Over the past year you may have heard on the news or through discussions with Jim the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a new fiduciary rule. This rule is directed at any IRA or Qualfied Retirement Account that is managed by a financial advisor. As the rule progressed through its development we felt based on our business model, the fees that we charge, and how we approach financial planning it would hardly effect our operations. Fortunately for us we were correct in that aspect, however there has been some compliance changes at Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., (a Registered Investment Adviser firm we manage investment accounts through) that modify how advisory, reporting, statement, platform, custody, and trading fees are applied to client accounts.
As a result of the regulatory and market changes occurring, Cambridge is modifying the account fee structure for managed retirement accounts in an effort to provide more transparency regarding account fees. To summarize the changes and briefly as possible:
- Currently, fees are charged separately for separate items. For example, you pay an advisory fee (from which our compensation as well as platform fees to Cambridge are paid). Additionally, you pay a $35 yearly custodian fee to Pershing for each IRA, a paper statement fee if you are not enrolled in electronic statements, and trading fees for purchases, sales, and exchanges of mutual funds (these trading fees range from $10-$28 each depending on what asses it being cleared) . While we always have taken a proactive approach to minimize variable fees (for example trading often in an account) as well as disclosing annual or monthly fees, this approach does not satisfy the DOL’s mandate that there is not any variability in fees and that all fees must be clearly disclosed.
- In the near future, fees will be disclosed in two separate components; a Financial Advisor Fee and a Program Fee (however they will be deducted from your account as a single fee). The Financial Advisor Fee is exactly what it sounds like and is no longer jumbled with other Cambridge platform fees. The program fee however combines all of the other fees in order to stay in compliance with the DOL’s mandate. In observance of this Cambridge has created WealthPort® Wrap. This will include the platform, reporting, trading, statements, and custody fees. At the bottom of this letter you will find a schedule of exactly how Cambridge will charge for this Program Fee.
Based on our analysis of the new fee structure as well as our plans to “unbundle” the Cambridge Platform fee from your current advisory fee we have found the vast majority of our clients will see very little fee changes in any direction. With that said, we are elated to know and act on the basis that all trading fees are included in the new Program Fee. As you may know, we have always been very deliberate, careful, and intentional with trading because simply rebalancing an account could cost hundreds of dollars. Travis Raish (the Chartered Financial Analyst we hired to monitor and model our investment portfolios) has always advocated for at minimum annual to semi-annual portfolio rebalances in order to maintain appropriate allocations, however we generally have made smaller adjustments due to the excessive trading costs that would be incurred. Under the new platform fee we will be able to provide you a better investment service (more frequent trading and rebalancing) at a near equal cost to what you are currently paying (and at a far less expensive cost had we always traded more frequently).
In the near future you will be receiving a letter from Cambridge informing you of the fee changes on your account. Those of you who have been in the office and already converted to the new account structure or who have FTJ/TDAmeritrade accounts will not receive this letter. You do not have to act on this letter as the changes will be automatic, however if you have any questions regarding this or would like to schedule an appointment with Jim to further discuss this topic please feel free to contact us at your earliest convenience. Either way, at your next schedule appointment we will be discussing these changes in further detail as well as reviewing your new fee structure.