Upland Financial Management: What, and why?Submitted by Upland Financial Management LLC on January 24th, 2017
What is Upland Financial Management?
Upland Financial Management is a fee-only Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). That means we act as a ﬁduciary, and charge fees rather than commissions. A ﬁduciary standard means that we must act solely in your best interests when providing ﬁnancial advice.
How did Upland Financial Management come to be?
I entered the investment world in 1993 as a ‘registered representative’, and I’ve worked with clients continuously since then. So, for nearly 25 years. Before that, I worked as a commercial and corporate banker.
That really isn’t such a great span of time, in the grand scheme of things. However, for the investment business the last few decades have been decades of amazing transformation. And amazing, too, is the fact that the change isn’t slowing down, it’s accelerating.
When I started, not so very long ago, I shared a computer monitor on a swivel base with another ‘broker’ — as we were known then — and when I needed to get a quote on a stock, I swiveled the monitor my way and typed in the symbol, or I spoke directly to someone on our trading desk. If I wanted to call a customer, I had a notebook with names and phone numbers.
When I asked permission to get my own personal computer in order to improve management of customer information, I was asked: why do you need something like that???
It seems so antiquated, looking back on it! Nowadays, we all walk around with computers in our pockets. Stock quotes are readily available, to everyone, no matter where we are. Email, texting, and social media have revolutionized the way we communicate
Formerly, customers paid us to do transactions, and the advice (which was often the really important part) was considered to be ‘incidental’, and free.
These days, the transactions are essentially free, and we — those of us, that is, who operate as ﬁduciaries — charge for advice.
But lot’s of other things changed, too. As I alluded above, a technology revolution has been ongoing. Years ago, an advisor pretty much had to be with a major ﬁrm to have access to the best account servicing tools, research, and trading platforms.
That’s no longer the case: independent advisors now often have access to technology as good or better, arguably, as that available at much larger ﬁrms. Technology, which in some ways has made the investment business so much more competitive, has at the same time ‘democratized’, if you will, the landscape of ﬁnancial advice.
And, along the way, as large ﬁrms acquired other ﬁrms and the industry rapidly evolved, it started to feel to me as though the corporate objectives of large ﬁrms often took priority over the needs of the advisor and client. Investment ﬁrms focused obsessively on asset collection in evaluating advisors, and not so much on whether the advisor had happy clients. Relatively little effort was ever expended to determine what made the client happy, or what tools the advisor needed to make that happen.
I began to chafe at the limitations that I felt were put on me, in terms of serving my own clients as I thought best: serving my clients in their interest alone. And increasingly, the technology and investment platforms of the larger ﬁrms often seemed to lag behind the best available.
The world of the broker-dealer no longer felt like home to me, and I wanted freedom, for me and my clients!
What Upland Financial Management aims to do.
The establishment of Upland Financial Management represents the culmination of my long-held vision of being free to serve a small group of clients, focusing on meaningful problem solving primarily in the area of planning, particularly as regards retirement strategy. And when it makes sense for the client, by continuing to leverage my knowledge of the community banking industry. Without pressures from corporate interests.
Some advisors have rigid ‘account minimums’: I don’t. While I have to be careful not to take on so much work that service to my existing clients may suffer, I’m much more concerned about the quality of my relationship with clients than I am with account sizes.
Ultimately, my goal is to simplify your ﬁnancial life, and make your money serve YOU.