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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have other questions, please drop us a note using our Contact Us form.

General

What is a fiduciary? How are you different from a broker?
What advantages does Savant offer versus investing on my own?
Someone else is offering me a "free" financial plan. What is different about your financial plan?
How do I know my money is safe?
Are Savant accounts regularly monitored?
Can I get online access to my account(s)?

Getting Started

How do I get started?
I have an old 401(k) account from a prior job, can Savant manage it?
What do I bring to my first meeting?

Savant Portfolios

What if I invest with Savant Portfolios, but my account grows large enough for Savant Wealth Management?
Are financial planning services still available to Savant Portfolios clients?

Investment Concepts

What is Rebalancing? How do I benefit from rebalancing my portfolio?
What is an Asset Class?
What are Growth and Value Stocks?
What are Large-Cap and Small-Cap stocks?
What is an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)?

Fees & Expenses

How does Savant charge for its services?
What are the expense ratios in the underlying mutual funds?


General

What is a fiduciary? How are you different from a broker?
A fiduciary is a person who is legally and morally responsible for managing the assets of another person and stands in a special relationship of trust, confidence, and/or legal responsibility. A fiduciary is required by law to always act in the best interests of their client, beneficiary, or retirement plan participant. At Savant, this principle is a core value, guiding everything we do. Our research indicates not all firms or individuals understand the relationships that exist in today’s investment community. Many firms portray themselves as fiduciaries, but do not act in the best interests of their clients. This practice has been very common in the brokerage industry – where firms make significant profits from selling products and receiving commissions.

What advantages does Savant offer versus investing on my own?
Savant offers several value propositions that are not available to do-it-yourself retail investors. These include, but are not limited to: asset allocation advice, access to institutional investment vehicles that typically have minimums as high as $10 million per fund, disciplined rebalancing, consolidated performance and tax reporting, access to Savant's research and educational materials, time savings, and professional oversight and advice.

Someone else is offering me a "free" financial plan. What is different about your financial plan?
Some advisors and financial institutions may offer a “free” financial plan that is designed to sell you a product. In the long run, following these plans will cost significantly more money in investment fees. Savant charges you directly for creating a financial plan, ensuring that your plan is unbiased and serves your interests. We do not receive any kickbacks or other compensations from the funds we invest in – ensuring the transparency and low-cost investments demanded by today’s investors.

How do I know my money is safe?
Unlike many investment firms, Savant does not take direct possession of client funds. Instead, we use several custodians to hold client funds: Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, and Fidelity. Each of the custodians we utilize is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC), which protects customers if a brokerage firm closes due to bankruptcy or other financial difficulties and customer assets are missing. The SIPC protects the accounts of each customer up to $500,000 in securities, including a limit of $250,000 on claims for cash. For details, please see www.sipc.org.

Are Savant accounts regularly monitored?
Yes. Our clients’ investment holdings and asset allocation strategy are continually monitored, analyzed, rebalanced and traded as appropriate.

Can I get online access to my account(s)?
Yes. Savant can provides you with a Client Web Portal that gives you online access to your account holdings, transactions, and investment performance. Clients also have access to a secure online document vault for viewing and storing files such as your quarterly performance reports and advisory agreements. In addition, you can also sign up for online access directly through the custodian’s website.

Getting Started

How do I get started?
The first step is to meet with or call a Savant advisor. The advisor will work with you to clarify your needs and goals, determine an optimal asset allocation strategy, and coordinate the paperwork required to establish and fund a new account(s). We strive to make the transition as painless and as timely as possible.

Visit our Get Started page for additional information and online assessment tools.

I have an old 401(k) account from a prior job, can Savant manage it?
Generally yes, although it may depend on the particulars of your plan. Most plans allow participants to “rollover” their account to an IRA at a brokerage firm once they are no longer employed. In these cases, you would just open a rollover IRA and instruct your former 401(k) provider to liquidate the account and move the assets to your new Rollover IRA account.

What do I bring to my first meeting?
Although not required, we recommend that you bring a copy of all recent financial statements including quarterly statements of retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, annuities, 401(k) accounts, etc. We also ask that you bring copies of trust or will documents, tax returns, and a brief listing of any current liabilities. These documents will help us create a snapshot of your current financial situation.

Savant Portfolios

What if I invest with Savant Portfolios, but my account grows large enough for Savant Wealth Management?
It is very easy to transition your Savant Portfolios account to Savant Wealth Management. Just sign new account forms and contracts. We will convert your accounts without tax or costs.

Are financial planning services still available to Savant Portfolios clients?
Selected financial planning, retirement planning, estate planning, philanthropic and tax planning capabilities can be provided by Savant for an additional fee. Savant Portfolios also offers free online financial planning capabilities that will serve the needs of most Savant Portfolios clients.

Investment Concepts

What is Rebalancing? How do I benefit from rebalancing my portfolio?
Rebalancing refers to the process of placing trades to return a portfolio to its appropriate asset allocation. For example, if large-cap domestic stocks have increased substantially in value and international stocks have declined in value, a portfolio may have a materially higher percentage of assets invested in large-cap domestic stocks than desired (and a lower percentage in international stocks). Rebalancing will sell part of the large-cap domestic stock holdings and buy more international stock.
Adhering to regular rebalancing cycle has two benefits for an investor: 1) it maintains the appropriate risk level in their investment portfolio, and 2) improves long-term returns by systematically selling assets which have recently outperformed and buying assets with recent under performance. Given the tendency for different asset classes to perform well at different times, rebalancing effectively allows investors to “sell high” and “buy low.”

What is an Asset Class?
The term Asset Class refers to a group of securities sharing common characteristics so they perform in a similar way. At a high level, you can have asset classes like stocks, bonds, and cash. These general categories can be further broken down into domestic and international stocks and bonds, value and growth stocks, Large-Cap and Small-Cap stocks, etc. You can also have more specialty asset classes like real estate, commodities, etc.

What are Growth and Value Stocks?
There are a number of different technical methods of classifying a particular company’s stock as “growth” or “value”, but generally these terms refer to how richly a stock is valued relative to its fundamentals (e.g., book value, earnings, etc.). Growth stocks tend to be expected to grow earnings at above average rates, and therefore, investors are willing to pay relatively more for them. Whereas Value stocks generally trade a lower multiples relative to the overall market (e.g., low market price relative to firm’s book value).
One specific method of classifying growth vs. value is using the ratio of the firm’s book value to its market value. Book value is the value of all the firm’s assets, less liabilities, according to their accounting records. For example, the value of machinery purchased less depreciation would be one component of the book value of the firm. Market value is what the company is worth based on its stock price. Stocks with high book-to-value ratios are considered Value stocks.

What are Large-Cap and Small-Cap stocks?
The “Cap”, or capitalization, of a stock refers to the overall market equity value of the firm (number of shares multiplied by price per share). Large-Cap stocks refer to the most valuable companies (i.e., the companies with the largest market value). The stocks contained in the S&P 500 Index are often used as a proxy for the large-cap universe. Conversely, Small-Cap stocks are the companies with lower market values. The Russell 2000 Index is often used as a proxy for the small-cap universe of stocks.
Morningstar defines large-cap stocks as the group of companies representing the top 70% of market capitalization and small/mid-cap stocks as the bottom 30%.

What is an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)?
ETFs are similar to mutual funds, but trade continuously on exchanges like a stock. Similar to mutual funds, they are pooled investment vehicles containing a large number of individual securities. ETFs generally hold securities to track a specific index (e.g., the S&P 500 index of large-cap domestic stocks). A major difference between mutual funds and ETFs is how you buy the fund. Mutual funds are only priced at the end of the trading day; you can only buy or sell a mutual fund once a day at the price (Net Asset Value or NAV) quoted after the close of trading. An ETF trades throughout the day like a stock. You can buy a fund at any time during the day at the prevailing market price.

Fees & Expenses

How does Savant charge for its services?
Savant charges an annual fee based on a percentage of the total investment assets we manage for you. We only accept compensation directly from our clients. This means that you provide our only source of income – ensuring that our services are unbiased and serve your best interests.

What are the expense ratios in the underlying mutual funds?
These expenses are very low considering that we use primarily institutional index and structured asset class funds. While the expense of the funds vary by fund and by asset allocation strategy (how much risk/return), the average expense ratio is typically between approximately 0.2 - 0.3% annually. These expenses are detailed in each fund's prospectus.