Our Process

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We provide holistic financial planning and wealth management services so that we can guide you through every step of your financial plan including “what if” Scenario Testing. In order to fully ensure you’re on the right track, we’re always willing to connect with other professionals on your team from your accountant to your estate planner.

We provide objective unbiased advice to our clients. We are backed by the resources, security and longevity of a large firm, but still maintain the personalized attention our clients know and deserve. We have the freedom to leverage a large and diverse set of solutions for our clients. We are a client-first firm–always.

How our investment approach process is different

Our techniques take time and we don’t mass-produce investment strategies, we craft them around your goals.

  • We set an investment strategy for your portfolio based on your individual goals and unique situation.  Next, we carefully select how we should use each of your accounts to help achieve that objective vs. other firms who may set their strategies at the account level, not leveraging the differences across accounts in taxes.
  • Our approach aims to lower investment taxes and increases the long-term growth of your portfolio. Many investment managers, especially asset management services at big brokerage firms, don’t use the progression outlined above. Yes, it is common to use index funds, although some firms are still trying to time the market and are using expensive actively managed funds or propriety funds of the Broker Dealer they work for, creating a conflict of interest and double dipping. 
The wisdom to know the difference – between what we can control and what we can’t

No one can accurately predict what will happen with the economy, so we focus on factors that can be controlled.

Factors that Can be Controlled: 

  • We look at what you are starting with and build a customized investment strategy to reduce tax implications.
  • We provide private equity recommendations when appropriate and use a combination of low cost index funds to minimize expenses where applicable.
  • We provide customized asset location as advice in order to lower taxes
  • We build well diversified portfolios to reduce much of the risk that results from owning any one company or having an industry risk.
Our investment process and customized approach

We create an investment strategy for your portfolio as a whole.

Each account when looked at individually will likely have a different mix of assets than your other accounts, but when added together we make sure that your overall portfolio closely matches the strategy that we set for your portfolio as a whole.

Eventually, when your portfolio needs to rebalanced, we do so in a tax sensitive way. We are conscious of how each of your accounts is taxed and our team carefully selects which of your accounts to update so that taxes take a smaller bite out of your investment returns.

  • We select the funds that will be best for you to hold in your individual retirement accounts (e.g., Traditional IRA and Rollover IRA).
  • We select the funds that will be best for you to hold in your tax-free retirement accounts (e.g., Roth IRA).
  • We select the funds that will be best for you to hold in your non-retirement accounts (e.g., individual brokerage, joint accounts, and trust accounts).
  • For employer retirement accounts (ex., 401(k), 403(b) or 401(a) plan) we pick the best funds from the options available to you. Employer retirement accounts often have excellent funds in some asset categories and sub-standard funds in other asset categories.

Factors when evaluating the investment

I am hearing a lot about ESG investing – what is this?

ESG investing is an umbrella term that refers to any investing that takes into account environmental, social and governance factors when evaluating the investment. Typically these factors are integrated into the investment process and fund managers will note how much attention they pay to ESG factors in their marketing materials.

Due to evolving investor expectations, many managers now include some integration of ESG factors in their investment processes; according to their degree of importance, the manager may have a dedicated ESG team or even brand their fund as a “sustainable” fund or an “ESG” fund.

ESG investing also includes specialist funds such as “Catholic values” funds and Impact funds, which either measure the impact of the investments in ESG terms, or deliberately target a positive impact. Some funds only target specific aspects of ESG factors – e.g. only environmental factors – such as a climate change fund, or a renewable energy fund.

Does all ESG investing involve Exclusions?

Not necessarily. While some ESG-style investing will exclude certain stocks – common exclusions are Tar-Sand Extraction companies, as well as Thermal Coal producers – most fund managers will engage with companies on ESG matters (e.g. board composition, executive compensation, the pace of reduction of carbon emissions) and seek to effect change while still holding the stock instead of divesting it.

Does ESG investing involve Sacrificing A Return?

It used to be the case that ESG investing was perceived as involving some return sacrifice, but this theory is now being increasingly debunked. Many managers make the case that paying attention to ESG risk factors enable them to focus on the sustainability of a company’s business model – as ESG risks are only likely to grow in the years ahead. As sustainable companies are generally expected to be successful companies (after all, who would invest in an “unsustainable” business model?), paying attention to ESG risks is expected to lead to solid investment returns.

It is important to note that when such funds exclude sectors such as fossil fuels, they can be expected to diverge more from a mainstream index in terms of performance and should be measured against a more comparable (e.g. fossil fuel free) index. Another solution is “best-in-class” indexing where the fund chooses the highest ESG-rated stocks in each sector and apply an identical sector weighting to the traditional index. While this will not exclude sectors such as energy, it will increase the ESG attractiveness while having a minimal tracking error to a traditional index.

What if I only care about one aspect of ESG, Say, Climate Change? I am not concerned about Social and Governance Issues. What are my options?

There are many funds with specialist focuses, e.g., climate change funds or water conservation funds. These do not necessarily emphasize other ESG factors such as social or governance factors. There tend to be fewer funds solely focused on the “S” and the “G” factors.

My organization and or family has a very specific mission and set of preferences. What can we do to express/honor these in our investment portfolio

In this case, we can show you a range of funds that might be likely to align with your mission and likely exclusions (e.g., tobacco stocks); or, if the account would be of sufficient size, we can work with a manager to tailor a solution that covers your specific preferences, which would then be measured against a customized benchmark.

What if I (or some of my stakeholders) want to make a positive impact with my investing?

There are a range of funds specifically designed as impact funds, and the definition of impact varies between measurable positive impact through, say, an investment in a specific area or community, or a general focus on stocks that create an impact – e.g., financial institutions that focus on micro-lending. There are public market and private market impact funds that we can look to, and the tools available to measure impact are currently improving. All of these funds are focused on the double bottom line of creating impact and generating a return.

Are any of my funds ESG funds?

When recommending funds, we have tools available that shows the level of ESG integration as well as the level of shareholder engagement undertaken and any impact. As noted above, most funds are integrating ESG risk factors already as a standard aspect of their investment. We can examine funds you might already own and provide the due diligence processes and assess the level of ESG integration on existing holdings in your portfolio.

While most funds integrate ESG considerations to some degree, there is a smaller subset of the investment universe that explicitly state an ESG mandate in their prospectus. These are known as “sustainable strategies” and seek to provide a material social return in addition to financial return.

What if I don’t want to have any ESG funds in my portfolio?

As noted above ESG risk factors are increasingly being viewed just like any risk factors that would affect an investment. Integrating them into the investment process is just good risk management. All funds are likely to integrate them to some degree, and, as noted above, it is not likely to negatively affect their returns. We can certainly avoid any dedicated “sustainable” funds or any sector-specific funds. If we perceive that a manager is changing their style to integrate more ESG analysis to the point that we believe it is no longer suitable for your mandate, we can recommend a change.

What is the “Green Washing” that I keep hearing about?

The flow of funds into ESG and sustainable funds this year has been considerable, with estimates that, for the first half of the year, ESG funds had more than $39 billion of net inflows compared to $51.1 billion for all of 2020. Active managers have spotted this trend and some are repurposing their funds as “ESG” or “sustainable” in order to attract assets. For some, this is a genuine reflection of their process of ESG factor integration or even a pivot towards more of a specialist focus on sustainable companies. For others, it is an exaggeration of their ESG credentials; this is what is referred to as “greenwashing.”

Can we include sustainable strategies for retirement plans?

Currently, the Department of Labor (DOL) rules state that plan fiduciaries should select investments and investment courses of action based solely on consideration of “pecuniary” (financial) factors. While this rule has not changed, the DOL has said earlier this year that it will temporarily forgo enforcement of this rule to re-evaluate and possibly review or withdraw them.

ESG-integrated funds are currently acceptable, as they are viewed as not sacrificing financial returns. However, Moneta will not provide sustainable strategies on the 3(38) or 3(21) list until the DOL officially changes their final ruling that sustainable strategies qualify for the fiduciary standard.