Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Merit and do they follow a Fiduciary Standard?
Merit Financial Advisors is a group of like-minded professionals that offer exceptional financial planning services. Merit’s employees prioritize working as a team to maximize their intellectual resources in order to best serve their clients. By always putting the interest of their clients ahead of their own, Merit holds itself to a Fiduciary standard, both contractually with their clients and simply because they believe it is the right way to do business.
Who is LPL Financial?
LPL Financial is the nation’s largest independent broker dealer*. Merit utilizes LPL’s resources to custody assets on fee-based business or conduct commission business when appropriate. LPL provides a suite of technological services to Merit and its clients; including online access for clients, preparing and sending account statements, and trading software. Merit is rank #3 on LPL’s broker dealer platform.
*As reported in Financial Planning Magazine, 1996-2015, based on total revenue.
What does it mean to be an independent RIA
As an Independent Registered Investment Advisor, Merit is capable of doing business with almost any financial institution in the world. Merit does not favor one set of investments or products over another when constructing portfolios and making recommendations to their clients. Being “independent” means Merit is free to choose the options that best suit their clients. In addition, Merit is not affiliated with any proprietary products.
How does Merit’s fees work:
- Merit is paid by charging a fee directly to a client or receiving a commission from an investment or insurance company. In all situations, a client will receive a full disclosure of fees prior to entering into a management or a business agreement with Merit. When a client is charged a fee, it is typically based on a percentage of assets Merit is managing for that client. In this arrangement, a client does not pay more or less based on the activity that takes places in the account; rather the entire fee arrangement is based on the value of the account. With fee based asset management, Merit’s revenue correlates with the value of the account. Merit believes that a fee based arrangement best aligns its financial interests with those of a client. The large majority of Merit’s business is fee based, however Merit utilizes commission-based products when they are in a client’s best interest.
- Financial planning is included in the fees our clients pay us for managing their assets. If a client would like to receive financial planning services without having Merit manage assets or requires more extensive planning (retirement or investment), the clients will be charged a flat fee for that service. The most popular service Merit offers as a flat fee is the Merit Compass service.