1. Why did you become a financial planner?
I have always enjoyed working with numbers as well as the sense of fulfillment that comes from knowing you have helped someone solve a problem. Being a financial planner allows me to do both!
I have worked in finance for most of my career and have seen firsthand the need for providing sound, easy to understand advice in a manner that truly puts the interests of the client first. My goal as a financial planner with Sycamore is to help our clients develop a realistic financial plan, give them the tools needed to achieve their plan, and to provide support along the way when unexpected challenges arise.
2. What did you do before you were a financial planner?
I had a 6-year career in corporate financial operations at Credit Suisse in Research Triangle Park. I provided operations support for Credit Suisse’s fixed income and equity trading teams and was responsible for overseeing billions of dollars of trade settlement daily. This provided me with invaluable experience on how our financial markets work while learning to work in a fast-paced dynamic environment.
In 2012, I began working at Fidelity Investments helping clients with their employer-sponsored financial plans. This role evolved into one that allowed me to provide clients with one-on-one financial guidance over the phone. At Fidelity, I developed a strong foundation in personal finance and a desire to work with clients in-person to help them achieve their financial goals.
3. What are your financial planning credentials, designations, and affiliations?
I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. In addition, I have completed an Executive Certificate in Financial Planning from Duke University. I also hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Management degree from North Carolina State University with areas of focus including finance and marketing.
I am affiliated with the Garrett Planning Network, an international network of hourly, fee-only financial planners. Garrett members believe that professional, objective, and easy-to-access financial advice is something everyone needs.
4. What are your areas of specialty?
I provide comprehensive financial planning services with particular expertise in retirement planning, investment counseling, and financial planning issues facing young adults.
5. Please describe your most common engagement / service provided? And the type of client or client situation you target?
At Sycamore we clients from all walks of life, regardless of asset size, net worth, or income. Comprehensive, long-term client relationships are our favorites because it provides clients with the most in-depth support and analysis to help them achieve their goals. Also, these relationships give us the best chance to get to know our clients, their values, and their dreams. But we also recognize that based on our clients’ preferences or situations, a one-time engagement, quick check-up, or just getting a couple questions answered may work better. We’re fine with both of these approaches, and we are happy to work with clients in whatever way best suits their needs.
6. Are you a registered representative of any broker/dealer?
7. Are you a licensed insurance agent with any company or agency?
8. Are you a registered investment advisor?
Yes. Sycamore Financial Planning is a registered investment advisor with the state of North Carolina, and I am an investment advisor representative for Sycamore.
9. Are you a fiduciary?
Yes, Sycamore Financial Planning is a fiduciary. In fact, all registered investment advisors are fiduciaries, and they are required to act in good faith and in their clients’ best interests at all times and to provide written disclosures of any conflicts that would make prevent them from serving clients impartially and independently.
In addition, in Sycamore’s registration disclosure documents with the State of North Carolina, the firm has agreed not to accept referral fees or other compensation for the sale of a commissioned financial product.
10. How are you compensated?
Yes, fees for the initial financial planning engagement are based on an estimate of the actual time to be spent meeting with you, researching and analyzing your current situation, and making specific recommendations. After the initial engagement, you can continue on an as-needed hourly basis or select an annual fee that covers your desired services for ongoing planning and/or investment management. Annual flat fees are quoted based on each client’s situation and the services to be provided.
C. Fee-based (fee & commissions):
11. Do you have minimums for assets, account size, annual fees paid, etc? And what is your typical fee or charge for an initial engagement?
Sycamore does not require its clients to have a minimum amount of assets, account size, net worth, or income.
Typically, we are able to provide a flat-fee quote for the initial engagement at the conclusion of the initial consultation. With the flat-fee quote, as long as we stay within the original scope of your project, you won’t be charged any incremental hourly fees. You are also free to call and ask questions on the issues addressed in the engagement for up to 30 days after the presentation of recommendations at no additional cost.
All services are billed at an hourly rate of $320. Because of the high variability in clients’ needs, there is no typical fee. In general, our initial engagements with clients range from two to twenty billable hours. A deposit and signed agreement is needed to start the engagement, and the remainder is due at the presentation of recommendations.
12. Do you provide a written agreement detailing the total amount of compensation and services that will be provided in advance of an engagement?
Yes. Sycamore’s standard client agreement will detail the scope of the project including the type of planning services to be provided and the project fee. Once we have the initial consultation, we’ll provide the fee quote, show the client how we came up with the amount, and work with them if we need to adjust the project based on their budget. Sycamore’s goal is to keep its clients’ overall investing costs as low as possible while enabling them to make smarter financial decisions, sleep well at night, avoid pitfalls, and achieve their goals.
13. Do you provide a thorough written analysis of one’s financial situation and recommendations?
Yes. Sycamore provides a written analysis and recommendations for its clients’ specific situations. All of our engagements include at a minimum a written summary report. For the full financial plan or investment analysis, clients receive in addition a written detailed analysis including charts, projections, and portfolio reports as appropriate.
14. Do you offer assistance implementing the plan? Please elaborate.
Client’s needs and preferences on this vary widely. So, we price this component separately so they’re not paying for it if they don’t plan to use it. Normally our engagements include an action list for implementation, options for how to accomplish the action items, and the ability to call and ask questions on the recommendations for up to 30 days at no additional charge.
15. Will you provide a second opinion or one-time review?
Yes. We are happy to provide a second opinion or a one-time review of your investment portfolio or other financial products / circumstances. Just let us know how we can help!