Answers to frequently asked questions
Q. How can I be sure your firm has the experience needed to properly manage my account?
A. QM Advisor’s team of investment advisors and money managers have more than 40 years of combined experience in the financial services industry. One member of the team is a Chartered Market Technician (CMT), and there are only about 4,500 CMTs in the global financial industry right now. The other members of our team have a wide variety of valuable industry experience in the financial and investment world at some of the largest investment management firms in the world. Feel free to read up on each of our team members' individual expertise on the team bios page of our website.
Q. How are you different from a big brokerage firm, like Merrill Lynch or Morgan Stanley?
A. We believe QM Advisors is far more directly and personally invested in your investment success than a large Wall Street brokerage firm. Those large wirehouse firms usually only play the part of a financial middleman between you and investment opportunities, and due to the increasing availability of investment information online, this role is becoming less valuable than it once was. However, at QM Advisors, we act as your actual, hands-on money manager in the investment process. We personally decide what you will be invested in, right here in our offices. We tailor your investments to your particular needs, and we constantly monitor the markets and adjust individual portfolios to minimize risk and maximize returns for each client.
In addition, most large brokerage firms operate on a commission system, which means that they make money off initially moving your money into a specific investment opportunity where it will probably be locked up for a longer period of time. QM Advisors takes a very different approach. We do not hire “salespeople” because we want to approach our clients with an entirely different mindset. We don’t make money off sales. Instead, we earn a small percentage of the total money we are handling for you and thus have a vested interest in your money growing!
Q. What is the minimum account size? What types of accounts can I open at QM Advisors?
A. We view ourselves as flexible at QM Advisors. We want to focus on your needs today as well as in the future. While we do need business to “make sense” for us, we do not require any minimum size for you to open an account, and you are free to open any type of account you prefer, although we would be happy to advise you about which account options might best suit your needs.
Q. What are the fees associated with the account and is there a termination fee?
A. Each account is charged a management fee which is usually collected quarterly and is determined as a percentage of the assets under management. In addition, all accounts are charged a custodial fee, and ticket fees are charged when we invest in certain assets. Unlike firms that charge one fee (usually a Wrap account), QM Advisors is set up in a manner to be more transparent where any fee is clearly spelled out.
Q. What is the relationship between QM Advisors and AXOS or Interactive Brokers?
A. In short, QM Advisors is the actual money manager; AXOS or Interactive Brokers are the custodians. That means QM Advisors manages your money, drawing upon multiple investment models to decide how best to invest it to meet your goals. Once a decision has been made by QM Advisors, we go through AXOS or Interactive Brokers to actually make that investment happen. As our custodian, AXOS or Interactive Brokers buys and sells securities as we direct. And, while we are managing your funds, we keep them safe by storing them securely with AXOS or Interactive Brokers. QM Advisors alone makes decisions about your funds, but AXOS or Interactive Brokers help us respectively to translate those decisions into action and to keep your funds secure.
Q. How can I get money out of my account and how long will it take? If I need funds from my account(s), are they readily available at any time or are there black-out dates?
A. We want to limit the barriers between you and your money as much as possible. In most cases, we can get your money to you within a week upon request. To request money out of your account, you can simply inform QM Advisors via e-mail or telephone. We will promptly confirm by speaking with you in person or over the telephone before we distribute your money as directed.
Q. How often do you meet with clients?
A. The short answer: as often as YOU feel that it is necessary. We recognize that each client has different goals, concerns, and preferences, and only the client can really know when they feel confident that they and we both have the information we need. In addition, it is important that we are kept up to date on any important changes in a client’s goals or situation. For this reason, we generally try to meet face to face with each client at least once a year, and sometimes more if the client believes it is necessary or simply prefers it. To minimize travel for both parties, we make use of video conference technology if the client is comfortable with that form of communication.
Q. What is the difference in discretionary accounts vs. non-discretionary accounts?
A. In a discretionary account (also called a “managed account”) QM Advisors will make decisions about buying and selling securities without first getting approval from the client. In other words, we're free to act on our own “discretion.” This allows us to respond quickly to our model’s and allocate or reallocate your funds appropriately. A non-discretionary account, on the other hand, requires QM Advisors to obtain the client’s approval before finalizing any investment decisions. We prefer to manage money on a discretionary basis, but we're always happy to discuss managing on a non-discretionary basis if the situation warrants it.
Q. What does a “fiduciary standard” really mean, and how does that impact me?
A. The “Fiduciary Standard” was established in 1940 as a legal standard which applies to all Investment Advisors. Conversely, brokers and insurance agents (who frequently use titles such as financial representative or consultant, registered representative, client or wealth advisor) are held to a lesser measure called the Suitability Standard, which simply requires the broker to sell investments they believe are suitable for their clients, not necessarily what is best for the client. Unlike the Fiduciary Standard there is no ongoing duty for the broker or agent to continue to make sure the investment is suitable. In short, once the sale has been made…their obligation ends.
The “Fiduciary Standard” is much stricter since it requires Investment Advisors to not only act in the best interest of their clients, but also to always act in the best interest of their clients before they act for their own interests. In other words, the “Fiduciary Standard” means that QM Advisors is required to advise you according to the most accurate possible information and to make your financial wellbeing our number one priority. You can have absolute confidence that QM Advisors will always try to invest your securities in the best way to achieve your stated goals. In short, our obligation to put your interest first is ongoing as long as you are a client of QM Advisors.
Q. I’ve had several advisors who never answered my calls or e-mails. How can I be sure you won’t do the same?
A. At QM Advisors, each client is a valued relationship. While we can’t make any absolute promises on responsiveness, our entire staff is committed to being as responsive as possible given current circumstances. As a general rule, we try to return phone calls either the same day or within 24 hours.