One concern you may have working with a single advisor office is the safety of your money and information. We would like to address these concerns up front and explain how a small advisory office works.
Roloff Retirement Solutions, Inc. is a local, California based corporation. It is the name under which we market to the public, pay taxes, hire and pay employees and rent office and event space. It is also the legal corporate name for our insurance agency, doing business as Roloff Insurance Services. We manage over $50 million in client assets as of October, 2021.
Commonwealth Financial Network is the name of our broker-dealer. While you have probably never heard their name – they are one of the larger broker-dealers for independent financial advisors –privately owned for over 40 years. Simply put – they are responsible for serving as a broker (executing trades for clients) and a dealer (facilitating trades for itself) like most of the major Wall Street firms you’ve heard of. Because they work with independent financial advisors like myself – they do not advertise under their own name. In addition to processing trades – they have regulatory responsibility for overseeing all of their advisors and their accounts and activities. We have many responsibilities to them in documenting risks and suitability of trades, justifying investment decisions, monitoring accounts, etc. FINRA – our regulator – also audits our office on an annual basis to verify that we are following all rules and procedures properly, including things such as information security.
National Financial Services (NFS) is our custodian for all brokerage accounts (Some clients may have other investments held directly with a mutual fund company, annuity company or 401k custodian for example.) They are a division of Fidelity, which holds over $3 trillion in assets for clients. They are the company that actually holds client brokerage accounts and handles all financial transactions for them.
All financial transactions are done directly through either Commonwealth (only for advisory/consulting fees) or NFS (for investment transactions/accounts)– not Roloff Retirement Solutions, Inc. Your statements and online account access are provided directly through them. This is important as we do not have the access to manipulate data as Bernie Madoff did – he owned and controlled his own broker-dealer and custodian.
This leaves one more concern – what if something happens to Ryan? It is important to note that while Ryan builds asset allocation and financial plans – he uses professionally managed funds (mutual funds, ETF’s, Reit’s, etc.) He is not actively trading any portfolios on a daily basis – so the large majority of funds are still being managed whether he is in the office or not. As for servicing needs, the staff of his office can handle many requests such as deposits or withdrawals, address changes, etc. If a trade does need to be placed, they will contact a licensed representative within the Commonwealth organization. Should Ryan not be returning to the office (he passes away) – we do not currently have a formal succession plan in place - but Commonwealth has many other local advisors that we will be meeting with to setup a formal succession plan. Your accounts would be serviced by another Commonwealth supervisor or advisor – but you would also be free to transfer accounts to another local advisor if you so desire. This really isn’t any different than any large Wall Street firm – except that the location of the office would change. Ryan does plan on living and working for at least another 25 years – and if we can find the right fit for a formal succession plan – we will put that in place.