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What is a Financial Advisor?

A financial advisor is a broad term used to describe any professional or organization that renders a financial service to a client, including financial planning and investment management.

A registered investment advisor (“RIA”), such as GFA, is a financial advisor that is regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) or a state securities agency since it is compensated for offering investment advice as part of an overall service offering.

GFA further differentiates itself from other financial advisors and RIAs by acting as a fiduciary to all of its clients and by strictly adhering to the duties of a fiduciary outlined within the Investment Advisors Act of 1940 and the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct.

Our Services

Wealth Management

Wealth management combines financial planning and investment management into one comprehensive service offering.

A Customized and Dynamic Approach
We assist our clients with identifying, evaluating, and addressing their current and future financial needs and goals. We help clients develop and maintain a dynamic financial plan that is flexible and allows for adjustments over the years as circumstances change or unanticipated events occur. Having a plan in place enables clients to make competent, effective, and deliberate choices. We also increase awareness of life issues that may present themselves in the future. Advanced, dynamic planning allows us to devise strategies to avoid situations that could jeopardize a client’s financial situation or delay achievement of a client’s goals and objectives.

Making smart financial decisions also entails matching a client’s financial plan with an appropriate investment strategy. Our clients’ investment strategies are tailored to address the unique circumstances detailed in their financial plans. The primary objective of formulating client-specific investment strategies is to ensure clients’ investment portfolios are continually positioned to meet their distinct financial needs and goals.

Financial Planning

We strive to provide a sense of control to our clients so they can live more fulfilling lives by developing and maintaining a comprehensive financial plan. Our financial plans are designed to provide a “snapshot” of our clients’ current financial situation while creating a path towards their identified personal goals

A thorough discovery process combined with active listening allows us to understand our clients’ goals, values, and priorities. Ongoing monitoring helps clients stay on track, understand the impact of emotions on investing, and allows us to anticipate, prepare, and act.

Our expertise and insight on wealth-related issues that comes from decades of experience, research, and a commitment to ongoing education, also allows us to provide specialized financial counseling relating to:

  • Business services (business valuation; employee benefits, employer retirement plans; ownership structures; succession planning)
  • Cash flow management (budgeting; debt management; savings)
  • College education funding
  • Income tax planning & charitable giving
  • Investment advice (allocating employer retirement plan accounts; concentrated stock strategies; socially conscious investing)
  • Real estate investment/ownership
  • Retirement planning
  • Risk management (all types of insurance strategies and solutions including health care, long-term care, and life insurance)
  • Special needs planning
  • Trust & estate guidance

Investment Management

Our primary investment objective is to formulate client-specific strategies that are continually positioned to meet each of our clients’ distinct set of financial needs and goals.

Investment Philosophy
We strive to deliver more predictable returns by minimizing overall risk and investing in reasonably priced assets with promising growth profiles.

Reducing the potential for losses, especially when our clients have a low tolerance for risk, helps them stay invested, both emotionally and literally, by decreasing the desire to pull money out of the markets at the wrong time.

Our focus on reducing absolute portfolio “drawdowns” also helps each of our client portfolios to compound returns more efficiently over time. The durability of investment returns ensures our clients are best positioned to achieve their respective objectives.

Investment Process

We utilize long-term, strategic allocations for managing client portfolios. These allocations are optimized to reduce risk and maximize expected returns by setting target weightings in asset classes and investment sectors that we view as having the best long-term, risk-adjusted returns.

We tactically adjust client portfolios around their strategic targets more frequently, however, to reduce risk in periods of heightened volatility or to take advantage of perceived opportunities due to shorter-term market dislocations.

Other aspects of our investment process include:

Maximizing the benefits of diversification >>

  • Utilizing multiple asset classes, including stocks, bonds, real estate, and alternative assets.
  • We invest in both domestic and foreign assets and we allocate among a variety of market segments (e.g. small cap, mid cap, and large cap stocks).

A thoughtful approach to managing client portfolios >>

  • We are cognizant to avoid “diversification for the sake of diversification” by purposely allocating to assets and categories with the most attractive risk-adjusted opportunities while deemphasizing or avoiding those that do not.
  • We constantly monitor the robustness of our expectations and will adjust our clients’ portfolios accordingly should any of our views change.

A focus on total return >>

  • We select assets based on their expected total return rather than just their yield or potential for principal appreciation.
  • This approach provides a broader landscape of investments to choose from, tends to be more tax efficient, and helps to maintain the integrity of a client’s portfolio allocation over time.

Maintaining a disciplined approach to buying and selling assets >>

  • Adhering to strict buy and sell protocols provides greater control over helping clients meet their investment goals by creating less volatile return streams over time.
  • We constantly monitor the appropriateness of investments within client portfolios and look for opportunities to improve upon an existing holding should a competing asset provide better risk-adjusted exposure to the underlying asset class or investment category.

Agnostic to investment vehicle type >>

  • When evaluating new investment opportunities, we consider all available vehicles including mutual funds, close-end funds, private investments, and exchange traded products (e.g. exchange traded funds, exchange traded notes).
  • The investment vehicle ultimately chosen will reflect the most favorable mix of factors including, but not limited to, investment strategy, current positioning, net-of-fee performance history, management tenure, and cost.

Tax aware investing >>

  • Through thoughtful asset location, we increase the tax efficiency of client portfolios by placing more income generating assets into tax-deferred accounts, such as a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, and assets with more capital appreciation potential into taxable accounts.
  • We look for opportunities to harvest tax losses, and when possible, will postpone the realization of taxable gains, especially short-term gains.

Independent thinking >>

  • Since we are a fully independent financial advisor, we are able to choose the best possible investment within a desired asset class or category.
  • This independence also allows us to leverage world-class resources while collaborating with outside expertise on behalf of our clients.

Account Management

The majority of our clients’ accounts are held in custody at Pershing LLC, a subsidiary of The Bank of New York Mellon. We take asset safety seriously, which is why we use Pershing to safeguard our clients’ assets. Not only has Pershing been in business for almost 80 years, but it has over $1.8 trillion in global client assets and its internal controls and regulatory oversight help provide stability and focus with regards to the safekeeping, servicing, segregation, and reporting of client assets.

In addition to our clients’ Pershing accounts, we advise on accounts held at other financial institutions, including direct investments at mutual funds, employer sponsored retirement plans, and life insurance and annuity contract providers.

We also advise on specialized accounts, such as 529 Plan accounts for education savings and ABLE accounts for the planning needs of individuals with disabilities.

We help piece together all of a client’s accounts to better ensure they work together to achieve a client’s financial goals. Often times this involves a recommendation to consolidate accounts or identifying a “missing piece” to more efficiently meet stated objectives.

*529 Plan partners: American Funds CollegeAmerica, AllianzGI CollegeAccess, and Columbia Threadneedle Future Scholar

**ABLE account partner: American Funds ABLEnow

“Interprofessional” Collaboration

Reducing anxiety also requires working closely with your team of professionals. We will collaborate on your behalf with:

  • Accountants
  • Charitable organizations
  • Estate planning attorneys
  • Insurance agents
  • Tax advisors
  • Trustees

Upon request from a client, we will consult with other professionals to seek a resolution to or gain additional understanding on issues that may impact a client’s financial well-being. If we are unable to provide specific expertise or understanding, we will help our clients find suitable professional services that can.

Fee-Based Financial Advisor

We are a fee-based financial investment advisory firm that is predominately compensated for its services by charging a quarterly fee based on the value of a client’s investment portfolio. Such an arrangement helps eliminate conflicts of interest since our goals are aligned with those of our clients. This fee-based service model also helps validate our objectivity, especially when selecting and managing a client’s portfolio, since all investment decisions are made with a focus on what is best for our clients. The more money our clients make through the efficient compounding of investment returns over time, the more we benefit. In other words, our success is fully aligned with our clients’ success.

On occasion, we will charge either an hourly-fee or project-based fee from clients or families requesting a one-time engagement for the preparation of a financial plan or specific financial analysis. This fee amount depends on the complexity of the engagement and is calculated based either on our standard hourly rates or a fixed “not to exceed” amount in the case of a financial plan. The fee amount is always discussed and agreed in writing prior to initiating the financial engagement.

Larry P. Ginsburg, CFP® is also licensed to transact purchases of insurance (life insurance, health insurance, disability insurance, and long-term care insurance) that may be appropriate to achieve the needs or goals outlined in a client’s financial plan. Larry’s affiliation with Cetera Advisor Networks, LLC, one of the nation’s largest and most successful independent broker/dealers serving the financial planning community, provides us access to a wide menu of quality insurance sponsors and their products. Having access to a wide range of products not only provides the opportunity to obtain the most comprehensive product at the best possible client value, but enables us to maintain an objectivity not always available in other financial planning or brokerage firms. Larry Ginsburg and Ginsburg Financial Advisors earn a commission based on standard industry rates when clients purchase these products. Ginsburg Financial Advisors will only recommend insurance products to clients when deemed appropriate for addressing a future need or financial goal.

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