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How to Find the Right Wealth Manager in Atlanta

December 6, 2023 | Wealth Management

By David Yucius, Jr., CFA® & Mike Doyle, CFP®

For high-net-worth individuals and families in Atlanta, finding the right wealth manager may be among the most important investment decisions you ever make.

Some people try to manage their money by themselves, to mixed results. Others may work with a wealth manager but seek a second opinion. And others may have no partner at all.

How do you choose a wealth manager that best fits you? Initial steps include reviewing an advisor’s website and viewing their social media for clues. You can also ask trusted friends and family for referrals. Ultimately, you can and should talk to prospective candidates online, via email, and in person.

In Atlanta and some of its most prosperous suburbs—including Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Roswell, and Marietta, among others—you have more than 4,000 professionals (in 100’s of firms) from which to choose.

For high-net-worth individuals and families in Atlanta, finding the right wealth manager may be the most important investment decisions you ever make.

It got us thinking: if we were looking for a wealth manager in Atlanta to partner with, what questions do we frequently get asked—or should we—to find the best partner? Here’s our list:

Qualifications

Understanding a wealth advisor’s credentials, experience, and specialization is key to assessing their ability to develop a financial plan tailored to your needs. Questions to ask include:

  • What are your credentials and certifications? How long have you specialized in wealth management, specifically for high-net-worth clients?
  • What is your ideal client profile? Who do you work with best? Do you have experience working with clients like me?
  • How is your firm different?
  • Do you have an area of expertise or specialty you focus on the most? How will this benefit me?
  • On average, how long have your current clients been with you?
Financial Planning

The breadth and depth of a firm’s financial planning services indicate its ability to provide comprehensive wealth management. Be sure to ask about:

  • What types of financial planning do you provide? (For example: retirement, estate planning, education, insurance, philanthropy, and education.)
  • Will you coordinate with my tax advisor, attorney, and other professionals to cover all aspects of wealth management? Would you bring in other professionals if I don’t have them?
  • Do you offer ongoing financial education? If so, what seminars or resources do you provide?
  • Are you a fiduciary, and if so, why is this important?

The breadth and depth of a firm’s financial planning services indicate its ability to provide comprehensive wealth management.

Investment Approach

A wealth manager’s investment philosophy and methodology—how they evaluate, buy, sell, and manage securities—dictate their ability to meet your goals. You’ll want to know:

  • How would you describe your investment philosophy and process?
  • What types of investments will you use to build my portfolio? Do you use stock and bonds? Alternatives?
  • How can you help minimize my taxes and maximize returns? What tax strategies do you use?
  • How can you help protect against market volatility and downturns? Do you recommend shifting assets at certain times?
  • Do you manage client investments internally, or do you outsource investment management to external money managers?
  • How has your performance been over the past 1, 3, 5, and 10-year periods? How does it compare to benchmarks?
Values

Ethics and transparency are crucial when entrusting your financial future to a wealth manager. Get insight into their standards by asking:

  • How does your firm handle transparency and full disclosure?
  • Do you proactively explain the risks as well as benefits of investment options?
  • How do you avoid conflicts of interest when working with clients?
  • On issues like fees, taxes, and risk, how bluntly honest are you with clients?
  • Do you own the same securities as you recommend to me?
Fees

Understanding a wealth manager’s fee structure and costs is imperative for budgeting. Be sure to clarify:

  • What is your fee structure? How do your fees compare to other firms?
  • Are there any additional costs or fees I should know about? How does your fee schedule work?
  • Do you provide services like financial plans or portfolio reviews on a fixed-fee basis?
Communication

Regular and clear communication ensures the proper oversight of your investments. Gain insight by asking about:

  • How can I reach you with questions before our next meeting?
  • How do you prefer to communicate regularly? Email, phone, text, video, newsletters?
  • How often will we meet in person to review my financial plan and investments?
“What If” Questions

You may also want to ask a few “What if?” questions of your potential wealth manager. Although unlikely, these are critical scenarios if they do indeed occur. They include:

  • What happens to my money if you die or leave the firm?
  • What if you sell your company or have financial troubles?
  • What if I move to another state? Can you still manage my investments?

Interviewing several local wealth managers in the Atlanta area can help you identify the best fit for your needs and goals. Use this list of critical questions to have productive conversations and gain insights into their expertise. The ideal advisor match fully understands your financial priorities and regional economic climate. Don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions if any responses require clarification.

Interviewing several local wealth managers in the Atlanta area can help you identify the best fit for your needs and goals. Use this list of critical questions to have productive conversations and gain insights into their expertise.

About Aurora Investment Counsel

Aurora Investment Counsel seeks to provide peace of mind to high-net-worth and institutional clients through expert wealth management and investment management. Aurora serves clients in or close to retirement, career professionals, and owners of small businesses. We also work with investors who have sold or are about to sell their business, bequeath or receive an inheritance or have recently become widows or divorcees. In addition, we provide equity management services for family offices and institutional investors and consult with financial advisors looking for business growth and sub-advisory services. Aurora was founded in Atlanta, GA, in 1995 and currently manages over $200 million in assets under management.

About Our Team

David Yucius, Jr., CFA® is the President, portfolio manager, and majority owner of Aurora Investment Counsel. His investment career began in 1990. Before founding Aurora in 1995, David was the exclusive portfolio manager and research analyst for Randy Seckman and Associates. Before that, he managed an investment consulting business as Vice President for Keogler, Morgan Company, a regional brokerage firm in Atlanta. MA. David is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He earned a B.S.B.A. in Finance and Management from Northeastern University in Boston.

Mike Doyle, CFP® is the Vice President of Aurora Investment Counsel, a post he has held since 2005. Mike is responsible for client relationships and sales. Before joining Aurora, Mr. Doyle serviced high-net-worth and financial intermediary clients as a portfolio manager at Vestor Capital Corporation in Chicago. Mike holds the Certified Financial Planner™ designation of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. He earned a B.S. in marketing from the University of Georgia.

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