Who is PFA and what do you do?
PFA is a Fee-Only, Independent, Investment Adviser registered with the SEC. This means we serve as your Fiduciary, never accept commissions or additional compensation beyond the fees that we charge and are built on a foundation of transparency and loyalty to YOU.
We are a small, Maine-based, team and are 100% independently owned and operated. There are no corporate business partners or broker-dealers influencing our relationships with you. We maintain two offices in Maine, one in Bangor and one in Portland, and have been operating here for over 20 years.
Everything we do at PFA, we do as a team. We are structured in committees and our people specialize in work they are skilled at and love doing. Our investment decisions, financial planning challenges, ongoing operations – and the list goes on – are all tackled and implemented as a team. You will have a central point of contact on our team, but expect to communicate with multiple team members over the course of our relationship as your needs touch on their area of expertise.
In terms of what we do, PFA is pretty simple. We perform two services for clients:
Our Financial Planning is holistic and we manage assets for clients with discretion. The vast majority of our clients work with us on BOTH their Financial Planning and Asset Management needs (which we call Wealth Management), although it is not required.
While we are based in Maine, we serve clients nationally. Most of our clients are individuals and families although we do work with some businesses and non-profit entities.
We welcome an opportunity to get to know you. Feel free to schedule an introductory meeting at no cost HERE.
Are you a fiduciary?
THE SIMPLE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION AT PFA IS: “YES, 100% OF THE TIME.”
For those unfamiliar with the term, operating under a fiduciary standard means PFA, and all of our associates, are bound to act in our client’s best interests and not place our own interests and profit ahead of our client’s. It’s a duty of care, loyalty, transparency and is a foundation of trust.
It probably feels like a straightforward moral obligation that all Financial Advisors should be held to, but unfortunately the world of personal finance is complex. Items that can affect an Advisor’s status as a fiduciary include licensing/registrations, multiple regulatory standards, obligations to code of ethics under a professional designation, etc… Additionally, because advisors can maintain multiple registrations, some advisors can work in a hybrid capacity where they are fiduciaries some of the time, and other times held to less stringent standards of care.
To complicate matters further, there are different terms and fee models for all of this. You may see/hear terms like “Financial Advisor,” “Fee-Based Advisor,” or “Fee-Only Advisor.” These terms give you clues about an advisor’s status as a fiduciary and how they make money, but you have to dig further.
For now, understand that PFA is a “Fee-Only” Advisor. This is the ONLY model that commits to a fiduciary capacity 100% of the time. It also means we do not earn additional revenue from the investments we use, or any other source.
How are you compensated?
PFA is a Fee-Only Advisor. This means we are only paid through the fees we charge to our clients, and CANNOT be compensated through ANY other means. No commissions, no revenue sharing from investments, no insurance sales – or anything else you can think of.
It’s important to understand that our Fee-Only model is NOT the same as Fee-Based. A Fee-Based advisor maintains registrations with both the SEC and FINRA, meaning they can charge fees for advice under a Fiduciary standard (SEC) OR sell products/securities for a commission under a Suitability standard (FINRA). A Fee-Only Advisor is the only model that commits to a Fiduciary standard and NO commissions.
Why do we do it this way? Every advisory practice has conflicts of interests, but those related to money and compensation are always the most concerning. Our Fee-Only model minimizes conflicts of interest with clients and gives you comfort that our investment advice is not motivated by compensation you are unaware of. Our fee structure is transparent, independent and aligned with your interests.
What are your fees?
WHAT ARE YOUR FEES?
There are a few ways you can choose to engage with PFA. However, one item we do NOT charge for is the introductory process. If you’d like to schedule a meeting to discuss your goals/needs, get to know each other and understand these fees feel free to do so here: https://calendly.com/craigjoncas/free-intro. We will spend the necessary time to ensure our relationship is mutually beneficial before engaging.
Now, let’s get into our fees. We have three fee schedules based on the services you need:
The vast majority of our clients work with us in a Wealth Management capacity. This is our most holistic service and a good fit if you are looking for a long-term partner to assist in both your financial planning and asset management needs. We charge a tiered percentage fee based on the assets you manage with us:
*We require a $200,000 minimum for this service. If you do not meet this minimum, you may be a good fit for our financial planning services, below.
*For more detail, see our dedicated Wealth Management page here: https://penobscotfa.com/services/wealth-management/.
Financial Planning Only
This service is a good fit if you are a young professional, do not have assets to manage yet or just prefer to manage your own investments. It’s also a way you can choose to get started with us without committing your assets – you can transition to a more holistic relationship down the road! We believe quality Financial Planning should be accessible, so we charge an annual fee based on your income:
*You can choose to pay this fee upfront, or monthly – your preference!
*After the first year, you can cancel anytime.
*For more detail, see our dedicated Financial Planning page here: https://penobscotfa.com/services/financial-planning/.
Asset Management Only
If you have a good handle on your financial health, but need a partner to assist in managing your investments, this service is a good fit. It is also a good fit for our Financial Planning clients who do not meet the Asset Management Minimum, as we waive it for these clients. We charge a tiered percentage fee based on the assets you manage with us:
*We require a $200,000 minimum for this service. If you are engaged in our Financial Planning Only services, we will waive this minimum.
*For more detail, see our dedicated Asset Management page here: https://penobscotfa.com/services/asset-management/.
What we don’t do
PFA does not perform hourly or project-based services. We are holistic advisors and our service/pricing is structured to work with individuals and families who need a partner in improving their overall financial health and/or investment outcomes.
What do I get for the fee?
The specific details of the services you will receive depends on how you choose to engage us, but rest assured that as a client of PFA you will ALWAYS receive the following:
- A dedicated team of qualified professionals working towards your goals
- Proactive communication and advice
- On demand access to our team with timely responses
- Straight talk
Now, let’s take an in depth look at what we provide for each service:
Wealth Management is our most holistic offering, but at the end of the day it’s pretty simple: it just means we are providing BOTH Financial Planning and Asset Management services. There is NO difference in what you get or the services we deliver versus the individual services themselves. So, read on to our Financial Planning and Asset Management sections to learn more about what you will receive….
All of PFA’s Lead Advisors are CFP® professionals. As such, we work with our Financial Planning clients in a holistic fashion. We cover the following six core areas:
- Cash & Debt Management
- Risk Management
- Investment Planning
- Retirement & Financial Goal Planning
- Tax Planning
- Estate Planning
Each of these core areas is a LARGE body of knowledge with many subcategories of work. If you’d like a more detailed list of the services we provide in each area, please see the last page of our Financial Planning Agreement.
In addition to these service areas, you will receive the following benefits and outcomes as a Financial Planning client:
- A fully customized Financial Plan (see a sample HERE)
- A financial planning team consisting of a Lead and Support Advisor
- An execution partner, with step-by-step accountability and hand holding
- Proactive progress monitoring with continuous plan adjustments
- Up to two routine plan reviews each year, with active outreach from our team
- On demand access to your advisory team with NO limits on meetings, communications or time spent
- Routine communication and education on a wide variety of key planning areas at timely points throughout the year
- An ongoing partner dedicated to your financial success
We will begin our work by understanding your financial position and goals, address the items that are “here and now”, and then move on to completing a holistic plan that covers all of the important financial components of achieving your goals. For more information on our approach for getting this done, see our process here.
PFA is an Independent, Fee-Only, Registered Investment Adviser with the SEC. Why is this important?
- Independent: We can utilize the entire universe of investment opportunities to achieve your investment goals and implement strategy.
- Fee-Only: PFA never accepts commissions or kickbacks from investment products we utilize, so we can select investments without conflicts of interest or being incentivized to push certain products.
- SEC Registration: We are always held to a Fiduciary standard when managing your assets.
PFA works as a team and our Investment Committee is tasked with the ongoing management and care of client assets. As an Asset Management client, you will receive the following services and outcomes:
- Detailed analysis of your existing investment portfolio
- Evaluation of your goals, financial position and tolerance for risk
- Specific recommendations for initial investment strategy
- Account setup with management of necessary contribution and distribution plans
- Discretionary management of your assets (buying, selling and rebalancing)
- Proactive management of tax considerations (asset location, gain/loss harvesting, etc..)
- Ability to tailor portfolios with your input (socially responsible, sustainable investing, etc..)
- Up to two routine portfolio reviews each year, with proactive outreach from our team
- On demand access to your advisory team with NO limits on meetings, communications or time spent
- Routine communication from our Investment Committee including weekly market updates and quarterly commentary
- Ongoing performance reporting vs. benchmarks
- Online access including a mobile application
We will begin our work by understanding your financial position and goals, work together to develop an initial strategy and take the reins to implement and manage ongoingly.