What is WAM?

WAM is an independent, fee-only Registered Investment Advisory firm that works with people of diverse needs and experiences who want an experienced professional to help them organize their ever-changing investment needs into a single, coherent investment strategy.

Is WAM registered with, or licensed by, any regulatory body?

WAM is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Form ADV Parts 2A and 2B, filed each year with the SEC, is available in the Forms & Downloads section of this site.

What are the differences between brokers and investment advisors?

While the differences between brokers and investment advisors are blurring as brokers and brokerage firms attempt to morph themselves into advisors, some basic distinctions remain. One important difference is in the nature of the client relationship. Because brokers typically are paid on commission, they tend to be transaction-based; in other words, if there are no trades, they don’t get paid. Yet trading isn’t always in the best interests of the client. Advisors, on the other hand, are often paid a fee to manage the assets of the client. Therefore, there is a closer symmetry between the interests of the client and the advisor.

Also, advisors tend to be independent, and therefore are free to select any strategy or product that will meet the disparate needs of each client. Brokers sometimes are pressured to sell in-house products or recommended particular securities.

Finally, advisors often look at the entire financial picture for the client, while the brokerage relationship is usually limited to that particular investment account. By having access to all of the relevant financial information, the advisor is able to better meet the long-term needs and goals of the client.

How are investment advisors compensated?

Investment advisors may be compensated in any of the following ways:

  • Fee-only – the advisor is paid a fee for consultation, plan development or investment management. Fees may be based on an hourly rate, project basis or a percentage of assets under management (AUM).
  • Commission-only – the advisor is paid for services by a commission on products sold to the client.
  • Fee-offset – the advisor may offset any fees accumulated for services rendered by commissions produced from products purchased by the client from the advisor.
  • Fee and commission – the advisor can charge a combination of the two forms of compensation depending upon the type of service rendered.
  • Salary – some advisors are paid a salary to work for a larger financial services institution.

What is the basic service that WAM provides for its clients?

WAM is a fee-only investment advisor that provides discretionary investment management services to individual investors across the nation. In other words, we invest people’s money for them, and we do so for either a fixed monthly retainer, or a fee based on the percentage of assets under management, depending upon the needs of the client and the size of the account.

How is WAM different from other investment advisors?

The key difference between WAM and other advisors is that we keep things simple; we want you to understand everything we’re doing and be comfortable knowing that your money is being well taken care of. Importantly, we put our own money in the same investments as our clients, so we have skin in the game.

What is WAM’s investment philosophy?

Our basic investment philosophy is to attempt to make money for our clients every year. In the years that we can’t make money, we seek to minimize the losses as much as possible. We do this by crafting a conservative strategy that emphasizes investing in the strongest sectors of the market, while attempting to preserve the initial capital and create a reliable stream of current income.

Who makes the investment decisions?

While the overall strategy is agreed to in advance by the client, Greg Werlinich, President of WAM, designs, implements and monitors all investment decisions.

What does it mean that WAM has “discretion” on my account?

WAM is granted by its clients a limited power of attorney (LPOA) to act on their behalf. Chief among these powers is the right, or discretion, to make trades without having to consult with that client ahead of time. While clients grant to WAM this LPOA to execute trades on their behalf, clients retain control of their assets. All accounts are held in the name of the client at TD Ameritrade, a qualified custodian.