It’s been just over a year since our team opened the doors to Sound View Wealth Advisors. In this article, we wanted to reflect on the last year and share what the experience has been like for our team and the clients that trust us to manage their life’s work. As part of this, we wanted to shed light on the surprises and challenges that have been a part of the journey.
The Surprises: more flexibility than we were expecting
The driving force behind our move to the independent space was the freedom to serve, and we detailed this philosophy in the January 2019 issue of The Skinnie (pages 8 to 10). You can revisit the Skinnie Article for our thoughts, but in short, we made this decision because the independent advisory model allows us to provide truly unbiased advice as a fiduciary – without the conflicts of interest that are present at larger firms.
This mindset comes down to flexibility, both in terms of how we serve our clients and how we manage our business on a day-to-day basis. It has come as a surprise to our team just how much flexibility we have today, and we’ve seen this impact our work in four critical areas.
- Choosing Fund Managers
At most large brokerage houses, the firm determines which funds and investment products are available for their advisors. That was certainly our experience, and it can be frustrating knowing that an investable universe exists “beyond the walls” of the institution. As an independent advisory firm, we can now use nearly any fund manager in the world when building client portfolios.
- Utilizing Alternative Investments
The clients that we serve have complex financial lives. This means that a conventional blend of stocks, bonds, and cash won’t always be the right fit. Like with fund managers, the flood gates are now open in terms of the asset classes and market exposure we can provide to our clients.
- Access To Research and Market Data
There is a massive amount of data and research available in today’s financial markets. A key responsibility for any wealth manager is to distill this information down into actionable insights. Like with asset classes and fund managers, the types of research and market data we have access to is much greater than what we were expecting and, most importantly, we can now share these diverse viewpoints with our clients.
- Access To Better Technology to Deliver Robust Plans and Risk Analytics
Finally, we have much more flexibility in terms of the technology that is provided to our clients. We are able to customize a technology platform. We tailored it to meet their complex financial planning needs. In addition, we have risk analytic software that allows us to stress test portfolios.
The Challenges: the administrative side of running a business
With much greater flexibility, also comes more choices and many decisions that need to be made. For example, we now need to determine the best health care plan for our employees, what types of computers we should be running, and what kind of security systems we need in place to protect data.
All of these were not required when working with a large firm, but these decisions also spur an entrepreneurial spirit that has helped us better connect with the business owners we support.
We chose the name Sound View and used two sails within our logo because it represents our clients and us working together to achieve a common goal. One year after going independent, I am more confident than ever that this philosophy captures the work we are doing on behalf of our clients.
Today, as I look back on the last year, I am 100% convinced that this move was the best path for our clients. And in this business, I fundamentally believe that whatever is best for clients is also best for the firm.
If you’d like to learn more about the independent wealth management model or the work we are doing on behalf of our clients, we invite you to connect with our team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kelly Bouchillon, CFP®
Kelly co-founded Sound View Wealth Advisors with the vision of creating a firm that would offer independent financial advice to clients without the biases or bureaucracy found in Wall Street banks. He serves clients by taking a planning-based approach, incorporating decades of experience and in-depth knowledge of trusts and estates.
In 1989, Kelly began his career with Merrill Lynch, where in 1994, he partnered with Emerson Ham to form the Bouchillon, Ham & Dekle Group as a way to better serve clients. This led to a 28-year tenure at Merrill Lynch. Kelly is a Certified Financial Planner™, a designation awarded by the Certified Financial Planning Board of Standards, Inc.
He is also a philanthropist and leader in the community, supporting numerous community organizations, including the Kiwanis Club of Skidaway Island, Savannah Country Day School, Savannah Philharmonic, St. Joseph Candler Foundation, and Telfair Museum. In addition, Kelly has served as committee member for both The Landings Association and The Landings Club. An avid golfer who also enjoys boating and snow skiing, Kelly has four children and lives on Skidaway Island in Savannah, Georgia.
Disclaimer: The information, analysis, and opinions expressed herein are for general and educational purposes only. Nothing contained in this commentary is intended to constitute legal, tax, accounting, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type. All investments carry a certain risk, and there is no assurance that an investment will provide positive performance over any period of time. An investor may experience loss of principal. Investment decisions should always be made based on the investor’s specific financial needs and objectives, goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. The asset classes and/or investment strategies described may not be suitable for all investors and investors should consult with an investment advisor to determine the appropriate investment strategy. Information obtained from third party sources are believed to be reliable but not guaranteed. Sound View Wealth Advisors Group, LLC makes no representation regarding the accuracy or completeness of information provided herein. All opinions and views constitute our judgments as of the date of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice.