Broker Check


What is a fiduciary and why should I care?

A fiduciary is an independent financial advisor held to a Fiduciary Standard who occupies a special trust and confidence when working with a client. As a fiduciary, the financial advisor is required to act with undivided loyalty to the client. This includes disclosure of how the financial advisor is to be compensated and any corresponding conflicts of interest. A fiduciary is simply someone who represents your interests, even above their own interests. You can see why this is important when you must grant an advisor limited discretion to act on your behalf. You want to be certain that investment decisions made for you are not only suitable for you, but are truly in your first and best interest. 

Aren't all advisors fiduciaries?

Fiduciary advisors make up less than 10% of the financial services industry. This means that 90% of financial advisors do not have a legal duty to put your interests first, even above their own interests. Most investors are shocked to learn this. Cerulli Associates, a Boston firm that studies the financial industry, recently calculated that approximately 250,000 people throughout the U.S. call themselves financial advisors (there is no legal standard for calling yourself a "financial advisor"). Of those, 232,000 are salespeople who work for their firm, not you as the client. Only 23,000 are registered investment advisors (also known as fiduciary advisors). Sales representatives selling insurance, mutual funds or other financial products are most likely not fiduciaries. Registered Investment Advisors, like Stephenson & Company, are fiduciaries.

What is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™? What is a Chartered Financial Analyst®?  

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners receive training and certification from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, a professional regulatory organization. A Certified Financial Planner (CFP™) is a formal recognition of expertise in the areas of financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning, and retirement. The designation is awarded to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board's initial exams then continue ongoing annual education to sustain their skills and certification. All the advisors at Stephenson & Company have obtained their CFP™ certificate.

A Chartered Financial Analyst® is a globally recognized professional designation given by the CFA® institute that measures and certifies the competence and integrity of financial analysts. Candidates are required to pass three levels of exams covering areas, such as accounting, economics, ethics, money management, and security analysis. The CFA® Charter is one of the most respected designations in finance and is widely considered to be the gold standard in the field of investment analysis.

Do you provide a free consultation?

Yes.  We find it important to have an introductory meeting to see if we are a proper fit for the client.

What can I expect from my first meeting with Stephenson & Company?

During the first meeting, we want to learn about you. Our financial advisors will listen to understand your financial goals and objectives. From there, we will share our philosophies and investment processes for which we think will benefit you the most.  It is important for us to work diligently to help build your financial profile to its full capability. We ask to see if everything considered seems to be the right fit, as maintaining long-term relationships with our clients is very important. 

What’s your investment philosophy?

Our investment philosophy is to be patient with the market.  As the market fluctuates, investors tend to withdraw their money prematurely. We concentrate on achieving growth through the compounding of consistent returns over time. Staying content with investments and letting them mature over time is important when we allocate a client’s assets.

If I have morals that I want to invest my money in, can Stephenson & Company fulfill my needs?

Yes, allocating funds to companies that may follow certain values and morals, is a trait we like to pride ourselves on. Constructing a portfolio of investments that follow certain beliefs is our pleasure.

How are you compensated for your services?

Stephenson & Company is a fee-only financial advisor and is compensated solely by the client.  To minimize conflicts of interest, the firm and our employees do not receive commissions under any circumstances.  Our only compensation comes from financial planning and/or management fees paid by our clients.  These fees are based on assets under management and are charged on a quarterly basis.

Do you have a typical client?

In general, we do not require a minimum dollar amount to open and maintain an advisory account and every client we have is different. However, the majority are individuals with $750,000- $1 million of investable assets to help ensure their retirement and life goals.

Do I have to be local to work with you?

Our clients are located all across the country. Technology enables us to be able to interact with our clients in numerous ways.  We currently have offices in Southern California, both in San Clemente and Irvine.