Frequently Asked Questions
Please click the questions below to discover the answers.
Q. Why should I trust you?
A. Your RAM advisor has been involved in the financial industry for nearly 30 years without a hint of impropriety. Your investments are safeguarded in custody by a recognized third party. RAM earns compensation from only you which eliminates any potential conflicts of interest. RAM has no access to your funds other than buying and selling investments within your account and deducting monthly fees
Q. How many clients do you service?
A. RAM services 41 investment management clients
Q. What is a fiduciary?
A. A fiduciary is an individual or organization that is charged with the duty of handling your financial affairs in the same way the person or organization would do for him/her or itself. Fiduciaries must act with care, diligence, skill and prudence.
Q. How do I know if you are good at what you do?
A. RAM client retention is outstanding and we make available client referrals. RAM uses quality investments and is able to offer some historical portfolio results. Your advisor’s credential is the most respected in the industry
Q. Where is my money located?
A. All discretionary/investment management clients’ assets are held with Fidelity Investments. Advisory or non-discretionary clients are free to choose their own brokerage relationship.
Q. How do I open an account?
A. RAM will complete all the necessary paperwork to open and fund your account.
Q. What is my role in managing my money?
A. You are the project supervisor. You have the responsibility to detail your financial goals and your risk tolerance so an appropriate portfolio is constructed for you. You must approve an Investment Policy Statement prepared on your behalf. You always maintain the ultimate authority and control of your money.
Q. How much do you get paid?
A. RAM gets paid directly from its clients, never through obscure commissions or 12b-1 fees. Fees are deducted from accounts on a monthly basis or are paid at the time services are satisfactorily delivered. See the Fee Schedule for how much RAM earns.
Q. How much are my total costs?
A. RAM provides a detailed disclosure of your total fees in each report it submits. In general it is RAM’s objective to keep its average investment management clients’ total fees to no more than a total of 1%, all inclusive. We have been successful in doing so.
Q. How often do we meet or how often do I get portfolio updates from you?
A. We meet about 3-4X per year and in each meeting your detailed portfolio analysis is the focus of our conversation. The reports are designed for ease of comprehension vs. passing the weight test.
Q. What kind of investments do you use?
A. We search for highly rated and low cost investments. Exchange traded funds are our preferred investments for stock exposure.
Q. I don’t pay my current advisor anything, why should I pay you?
A. If a salesperson/broker gets paid from the product provider realize that the product provider gets paid by you and in turn remits commissions to brokers through the revenue they earn from you. That means you do in fact pay the broker. You want a broker to disclose to you what your total investment costs are. Those include: Management fees, commissions, annual fund expense ratios and transactions costs. It’s not uncommon for these charges to total at least 2% in many standard broker directed accounts.
Q. Do you sell annuities?
A. RAM has never advised a client to purchase an annuity and we can’t imagine a scenario in which we would. Annuities are insurance products, disguised as tax strategies with high cost investments thrown in. The insurance feature is expensive and offers little coverage, the tax strategy creates more problems than it solves and the investments are usually high cost mutual funds.
Q. What if I’m not happy with your service; does it cost anything to switch?
A. RAM has a $1,750 termination charge if you cancel within the first twelve months. Beyond that time you are free to terminate at any time and the investments we purchase for you typically have no redemption charges.
Q. Do I work with you or someone else?
A. You will work directly with Michael Alexenko, CFA
Q. Have you been charged with any breaches?
Q. How do you determine which investments are best for me?
A. RAM examines your investment goals and risk tolerance prior to investing. Then your portfolio is constructed with an appropriate blend of investments that match your profile. We use many of the same investments in all client accounts with the main variation being in the percentages allocated based on risk tolerance and return requirements.
Q. How do you keep me from taking losses?
A. Investors are not immune from taking losses. We limit your downside risk by focusing on capital preservation for clients with less risk tolerance. That means an investor with a lower risk tolerance will have a portfolio with higher percentages of bonds and cash. Understand that all investments carry risk. Even if you stuff your money into a safe deposit box there is risk.
Q. How do I transfer my accounts to you; it seems complicated?
A. Account transfers are not complicated. We complete an account application and transfer authorization form. Those forms are sent to Fidelity Investments and Fidelity proceeds to activate an account on its system for you and retrieves your funds from their current location(s).
Q. How long does the process of rolling over a 401(k) plan usually take?
A. If the plan sponsor/your employer and administrator are coordinated in their efforts the process should last no longer than ten business days.
Q. What kind of investment taxes do I need to pay?
A. RAM uses highly tax efficient investments which help to limit unplanned capital gains taxes. You will pay income taxes on the dividends and interest earned in your accounts. If you’re transferring an account it is likely that some capital gains taxes will result when we sell investments in order to reconstruct your portfolio. If your account is an individual retirement account (IRA) then no taxes are paid unless you draw funds from the IRA
We are happy to answer all questions. If your question does not appear in this section please contact us with your specific concern.