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Frequently Asked Questions

If you don't see your question addressed here, or you have other thoughts or concerns, please contact us.

Why should Personal Capital Advisors manage my money?

Most do-it-yourself investors make mistakes that cost them a lot of money over time. And many who call themselves “advisors” are actually conflicted brokers incentivized to sell you high-fee products. Some have good intentions, but still use mutual funds inefficiently.

As the modern way to manage your net worth, Personal Capital combines award-winning technology and financial tools with experienced people to create the smart, easy way to transform your financial future. Our advisors are fiduciaries with decades of combined experience managing money for high-net-worth and institutional clients, and they possess a strong desire to drive change and improve the industry.

Personal Capital is the smart way to get a real-time grasp of your finances. Independent and set up to avoid conflicts of interest, we've developed a simple way to invest better that delivers maximum diversification, a smart index approach, low fees, tax management, disciplined rebalancing and full transparency.

What is your investment philosophy?

We believe in the power of technology to change the financial industry, making it more accessible, affordable and honest.

We believe in the power of people to change the nature of investment advice, making it more transparent, objective and personal.

We believe you should have a sound investment strategy, and that it should fit your situation and your goals.

We believe lower risk for the same amount of expected return is better. That’s why we attempt to properly utilize all available global liquid asset classes, a strategy employed by sophisticated institutions for years.

Within US equities, our Tactical Weighting approach improves on traditional indexing by maintaining more evenly weighted exposure to every sector and style. In hypothetical back tests, this methodology outperformed the S&P 500 by over 1.5% annually, and did so with lower volatility. Disclosures

Active stock picking and market timing hurt many more people than they help, so we are not searching for the next home run or jumping in and out of markets.

Fees and taxes matter, so we attempt to minimize both.

Who makes investment decisions and what role does my Advisor play?

All assets are managed by our Investment Committee, with support from our research staff. Your Advisor ensures your money is managed in sync with your life and stated goals. Your Advisor is also responsible for communicating all aspects of our service to you in the method and frequency you desire.

What are your fees?

We have one simple fee based on a percentage of assets managed. Wealth management, trade costs and custody are included – you do not pay trade commissions. We bill monthly, in arrears, and routinely help clients with financial planning and 401(k) allocations at no charge. Our fee schedule is as follows:

First $1 million:0.89%

For clients who invest $1 million or more:

First $3 million:0.79%
Next $2 million:0.69%
Next $5 million:0.59%
Over $10 million:0.49%
How do I get started?

Just follow these 4 simple steps:

  1. Answer intake questions so we can evaluate your financial situation.
  2. Your Advisor will take a look at any current investments and work with our Investment Team to develop your personal financial strategy.
  3. If you decide we can help, we'll get accounts opened in your name at Pershing, a third-party custodian. These will be funded with cash or transfer securities.
  4. We implement your new strategy. We’ll also monitor and rebalance your portfolio, and work hard to minimize your tax bill.
How will you customize my investment strategy?

Customization begins by learning about your entire financial situation and goals. From there, we'll determine how much growth you need to reach those goals. In designing your strategy, we make sure to account for any unique circumstances you may have, such as financing a college education or purchasing a home. In addition, we factor in any outside exposures to a specific company or industry. Once we're clear on every facet of your financial life, we design a portfolio that reflects your risk and return profile.

How do you define success?

Every client's financial goals are different, so success in reaching those goals will look different too. For most people, the primary focus is building or maintaining wealth for income in retirement. Some clients want aggressive growth; others just need to keep up with inflation. Whatever the case may be, it translates into building a portfolio that minimizes risk for the appropriate level of expected return. We also work hard to optimize clients' tax burden because after-tax return is all that matters. But at the end of the day, it's all about helping every client understand, manage and grow their net worth. Every time we do that is a success.

How can you help optimize my taxes?

There are several ways we work to optimize your tax bill:

  1. Avoiding mutual funds - they are extremely tax-inefficient.
  2. Asset location. For individuals with both taxable accounts and retirement accounts, this means placing the right investments in the right accounts. High-yielding stocks and fixed income generally go into tax-deferred or exempt accounts. REITs pay nonqualified dividends and should also be owned in retirement accounts.
  3. Tax-loss harvesting. Because we use individual securities, we can realize losses to offset gains or provide a deduction.
What types of investments will I own in my account?

For US equities, we buy a well-diversified sample of at least 70 individual stocks to provide the advantages of our Tactical Weighting approach and for tax optimization. For fixed income and alternatives, we use a combination of low-cost exchange traded funds (ETFs). This combination allows for the highest degree of diversification and the lowest fund costs.

Who holds my money?

Pershing Advisor Solutions, a Bank of New York Mellon Company. We selected Pershing because of their strength and willingness to use technology in ways that help our clients. Pershing is one of the largest US custodians, with over a trillion dollars in global client assets. Personal Capital never directly takes custody of client assets, and only you have access to your money.

How quickly can I get access to my money if I need it?

We only purchase highly liquid securities, meaning cash can be available to you within a normal 1 to 3-day settlement period.

Where can I see my money?

You can see all your accounts, all in one place, anytime, through Pershing’s online platform or your Personal Capital dashboard via web, tablet or phone. Additionally, both Pershing and Personal Capital provide periodic electronic statements.