason CFP®, Mark Farrelly CFP®, and market strategy input from Rob Black.

Your account will be traded to a designated model. The individual holdings are monitored daily and the model allocation is reviewed weekly by the Investment Policy Committee.

We work as a team which ensures that there will always be someone who is available for you to talk with who is familiar with you and your personal needs.

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What types of portfolios do you manage?

We manage mutual fund and exchange traded fund (ETF) portfolios and two individual stock portfolios.

NewFocus Financial offers very well defined approach to portfolio design, especially for those in retirement. Our planners will create a tax efficient income plan that will work well in a low interest rate environment OR in a high interest rate environment. The overall goal is provide clients with at or above market returns during positive market conditions, while limiting downside during bear markets based on their attitude toward risk, timeline and other factors.

Our mutual fund and exchange traded fund portfolios are designed for those investors seeking steady returns with significantly less volatility than the overall market. We blend different types of investments having various capitalizations (large and small) and investment styles (value and growth) within each asset class. NewFocus Financial also determines, through the analysis of current financial and economic data, which asset classes and investment styles are under-valued, fairly valued and over-valued. NewFocus Financial attempts to capitalize on these discrepancies by weighting higher percentages of the client’s portfolio to the investments that offer the greatest value and lower percentages of the client’s portfolio to the investments that are the most over-valued.

Part of our asset allocation investment philosophy is to provide broad diversification by using a variety of different asset classes with low correlation to each other. Low correlation of return between asset classes and investment styles helps to mitigate performance volatility, which in turn decreases risk – without significantly impacting return. Overall, this active allocation strategy is an attempt to gauge the economy and risk and adjust the portfolio to reap the major benefits of a solid market while, particularly and most importantly reducing exposure in the turbulent times.

NewFocus Financial has also created two individual stock portfolios based upon different approaches.

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How often does NewFocus Financial review its investment portfolios?

Generally, we review our portfolios on a continuing basis based on company news and economic and political developments. Our portfolio management process is designed this way.

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How often are accounts/portfolios traded?

There is no hard rule. For accounts utilizing mutual funds, we usually have one major rebalancing each year, usually toward the end of the year. During the rest of the year we may make changes to the portfolio based on market circumstances. For example, we may sell all or part of a fund to take a tax loss. This helps us better tax-manage a client portfolio. We may also adjust to a changing investment environment and periodically add or delete funds for various reasons.

For stock accounts there are changes throughout the year. These changes are predicated upon company news, market conditions, industry trends, among other reasons.

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What kind of holdings will I see in my portfolio?

It depends on the portfolio in which you are invested. The asset allocation blend may combine individual stocks, individual bonds of various maturities, real estate investment trusts (REITs), master limited partnerships (MLPs), exchange traded funds (ETFs), closed-end funds, and open-end mutual funds that are consistent with your investment objectives and risk tolerance.

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What types of accounts do you manage?

We manage all types of individual and institutional accounts including individual and joint brokerage accounts, SEP-IRAs, Roth IRAs, Rollover IRAs, trust accounts, custodial accounts, 401(k) plans and more.

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Do you have an account minimum?

Yes, our standard account minimum is $500,000. The account minimum can be met by a single, or combination of accounts, that we can manage for you on a day-to-day basis. Unless you are self-employed, your employer sponsored plan (such as a 401k) does not count towards the account minimum.

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Does NewFocus Financial Group act as a custodian?

No. Our clients’ accounts are held at a custodial firm (TD Ameritrade Institutional) and NewFocus Financial is listed as the investment advisor on the account authorized to place trades, deduct management fees, and receive duplicate confirmations and statements. All investment related checks are made payable directly to TD Ameritrade Institutional.

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How do you use Limited Power of Attorney and Trade Authorization on my account?

Limited Power of Attorney and Trade Authorization grants NewFocus Financial discretionary authority to buy or sell securities on your behalf. This does not mean that NewFocus Financial has custody. In other words, we do not have possession of our clients’ funds. Custody is maintained by TD Ameritrade and accounts are registered in your name, trust name, etc. The NewFocus Financial Agreement also authorizes us to bill all investment management fees directly to your account.

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Does NewFocus Financial have the ability to withdraw assets from my account?

No. No one has the authority or ability to withdraw any of your assets without your express written consent. Accounts are registered in your name and you maintain direct ownership at all times.

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What are the annual portfolio management fees?

Annual account management fees depend on the size of the account(s) we manage, the services you need and the complexity of your situation. Some people need comprehensive financial planning that addresses issues such as stock option planning and estate planning. Others may only need help managing an investment account. During our initial meeting we will review your situation and then provide you with a clear estimate of the costs. There is no charge for the initial meeting.

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Do I pay commissions or trading costs in addition to the management fees?

Yes. TD Ameritrade charges $7.95 per stock and ETF transaction. However, TD Ameritrade offers over one hundred commission free ETFs so trading costs are minimal. All mutual funds that are purchased are either no load or load waived. Our clients get 60 days of free trading at TD when the account is set up.

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Are the management fees paid directly from the account?

Yes. Management fees are deducted directly from the account at the end of each quarter. At the end of each quarter you will be able to see the management fees that were deducted from your account on your monthly statement.

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How long will it take to set up my account and transfer assets from an existing account?

Once your new account is established (paperwork returned) and in good order, the average turnaround time is 2 to 4 weeks from the date your account custodian receives the transfer request. If you already have an account with one of our custodians (TD Ameritrade or Fidelity), it often takes less than a week.

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Will I be able to track my account(s) online?

Yes. We offer a convenient online system that allows clients to privately and securely view their account(s) online.

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Can I self-direct some of my own trades in the account?

NewFocus Financial discourages sharing management responsibilities with clients. We recommend that you establish a separate account at a discount broker if you wish to direct your own trades.

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How often are clients updated on their accounts?

You will receive a monthly statement from TD Ameritrade or Fidelity which will list your securities and the associated current values at month end. As security trades are executed, you will also receive confirmation statements with details of each buy or sell.

On a quarterly basis we will provide you with a quarterly appraisal report for your account(s), which includes an asset allocation detail for your account. We will also send you our newsletter with market and portfolio commentary. These regular updates are meant to keep you updated on our thinking, investment strategy and changes to your portfolio.

We report account performance to you at least annually, if not more frequently.

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At what point should someone consider working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™?

You may want to seek help from a CFP® professional if:

  • You have financial questions that you don’t know the answers to, or you need expertise you don’t possess in certain areas of your finances
  • You don’t feel you have the time, patience, financial know-how, or you simply want to delegate the financial advisory process so that you can pursue other goals
  • You have an immediate need or unexpected life event such as an inheritance or retirement
  • You want to interact with a professional regarding your financial future
  • You feel that you need help coordinating and managing the complex and mutual relationship between investments taxes, retirement planning, insurance and estate planning decisions.

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What are some of the topics a financial plan can cover?

Financial planning is a multi-step process that will provide you with an in-depth review and analysis of your current situation and a plan for how to strategically manage your finances to achieve your financial goals for the future. A comprehensive financial plan can address the following areas:

  • Cash flow management
  • Retirement planning, including accumulation and distribution strategies
  • Employee stock option planning
  • Education funding
  • Risk management/asset protection, including analysis of insurance coverage
  • Investment management and asset allocation (including 401k) analysis
  • Tax planning
  • Wealth transfer and estate planning, including charitable gift planning

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Can you provide advice on how I should invest my 401(k) as part of the financial planning process?

Yes. We are more than happy to provide you with advice on your company retirement plans as part of the financial planning process and do not charge an extra fee for such advice.

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What are the fees for financial planning and how long does it take to complete the process?

If you would like a written comprehensive financial plan there is usually an upfront financial planning fee which can range from $1,500 to $2,500. The fee is determined by a number of factors which includes the size of the account you place at our firm (fee waived for account over $1,000,000) and the scope on the scope and complexity of your financial plan. We can inform you of the exact fee during our initial consultation. A comprehensive plan generally takes 45-90 days to complete and typically includes 3-6 meetings.

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Are there annual planning fees in addition to the annual management fees?

Not usually. One of the main reasons why we prefer to manage an account for you is to be able to help you with your ongoing money management and financial planning issues without having to bill you each time we talk. In most cases, the fees charged to the account we manage cover the ongoing costs of managing the account as well as the ongoing financial planning fees.

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What if I don't need a financial plan, will you still manage my account?

Yes. Some individuals feel they do not require a printed comprehensive financial plan. We will still provide you with investment management services and we are always available to discuss any financial planning issues that you encounter. If you do not want or need a comprehensive plan there will not be an upfront planning fee. However, we will need to schedule an in-depth interview to determine your goals and risk tolerance before recommending a specific portfolio.

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Can I become a client if I do not have a managed account with your firm?

Our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners typically work with individuals who have a minimum of $500,000 in assets for investment. If you do not meet the account minimum — but you are looking for a fee only comprehensive financial plan — we may be able to refer you to another CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.

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What type of information or documents do I need to provide for financial planning?

Typically we collect a combination of qualitative and quantitative information. We explore your goals, fears, hopes, attitudes, expectations and also collect information about your current investments, income, savings, expenses, debt, insurance, and the like. The more comprehensive and accurate the information you provide, the better the quality advice can be given. We will provide you with a full list of documents prior to your meeting or click here to access a copy of our pre-appointment document checklist.

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How often do you meet with your clients after the initial financial planning or investment management process has been implemented?

We meet with our clients as often as necessary. During the first year we may meet with you one or two times to review your account, statement and investment reports. After that, we typically meet with our clients at least annually to review the portfolio.

For our financial planning clients we typically provide financial plan updates each year. These updates usually include an updated net worth statement, tax projections, cash flow analysis, updated retirement projections and discussion centered around any other planning issues that need to be addressed.

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