Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for answers? There's a good chance we've got them here!
Do you have account size minimums?
We used to have a minimum account size, but as times changed and technology allowed us to service a wider range of clients, we realized that these minimums were relatively arbitrary. So today, we do not have account size minimums.
We believe that we should be able to earn your confidence and trust at a level that YOU are comfortable with, and as long as you are willing to commit to your financial future, we'll do everything that we can to help you do that in the most responsible way possible.
HOW DO WE DETERMINE YOUR RISK TOLERANCE?
The process will start with a questionnaire that you'll fill out in the New Client Paperwork, which will ask some basic questions about your experience with investments, your investment goals, and how you view financial risks. Then, we'll use this to come up with an initial asset allocation taking all of this into account. We'll also have a conversation to better understand your background and situation, which will give us a clear idea of the risk level that suits you best.
WHAT IS A REGISTERED INVESTMENT ADVISOR?
That's what we are!
A registered investment advisor ("RIA") is an advisory firm that registers with and agrees to be regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") and, if applicable, the states in which it operates. The firm's employees are bound by a fiduciary standard in recommending securities to their clients and may also manage clients' investment portfolios. RIAs earn a fee, or sometimes a fee plus commission, for being an Investment Advisor and a Registered Representative. At Bisonwood, we don't believe commissions are in our clients' best interests, so we are classified as a 'fee-only RIA.'
An RIA must file a two-part Form ADV. Part 1 provides basic information about the firm in a standard form. Part 2 provides the same information in a "plain English"narrative format. It has details on how the firm operates, what it charges, how it makes investments, and any material disciplinary actions taken against it. You can find the latest copies of our Form ADVs in the footer of this site.
Are you affiliated with another institution?
Bisonwood is an independent registered investment advisor, but we do use Fidelity Investments, one of the largest financial services groups in the world, to hold custody of all client assets. Fidelity also functions as our broker-dealer to execute the trades that we send to them for our clients' accounts.
As clients of Bisonwood, your money and investments will be held with Fidelity - not us. This is in line with industry best practices, and for this reason, Bisonwood never takes custody of client's money - so please don't send any art or jewelry to our office, we don't have anywhere to keep it!
What is a Custodian?
A custodian is a financial services company that is legally responsible for the financial assets it holds. We use Fidelity as our custodian, one of the largest, most established, and trusted custodial organizations in the world.
To be clear, a custodian is not like a bank because when you deposit money into the bank, they lend it out and make money on it. A custodial account is in your name and holds your assets for you.
How are Registered Investment Advisors regulated?
Registered Investment Advisors ("RIA") are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), an independent federal agency that oversees and regulates the securities industry in the US and enforces securities laws. Additionally, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ("FINRA"), which is the largest self-regulatory organization in the US, writes and enforces rules governing the securities industry and enforces securities law.
FINRA also runs BrokerCheck, which you can use to check the credentials of individuals and firms in the securities industry.
If you've gotten to the end of this and still have questions, feel free to contact us.