I want to help you to understand the steps that we take so that our “buy and hold” strategy for long-term investing does not turn into “buy and forget.”
The mission of our firm incorporates a focus on “proven, time-tested investment solutions.” Such solutions for our clients include a proactive approach to research and analysis of the funds that make up our portfolios.
First of all, when I meet together with folks for the first time, I don’t start out right away by making recommendations about what they should invest in. As a Certified Financial Planner®, I focus first of all on assessing their situation and needs and helping them think through the process of retirement planning. I build a financial plan, then buy investments to fit that plan. We approach investing from a long-term perspective and avoid the lure of attempting to “time” the stock market for short-term gains.
We believe that fund managers should be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure they are still the best of the best. So then, how do we go about selecting the funds for our recommended list? Following are some of our ongoing investment practices so that once we recommend a fund or an investment strategy for a person, we don’t just “buy and forget:”
- I subscribe to Morningstar, which is the most well-known mutual fund research firm. This service provides research reports, portfolio trackers and many relevant articles, along with fund analysis and recommendations. Because there are over 2,900 mutual funds, I use this service to screen for the best funds available.
- I consult together with other financial advisors. Through this peer interaction, we are able to compare tools for conducting the best funds analysis as well as share best practices with one another.
- I make use of research available from Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (“Schwab”). (Dickinson Investment Advisors has selected Schwab as primary custodian for our clients’ accounts.)
- I subscribe to research resources through Litman Gregory and Briefing.com.
- I regularly confer with fund managers as part of my own independent personal research. Not long ago, I shared a sample portfolio model of mine with a group of funds analysts and authorized them to evaluate the funds I recommend for the portfolio. Overall, their analysis helped to reinforce the strengths of the asset allocation that I have had in place, and it also gave me several ideas for continuing to make improvements in my funds selection.
- Dave, Tom, and I meet together as an Investment Committee to evaluate the funds on our recommended funds list as well as those that are in our Supervised Portfolios.
We have learned over the years that when selecting funds for our clients, we don’t base our decisions on this year’s performance alone or on the latest headlines or on the fanciest marketing glitz by fund companies. We seek to evaluate each fund according to how it will work within an entire portfolio to accomplish what is best for our clients – to enhance reward and reduce risk.
As a tax preparer, I have the advantage of seeing the investments used by many of the advisors and brokers in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area. I am always comparing what I do with what others do. I believe we compare very well, but I’m not opposed to finding new ideas from others as well.
In summary, I trust that this helps you to better understand our commitment to bringing value to the process of selecting funds for your retirement assets. We would be glad to arrange a meeting with you to meet our whole team and discuss these things together in person.
Committed to your successful retirement,
Ron Dickinson, CFP®, CPA, MPA-Tax
Disclosure: This blog has been independently produced by Dickinson Investment Advisors. Dickinson Investment Advisors is independent of, and has no affiliation with, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. or any of its affiliates (“Schwab”). Schwab is a registered broker-dealer and member SIPC. Schwab has not created, supplied, licensed, or endorsed, or otherwise sanctioned this blog nor has Schwab independently verified any of the information in it. Dickinson Investment Advisors provides you with investment advice, while Schwab maintains custody of your assets in a brokerage account and will effect transactions for your account on our instruction.