Choosing a Financial Professional

Frequently Asked Questions

Regarding ICG next & Our Services

Critical Questions

1. Describe to me in detail, concrete terms, the wealth management discipline that you will employ in evaluating, designing, monitoring and managing a portfolio on my behalf should we choose to work with your team.

Wealth Management (portfolio evaluation, design, adoption & maintenance): A cornerstone of our the wealth management discipline employed at our organization is understanding the “desired outcomes” that resonate with you and support the agreed upon portfolio / financial objectives (i.e. retirement, general wealth management, etc.).

Common “desired outcomes” include but are not limited to the following:

• Enhancing the income / yield (dividend and interest) associated with the portfolio.
• Enhancing the total, real (after inflation), risk adjusted return associated with the portfolio.
• Reducing the risk associated with the portfolio, as mathematically measured by beta.
• Reducing the volatility associated with the portfolio, as mathematically measured by standard deviation.
• Enhancing the upside "capture" (gain) associated with the portfolio.
• Minimizing the downside "capture" (loss) associated with the portfolio.
• Ensuring a prudent asset allocation and / or risk - reward profile (risk adjusted).

Another cornerstone associated with the wealth management discipline employed at our organization is providing insight to our clients as it pertains to the most common risks that undermine the prudent & thoughtful management of wealth.

Common risks include but are not limited to the following:

• The adoption of an inappropriate asset allocation given the short, intermediate and long-term financial objectives of the portfolio.
• A risk reward profile that is not reflective of one’s risk tolerance, appetite for volatility or aligned with one’s required rate of return and / or feelings associated with the management of one’s wealth.
• The adoption and maintaining of an imprudent “inter relationship” between the components of one’s portfolio.
• Utilizing ill-chosen investment vehicles when gaining exposure to a given asset class, investment style and / or investment theme.
• Failing to select competitively superior investment solutions.
• The absence of a well-defined, disciplined, methodic and sustainable investment philosophy.
• Allowing duplication rather than ensuring diversification.

Arrange a complementary visit with one of our professionals to learn more about how our approach to wealth management.

2. Describe to me in detail, the members of your team and the roles and the responsibilities of each member.

ICG next consists of (11) financial professionals, (4) administrative staff, an investment strategist, a client concierge and an Operations Manager, as well as a summer internship program.

Each client benefits from a dedicated administrative staff person serving as liaison between the affiliated financial professionals and the client served;

The dedicated administrative staff person (s) being responsible for addressing all administrative needs of and / or requests of the client served by the affiliated financial professionals;

Dedicated financial professionals being responsible, along with the organization’s investment committee and / or other professionals (i.e. CPA), for addressing all strategic financial planning and wealth management objectives associated with the client served.

3. Describe to me in detail, the safeguards/succession plan that you have "put in place" to ensure that in the event a tragedy were to occur, the level of service and quality of advice that I have come to both expect and enjoy will continue for my spouse and / or heirs.

ICG next maintains a written, formal succession plan between its Managing Partners, advisors and broker dealer (LPL Financial).

The succession ensures the organizational capacity to, in turn, ensure that in the event a tragedy occurred (the passing, disability etc. of an advisor / staff person, etc.), the level of service and quality of advice that clients have come to expect, enjoy and require so as to achieve objectives continues seamlessly;

A cornerstone of our succession plan is ICG next maintaining an advisor / administrative assistant to client ratio of 125 to 1 (the industry average exceeds 400 to 1). Our advisor / administrative assistant to client ratio helps ensure timely and prudent service and advice.

4. Describe to me in detail, the "client service policy" that will govern our relationship with your team.
The client service policy that governs the client / advisor relationship at ICG next includes but is not limited to the following:

• Formal review meetings – annually (minimum). We prefer 2 formal review meetings per year & a conference call to “check in” so to speak;

• A dedicated administrative staff person serving as liaison between the affiliated financial professionals and the client served;

• Dedicated administrative staff person (s) being responsible for addressing all administrative needs of and / or requests of the client served by the affiliated financial professionals;

• Dedicated financial professionals being responsible, along with the organization’s investment committee and / or other professionals (i.e. CPA), for addressing all strategic financial planning and wealth management objectives associated with the client served;

• Quarterly Newsletters;

• Monthly Newsletters;

• Holiday Cards;

• Birthday Cards;

• Phone Calls – returned within 24 hours;

• Emails – answered within 48 hours;

• Summary Letters – provided within seven (7) days following the conclusion of each formal review meeting and or telephone conference;

• Formal Investment Committee Review – Monthly;

• Notary services;

• Secure website;

• Secure message center & e signature; and

• Video conferencing (Skype / Face Time / Hangout).

5. Describe to me your educational background.

Members associated with ICG next have completed their collegiate / university studies (undergraduate & graduate) securing degrees in Economics, Finance, Accounting, Business Management & Business.

6. Describe to me your professional credentials (i.e. CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, CIMA®, etc.)

The financial professionals affiliated with ICG next demonstrate extensive professional credentials such as Certified Financial Planner®, Certified Investment Management Analyst®, Chartered Financial Consultant®, Certified Life Underwriter®, Certified Retirement Planning Counselor® and Retirement Income Certified Professional®, Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst®, Current Income Specialist®, and Certified Long Term Care®.

7. Describe to me your professional titles (President, Vice President, etc.) and what benefits inure to me and my wife as a result of your title.

ICG next, purposely, avoids such titles (preferring professional credentials) as experience and published industry studies indicate little to no value inuring to a client as a result of such titles.

8. Describe to me your professional licenses (Series 7, Life & Health, etc.

All financial professionals (and several staff members) affiliated with ICG next maintain all licenses in good standing as required as per the DOL, FINRA, SEC, etc.

9. Describe to me, in detail, the clientele (number, common characteristics, etc.) that you and your team serve.

ICG next services 2000 households / families across multiple generations – the same allowing for multi-generational planning.

ICG next serves several “niche” clientele group including but not limited to doctors (internists, surgeons, radiologists etc.) dentists (general, maxillofacial, orthodontists, etc.), business owners, attorneys (criminal, environmental, family, etc.) engineers (civil, electrical. mechanical etc.) and “C” suite executives of public companies.

Multi-generational planning results in clients ranging in age from infant to octogenarian’s.

10. Describe the advisor / administrative staff to client ratio.

• ICG next maintains an advisor / administrative assistant to client ratio of 125 to 1 (the industry average exceeds 400 to 1). Our advisor / administrative assistant to client ratio helps ensure timely and prudent service and advice.

11. Describe to me in detail, your definition of comprehensive financial planning, your approach to the same and the areas typically associated with engaging your team in a global financial planning relationship.

Comprehensive Financial Planning is necessary as client questions, concerns and areas of interest often extend well beyond that of simply “making an investment.”

Some of the areas that are often the subject of a more robust examination (global financial planning).

Risk Management (disability / passing / extended care): Assessing available resources and the impact to your cash flow and assets in the event a disability, a passing or need for extended were to occur.

• Forecasting how daily living expense might change in the event a disability, passing or need for extended were to occur.

• Understanding the financial objectives (i.e. retirement, financial security for the surviving spouse, a legacy for the children, etc.) that must continue to be addressed in the event a disability, passing or need for extended care were to arise.

• Determining the financial “exposure” in the event a disability, passing or need for extended care were to arise.

• Identifying the resources (fixed, variable, government, employer, etc.) available to address the needs identified and financial objectives (i.e. retirement, financial security for the surviving spouse, a legacy for the children, etc.) that must continue in the event a disability, passing or need for extended care were to arise.

• Determining whether or not the resources available are adequate to ensure your needs are met in the event a disability, passing or need for extended care were to arise.

• Conducting an in-depth analysis of current risk management solutions (features, cost, etc.).

• Discussing & adopting strategies / solutions (if applicable and agreed upon) designed to mitigate / eliminate the exposure identified.

Wealth Management (portfolio evaluation, design, adoption & maintenance): Identifying the “desired outcomes” that resonate with you and support the agreed upon portfolio / financial objectives (i.e. retirement, general wealth management, etc.).

Common “desired outcomes” include but are not limited to the following:

• Enhancing the income / yield (dividend and interest) associated with the portfolio.
• Enhancing the total, real (after inflation), risk adjusted return associated with the portfolio.
• Reducing the risk associated with the portfolio, as mathematically measured by beta.
• Reducing the volatility associated with the portfolio, as mathematically measured by standard deviation.
• Enhancing the upside "capture" (gain) associated with the portfolio.
• Minimizing the downside "capture" (loss) associated with the portfolio.
• Ensuring a prudent asset allocation and / or risk - reward profile (risk adjusted).

Assessment of the most common risk, an inappropriate asset allocation, confronting a portfolio given your short, intermediate and long term financial objectives, risk tolerance and feelings associated with wealth management:

• Identifying a prudent asset allocation (risk - reward profile).
• Mitigating risk, as measured mathematically by beta, while realizing historical, risk adjusted returns required to achieve stated objectives.
• Mitigating volatility, as measured mathematically by standard deviation, while realizing historical, risk adjusted returns required to achieve stated objectives.

Assessment of the second most common risk, an inappropriate inter relationship, among the holdings, associated with the portfolio:

• Minimizing overlap as it pertains to sector exposure.
• Minimizing overlap as it pertains to industry exposure.
• Minimizing overlap as it pertains to individual holdings.
• Ensuring appropriate style exposure (value, growth & blend) as it pertains to the equity (stock) components of a portfolio.

Assessment of the third most common risk, utilizing inappropriate investment vehicles / solutions, when gaining exposure to a given asset classes, investment style or investment theme:

• Minimizing style drift.
• Maximizing tax efficiency.
• Identifying the most prudent investment vehicle (exchange traded funds, open end mutual funds, closed end mutual funds, separately managed accounts, individual securities (stocks & bonds), Private REIT’s, Public REIT’s, etc.) to utilize when gaining exposure to a given asset class and / or investment style.

Ensuring quality of investment:

• Initial and an on-going examination of peer group comparisons.
• Initial and an on-going examination of index comparisons.
• Initial and an on-going examination of the risk / reward profile of the underlying holdings associated with the portfolio.
• Ensuring the adoption and maintaining of a well-defined & disciplined investment philosophy.
• Ensuring decisions are based upon “fundamental, technical and quantitative” analysis (when applicable).
• Ensuring the application of a consistent, methodic and disciplined decision process.
• Ensuring liquidity & flexibility to respond to a changing economic environment and / or investment climate, your needs & financial objectives.
• Ensuring semi-annual, formal, review meetings;
• Ensuring annual (minimum), portfolio rebalancing / re-optimization; and
• Ensuring a goal based approach to wealth management.

Financial Independence (retirement): Ensuring the availability of adequate retirement income / assets over your actuarial lifetime.

• Forecasting retirement living expenses.
• Understanding the role of “government” benefits (i.e. Social Security).
• Understanding the merits & role of “employer benefit plans” (401 k plan, cash balance plan, etc.).
• Understanding the role of personal savings & investment.
• Understanding the impact of inflation.
• Understanding the impact of taxes.
• Managing / coordinating retirement distributions so as to ensure adequate income while minimizing taxation.

Wealth Preservation (estate planning): Ensuring the smooth & orderly settlement and transition of your estate.

• Ensuring a last will and testament is reflective of your wishes.
• Ensuring the use of prudent probate avoidance techniques.
• The importance of verifying the title (property ownership) and beneficiary designations of all assets associated with your estate.
• Protecting the day-to-day management of your financial affairs due to incapacitation (durable power of attorney).
• Updating a living will (durable healthcare power of attorney and / or a physician’s agreement).
• An adequate use of trust arrangements (marital, QTIP, etc.).
• Trustee arrangements.

Tax Reduction: An underlying premise of all discussion along with strategies & solutions discussed and adopted.

12. Describe to me in detail the areas of expertise demonstrated by your team.
In light of our members having completed their collegiate / university studies (undergraduate & graduate) securing degrees in Economics, Finance, Accounting, Business Management & Business and demonstrating extensive professional credentials (Certified Financial Planner®; Certified Investment Management Analyst®; Chartered Financial Consultant®; Certified Life Underwriter®: Certified Retirement Planning Counselor®; and Retirement Income Certified Professional®, our areas of expertise are quite extensive.

The same include but are not limited:
• Rental real estate analysis
• Planning for retirement
• Portfolio analysis, development and management
• Tax reduction strategies (Exchange Funds, Qual. Opp. Zone Funds, etc.)
• Wealth preservation and inter-generational wealth transition (basic and complex)
• Distribution strategies
• Income strategies.
• Business transition techniques (split dollar, stock transfer, net unrealized appreciation, recapitalization, family limited partnerships, etc.)

13. Describe, in detail, the manner in which you are compensated.

At ICG next, we maintain a flexible architecture as it pertains to compensation.

After all, questions, concerns, areas of interest and / or objectives can vary from one client / family to the next – occasionally, in a significant manner.

Thus, whether a comprehensive financial planning engagement is most reflective of your questions, concerns and objectives or your concerns are more finite, perhaps reserved to wealth management, a fair, transparent and agreed upon compensation arrangement is associated when providing advice and council to our clients across all generations.

More specifically, and with regard to wealth management for example, our organization seeks to avoid traditional, commission-based fee arrangements (there are exceptions).

After all, a traditional, commission-based fee arrangement often lead to conflicts of interest.
Instead, our organization utilizes what is known in the industry as an institutional fee structure (also commonly referred to as a wrap fee, asset under management fee or fee in lieu of commission arrangement).

As a result:
• Mutual fund loads do not exist when purchasing a mutual fund (s).
• Deferred sales charges do not exist when selling a mutual fund (s).
• Commissions do not exist when buying or selling individual securities (stocks, individual bonds, exchange traded funds, unit investment trusts, etc.).
• Handling fees do not exist when buying or selling individual securities (stocks, individual bonds, exchange traded funds, unit investment trusts, etc.).
• Transaction fees do not exist when buying or selling individual securities (stocks, individual bonds, exchange traded funds, unit investment trusts, etc.).
• Order fees do not exist when buying or selling individual securities (stocks, individual bonds, exchange traded funds, unit investment trusts, etc.).

Instead, one flat fee (paid quarterly, subtracted directly from the account (s) in question and disclosed on account statements) is associated with wealth management at our firm.

Clients have expressed their preference for such an arrangement as the same eliminates conflicts of interest, allows for the rebalancing of a portfolio in a timely manner, allows our firm to respond to changing economic, investment and personal circumstances and aligns our interests with yours – “the better you do, the better we do.”

Note: From time to time, an investment solution will be suggested that is not subject to an institutional fee structure, instead having its own fee structure. In such instances, the fee structure will, of course, be disclosed in advance of adopting such a solution / strategy.

Other Fees: Other fees that could surface / stem from engaging our firm include the following:
Legal Fees: An attorney preparing / updating estate planning documents (Will, durable power of attorney, living will, etc.) will charge his / her reasonable and customary fees.
Accounting Fees: A CPA will charge his / her reasonable and customary fees associated with tax preparation services, etc.
Insurance Premiums: A risk management audit is customary for our clients so as to gain insight into financial exposure in the event of a death, disability or need for extended care. Premiums associated with coverages such as life, disability or extended care insurance are “set” by the insurance company chosen.

14. Describe your cyber security / electronic communication policy.
  • As is customary client data is protected via unique User ID’s & Passwords.
  • Also, electronic communication containing client sensitive data is shared via encryption.
  • Calls directed to our home office (LPL Financial) are subject to dual identity authentication.
  • All suggestions pertaining to a client account will be executed, ONLY, after verbal permission.
  • All client request will be executed, ONLY, after verbal confirmation of the request in question.
  • Organization maintains robust cyber security coverages.

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