A Flat-Fee Financial Advisor
$9,600 per year, per client relationship
Summary: Birchwood is a flat-fee financial advisor that assesses a fixed, flat, and completely transparent fee that does not change based on your assets under management.
Don't Buy Your Advisor a House
Exact Same Services
Despite claims to the contrary, the amount of time, effort, and resources that a competent advisor must bring to bear on a client is nearly identical whether a client has a $1,000,000 or $5,000,000 portfolio. It is not an exaggeration to claim that – from the advisor’s standpoint – the only difference between these two clients is the numbers on their account statements. We provide the exact same services as any AUM advisor:
- Comprehensive financial planning
- Investment management
- Tax planning
We can do this because we don't have an expensive office space in a high-rise or a bloated payroll. Every guest goes through our Birchwood Blueprint process, so we can understand their situation fully and share exactly how we can provide quantifiable value.
Why It Matters
Over the past few decades, the financial services industry has attempted to align itself more with clients by reducing conflicts of interest. We’ve seen a reduction in commission-based products and greater public education about who is a true fiduciary and who is not.
All of these are good things. Removing the incentive for brokers and advisors to churn clients accounts and creating greater consumer awareness about who is legally obligated to do what’s in client’s best interest leads to better outcomes for clients in general. But, stubbornly, the largest conflict of interest remains: fees for financial advice being based on assets under management (or AUM).
When firm revenue is derived directly from the amount of assets managed, it becomes exceedingly difficult (or impossible) to recommend a mortgage to be paid off or the rolling of an IRA back into an employer-sponsored 401(k) to prevent RMD’s by using money that is invested with the firm. There are many situations where taking investments out for some other purpose is in the best interest of the client, but not necessarily in the best interest of the firm.
Not only that, this widespread acceptance of assets under management has allowed for massive economies of scale to be inflicted on clients - taking earnings that are rightfully theirs and putting it in the pockets of brokerage firms and investment advisors. It does not cost a firm more to manage a $10,000,000 portfolio versus a $1,000,000 portfolio. If clients are receiving the same services, why should some pay more?
The truth is the majority of consumers who utilize financial advisors don’t know much about the service and what they are buying. They lack the power that an informed consumer should have.
We set out to change this by asking two basic questions:
How would I want to be charged if I was hiring an advisor?
What does an advisor actually do and what is that actually worth?
As a flat-fee financial advisor, Birchwood Capital has built a fee structure around the services we provide, since they do not vary substantially between clients with more or less money. This flat annual fee is based on our costs and reasonable compensation for a professional service provider. We believe this is a more appropriate fee structure and that clients will greatly benefit from it.