What services does IAM provide?

We focus on the management of globally-diversified investment or retirement portfolios and cross-border financial planning services for individuals and small businesses.

Certain other services are offered in conjunction with trusted experts in specific fields. These services include insurance for non-US and US residents, US or cross-border estate planning, taxation services, and pension plan administration and consulting.

In addition, we make ourselves available at no extra charge to all our clients for consultation on any financial topic.

 

What type of clientele does IAM serve?

Our investment management clients are individuals who recognize the value that a professional portfolio manager can bring to investment results through specialized knowledge and experience.

Furthermore, our unique knowledge of expatriate investment and financial planning issues makes us the firm of choice for many individuals living outside their country of citizenship who seek guidance from a financial advisory firm regulated under US laws.

Typical clients include:

  • Individuals with busy lifestyles who prefer to focus on family or career and leave their investments in the hands of a professional
  • People who are faced with managing an investment portfolio or financial planning responsibilities for the first time, such as after a divorce or receipt of an inheritance
  • US citizens working on international assignments
  • Retirees living outside their country of citizenship
  • Investors who would like to eventually manage their own portfolios but require guidance until they are more knowledgeable in the field
  • Individuals who prefer to have one advisor oversee their financial picture as a whole rather than dealing with different advisors for taxation, portfolio management, insurance, and other services
  • Businesses with expatriate employees

Does IAM offer different levels of service?

We have three levels of investment advisory service and a financial planning service that are more fully described on our website in the “Services” section.

Our Portfolio Management service is an account that is managed on a discretionary basis based upon a strategy customized specifically for the client. The strategy and investment constraints are set annually in consultation with an IAM portfolio manager and outlined in the client's Investment Policy Statement. Discretionary management means that an IAM advisor manages the investment account without the client's interaction on a daily basis but always in keeping with the agreed upon strategy. This allows us to take quick action if there is a change in the fortunes of one of the client's holdings but ensures that portfolios will always be invested in keeping with each client's individual specifications.

Our Portfolio Advisory service can be either discretionary or non-discretionary and is suitable for investment accounts that utilize a buy-and-hold type investment strategy or for corporate pension accounts.

Our Portfolio Analysis service is ideal for investors who do not desire ongoing advice or management but only seek a one-time opinion on their investments or an initial allocation for a self-managed account.

Our financial planning service focuses on cross-border issues for US citizens living abroad and non-US citizens living in the USA.

We also offer financial consulting services to individuals and businesses on topics such as pension plan consulting, obtaining mortgages for non-US properties, and many others.

 

Why should I trust IAM?

 

  • We align our interests with yours: From the very beginning IAM was set up to bring a new level of service and confidence to individuals seeking financial services. IAM’s independence, fee structure, and willingness to address clients’ specific concerns, assures that our interests are aligned with yours.
  • Fiduciary duty: IAM is a Registered Investment Advisor, as such, IAM representatives have a fiduciary duty to clients. This is a higher legal standard than the "suitability" standard to which brokers are held.
  • Independent firm: We serve only private clients, and have no conflicts with investment banking or M&A departments, neither do we represent any mutual funds or brokerage firms.
  • Comprehensive approach: Our goal is to help you reach your financial goals. Investment performance is important but of greater importance is that your goals for retirement, financial growth, or other lifestyle considerations are met. IAM looks at the whole picture from a financial planning as well as an investment perspective.
  • Portfolio manager oversees account: At IAM you will always be dealing directly with a qualified portfolio manager and financial planner, not just a sales representative or “relationship manager” as is so often the case at brokerage firms or mutual fund companies.
  • Thorough performance reporting: IAM’s underlying philosophy is to ensure that our services pay for themselves. Every year our clients receive a detailed report comparing their portfolio performance to a benchmark. We look at what we’ve done well and honestly analyze how we can do better. This consultative rather than sales-oriented approach is the cornerstone of why our clients trust us.
  • Global outlook: We understand the importance of diversification and the investment opportunities and risks that exist in various parts of the world. Our approach takes advantage of global, as well as asset class, diversification.
  • Personalized consulting: We provide services on a client-specific level. You may require specific guidance on issues such as company retirement plan options, concentrated stock holdings, or protection against currency fluctuations. We use our investment, taxation, and financial planning expertise to find the best solution to your specific concern.
  • Expatriate experience: IAM offers services to expatriates on a higher level than other firms. If you are an expat, then you will be dealing with an IAM advisor who has considerable personal expatriate experience.

What do you mean when you say that IAM is an "independent" firm?

We are independent because we are not affiliated with any mutual funds, insurance companies, or brokerage firms. This means that we have no incentive to recommend investment products for any reason other than that they are in the best interests of our clients.

We are independent because we do not have conflicts with investment banking or mergers & acquisition departments, as is so often the case today with brokerage firms.

What are IAM's investment advisory fees and how are they charged?

Unlike many brokerage firms, we do not charge on a commission basis because we feel that this type of compensation pays a broker to trade their client’s account instead of paying him or her to build the client’s wealth. We charge an on-going management fee based upon assets under management, this means that our compensation increases as the value of the account grows and decreases if it shrinks. For US residents with portfolios larger than $1,000,000, or for non-US residents, a performance-based compensation structure that further aligns our interests with our clients' is available.

IAM’s fees vary depending upon the level of service and the size of the account under management. The fees for our Portfolio Management service range from 0.5% to 2% of assets under management per year. For our Portfolio Advisory service, the fees are 1% of assets under management per year. For our Portfolio Analysis service, we charge a one-time fee of between $300 and $2000 depending upon the complexity of the analysis.

IAM does not receive any investment advisory fees other than those mentioned above but there may be additional charges from the discount brokerage firm where the account is held or from the individual holdings in the account. A fee schedule for the brokerage firm that IAM recommends is available upon request.

Does IAM have a minimum account size requirement?

There is no minimum account size requirement for our Portfolio Advisory or Portfolio Analysis services. There is a minimum account size requirement of $100,000 for our Portfolio Management services, this is necessary so that we can diversify this type of account.

If I open an account with IAM, where are my money and investments held?

In theory, your portfolio can be held at any brokerage firm. For discretionary management our portfolio manager only needs to have trading authority for your account. Most brokerage firms allow this type of arrangement. If you do not have a strong preference, we will recommend an expat-friendly major US brokerage firm that offers multi-currency accounts, trading on international exchanges, and very good currency conversion costs as well as low trading costs.

Does IAM take custody of my investments?

We never have custody of your money or investments. For our discretionary management services we only have authority to conduct trades in your account, we cannot withdraw your funds or move them to other accounts without written authorization from you to the brokerage firm that holds your account.

Are my investments with IAM protected by SIPC insurance?

If your account is held at a US brokerage firm recommended by IAM, then your investments are protected by SIPC insurance up to the SIPC limit and by private insurance on amounts exceeding the SIPC limit. This is protection against loss due to default or insolvency of the brokerage firm holding your assets.

Are my investments with IAM guaranteed not to lose value?

Although it is possible for IAM to create a portfolio that is guaranteed in the sense that it holds only annuities or government bonds or money market investments, we generally do not do this. We find that the fees from most annuities do not justify the investment and if a client is so risk conscious that he or she would like to limit their investments to government bonds and money market then they would be better off with a self-administered buy-and-hold strategy so as to not incur investment management expenses. In any case, as the financial crisis of 2008-2009 has taught us, not even these investments are entirely risk-free.

Our investment strategies do have risk associated with them. The level of risk is set based upon the client’s risk tolerance, investment time horizon, and investment goals. Some of our strategies involve controlling risk in various ways such as through the use of a “market neutral” portfolio, by using options or futures for hedging, or through an asset allocation strategy, but none of these measures can fully guarantee against the possibility of a decrease in value of the portfolio.

You should be wary of any investment advisor who offers “risk-free” investments, please contact us if you are considering such an offer – we will evaluate it for you at no charge.

How is IAM licensed and regulated?

IAM is incorporated and licensed in the state of California as a “Registered Investment Advisor” (RIA). RIA’s are regulated by the government of the state in which they are based or the US Securities and Exchange Commission. As a RIA firm, IAM is held to a higher standard of care with respect to its clients than a brokerage firm. A RIA firm representative has a fiduciary responsibility to his or her clients whereas a broker does not.

IAM is further bound by the US “Investment Advisor Act of 1940” and we adhere to the CFA Institute (formerly the Association of Investment Management and Research) Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

US representatives of RIA firms hold a “Series 65” or “Series 7 & 66” Investment Advisor license and, in addition, all IAM portfolio managers are CFA charterholders or have a CIMA or other recognized portfolio management qualification.

What types of investments does IAM use?

Depending upon the size of the portfolio and the strategy selected, we may recommend stocks, bonds, Real Estate Investment Trusts or Royalty Trusts, money market instruments, certain mutual funds, closed-end funds or index funds, preferred shares, Business Development Corporations, or other liquid investments. For hedging purposes or to enhance returns, we may recommend options or futures, and for return enhancement on a large stock position we may recommend covered call sales.

We always fully explain our recommendations to our clients and we never invest a client’s portfolio in any vehicle with which our client is uncomfortable. Furthermore, unless specified, all investments are liquid such that they can be cashed out within three business days.

What type of reports do I get?

Our Portfolio Management and Portfolio Advisory clients receive quarterly reports from IAM summarizing the performance and status of their accounts. There is also a yearly, in-depth, performance and strategy review and consultation with your portfolio manager. If your account is held at a brokerage firm that we recommend, you will also receive on-line access to your account and quarterly statements directly from the custodian.

Our Portfolio Analysis service consists of a one-time detailed report.

Our Financial Planning service consists of an initial in-depth review and report; periodic updates are available as well.