Frequently Asked Questions

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Working with Us

What is the process of working with a new client?
After making the important decision to become a client, we meet for a discovery meeting. A discovery meeting usually takes a couple of hours and gives us a chance to learn a tremendous amount about your background, your goals, your fears, and your current financial situation. We’ll get copies of your tax returns, estate planning documents, account statements, and insurance policies. We then take this information and analyze it—looking for hidden opportunities and ways to optimize your current resources. Our objective is to take what we learned about your hopes and dreams in the discovery meeting and create a financial roadmap to help you achieve your goals. Once we know where you want to go and how to get there, we open Schwab investment accounts and transfer your assets into them. We recommend an investment strategy based on your goals, timeframe, age, risk tolerance, and other factors. Once the assets are at Schwab, we invest based on the allocation we agreed upon. We constantly monitor your asset allocation, the investments you own, economic factors, the markets, and other factors to determine if any changes are necessary. We will sit down with you at least once a quarter to discuss the performance of your investment accounts and to discuss any changes we recommend and any changes or issues in your life that require our assistance and support. We are available for questions throughout the quarter as well.
Do you help with things such as planning for college tuition, buying or leasing a car, refinancing, etc.?

Yes. These are very important issues in our clients’ lives, and we make sure we are involved. We help our clients reach their goals—not just invest their money. There are a lot of factors to consider when thinking about saving for college, buying a second home, investing in real estate, leasing a car, refinancing, etc. We empower our clients so they can make the best financial decisions possible.

How often will we meet face to face?

Typically, we see our clients between two and four times per year—and more often if necessary. It’s important for us to know what is happening in your life so we can determine if there are any financial implications and/or strategies we can recommend. For example, it’s always helpful if we know about any large one-time expenses in advance, any changes to your employment, issues at work, or hundreds of other issues that can come up in a conversation. We take advantage of the quarterly meeting to go over a client’s portfolio’s performance over the last three months. It is a great time to discuss what’s happening in the economy and in financial markets, what we predict for the future, and any specific allocation changes we recommend for a client’s portfolio.

Can I call and ask questions?

Definitely. Since we don’t charge by the hour, our clients feel welcome to call us with any questions, issues, or just to brainstorm. We look forward to these calls and take pride in our ability to help our clients in any way we can.

Will I get help opening new investment accounts?

Our clients are busy and the last thing many of them want to do is mess around with paperwork. We’ll do all the work for you. We will complete 100% of the account forms and provide them to you for review and signature.

Will I have access to my investment accounts on the Internet?
You sure will. Schwab provides 24/7 client access to their accounts over the Internet.
Will you file our tax returns?

No. We provide investment related tax advice but we are not CPAs, and we do not file our clients’ tax returns. We work closely with our clients’ CPAs to make sure they have all the information they need and to brainstorm creative tax strategies.

Will you create or modify our estate-planning documents (e.g., living trust, Will)?

No. Although we work closely with attorneys (we even have one on staff), we do not provide legal advice. We are more than happy to refer you to attorneys we’ve successfully worked with in the past, though.

How often are financial plans updated?

We update them as often as necessary throughout the year

Does the firm have relationships with CPAs, estate-planning attorneys, and other professionals I may need?

We work closely with our clients’ other professional advisors. Most of our clients already have existing relationships, and we are happy to become part of those clients’ teams. If a client doesn’t have a relationship with other professionals, we are more than happy to introduce them to CPAs, attorneys, mortgage brokers, and realtors.

Do I need to sign a contract that locks me with Pacifica for a set period of time?

We bill our clients quarterly, but you can terminate your relationship with Pacifica at any time and receive a refund of any fees you are owed.

Our Fees

What fees will I be paying?

You will pay three types of fees:

  1. Pacifica Management Fee – This is the fee you pay us for financial planning and ongoing investment management.
  2. Investment Fee – The investments we recommend may have their own internal fees. For example, if we recommend a mutual fund, the fund will charge you a fee. This fee automatically comes out of the fund and goes directly to the mutual fund company.
  3. Incidental Fees – These include such things as transaction fees when you buy or sell an investment (usually between $30 and $75 depending on the transaction size) or wire fees.
How do your fees compare with the fees charged by other firms?

We believe our fees are very attractive when compared to most brokerage firms and banks. We keep our internal costs low and pass on these efficiencies to our clients.

What is a typical fee for a financial plan?

Most financial plans are $5,000+. In some circumstances, a financial plan can cost less. A typical financial plan takes anywhere between 25 and 40 hours of work and can consume a substantial amount of time and resources. Therefore, they are not cheap, but they are worth their weight in gold. It’s the only way to really be able to plan, develop an appropriate investment allocation, and make sure your finances are optimized.

What is a typical ongoing management fee?

This fee is generally between 0.40% and 1.25% per year of the assets we manage.

Questions About The Company

What’s the difference between Pacifica and a firm such as Merrill Lynch or UBS?

Think David and Goliath. Pacifica is a small and independent firm dedicated solely to our clients. We do one and only one thing—look after our clients’ finances. Providing comprehensive wealth management advice is just one of a dozen things the bigger firms attempt to do. In addition, we don’t have our own investment products, we don’t provide loans, we don’t have an investment banking arm, we don’t charge commissions, we don’t sell insurance, and we don’t have a multi-million dollar advertising campaign (we don’t advertise). Gargantuan firms such as Merrill Lynch, UBS, Smith Barney, Morgan Stanley, and others attempt to be all things to all people. They have many masters to serve, and sometimes there can be conflict. They may make millions taking a company public and publicly recommend their clients buy that same stock to boost its price while, at the same time, criticizing that company behind closed doors. Many of these firms got into trouble doing this during the tech boom of the late 1990s. Pacifica is a registered investment advisor governed by the SEC, not a broker-dealer. What does this mean? Unlike the big (or small) brokerage firms, we are a fiduciary to our clients.

Does Pacifica provide financial advice besides investments?

We provide 360 Wealth Management; we want to know about anything that affects our clients financially so we can provide the best possible advice on risk management, insurance, identity theft, tax planning, estate planning, cash-flow, business transition planning, and more.

What makes Pacifica, a Registered Investment Advisor, different from a brokerage firm?

A brokerage firm is a firm that is considered a “broker dealer” and is governed by the FINRA, which is a self-regulatory body. An SEC Registered Investment Advisor is governed by an independent government body—the Securities and Exchange Commission. While financial advisors at brokerage firms (e.g., Merrill Lynch, UBS) have a fiduciary duty to their firm, Registered Investment Advisors have a fiduciary duty to their clients. For this reason, we are NOT a broker dealer. When your financial advisor, know his advice is independent, and knows his fiduciary duty is to you, you can be sure he is serving your best interests.

Does the firm focus on primarily serving Southern California?

While most of our clients live in Southern California, we have clients across the United States. Through technology, it’s just as easy to serve a client 3,000 miles away as it is to serve a client who lives just down the road.

How long has the company been in business?

The company was founded in 2006 by Robert Pagliarini, who has nearly two decades of experience in the financial services industry.

What kinds of clients does the firm focus on serving?

Pacifica is a specialized firm that serves a select group of clients. While nearly everyone could benefit from good financial advice, we have chosen to focus on sudden wealth recipients, affluent individuals and families, and business owners who have the following characteristics in common:

  • They look forward to having a long-term relationship with a firm they trust
  • They like the fact that we look at their total financial picture and not just a single account
  • They are open to advice
  • They are willing to take action and implement the financial advice we provide them
  • They understand and appreciate the need for financial planning and investment advice
  • They are friendly and easy to serve
Has the firm or have the principals been involved in any investment-related arbitrations or lawsuits?

No, never.

Investment Questions

Where are my investments and money held?

We utilize Charles Schwab’s Institutional division. Charles Schwab is a $22 billion company that is entrusted with nearly $1.3 trillion in client assets. Schwab has over 14,000 employees across 300 offices worldwide. Approximately 5,000 independent investment advisors are in custody of 1.5 million client accounts with Schwab. Your assets will be in good company.

Will I need to buy and sell investments myself or will Pacifica do this for me?

We can do this for you. Once we agree on an appropriate investment allocation and which investments are right for you, we can make those purchases for you through Schwab. This ensures that you stay abreast of the big picture while you let us handle the details.

How are investments bought and sold in an account?

Through our relationship with Schwab, we are able to buy and sell investments for you using a special secure website and through a dedicated trading phone line.

Will I receive information on the performance of my investment accounts?

Yes. Pacifica will send you a quarterly performance report that summarizes how all of your accounts at Schwab have performed over the previous quarter.

What kind of return can I expect on my investments?

There are many factors that determine your investment performance, including your allocation and the return of the overall market. We’d need to have a conversation about your portfolio before we could predict the kind of long-term return you can expect.

Will you help me invest my 401(k) or employer-sponsored retirement account?

Yes. We’ll look at all of your investments and make recommendations for all of them, including your 401(k).

How often will I get account statements?

Charles Schwab will send you monthly account statements directly, and Pacifica will send you quarterly performance reports.

Can I leave my investments where they are currently instead of transferring them?

Yes. If you have an existing relationship with a firm and/or advisor but you want a second opinion, we can be that extra layer of comfort and  confidence. We can do a one-time review of your finances or provide ongoing support and advice in conjunction with your current advisor.

How have your clients’ investments performed over the last few years?

This is a good question. One we are most often asked and one that is nearly impossible to answer effectively. As a potential client, you deserve to know how a firm that may be managing your hard-earned money has performed. It’s easy to talk a good game, but when the rubber meets the road, how have we done? We do not expect our clients to blindly trust us. However, it is difficult to provide a general answer to this question. An investment return is based, in part, on the allocation. Different clients have different allocations. One client may be in nearly all cash (for strategic reasons appropriate for that client), while another may have 80% of their portfolio in stocks. These two clients with very different allocations will also have very different investment returns. Which is more accurate? Each allocation and return is entirely accurate for that individual. This is why it is important to discuss your situation so we can make projections based on an allocation that may be right for you. We can then speak generally about how others in situations as close to yours as possible have performed.

What factors do you consider when you recommend an asset allocation?

Our objective is to know our clients and to create an allocation designed to meet their unique needs and goals. To accomplish this, we learn as much as we can about where that client has been, what resources they have available, their employment, goals, risk tolerance, and myriad other factors. We blend these personal factors with our thoughts and projections on the economy and financial markets. We run statistical calculations using complex software programs—adding the human element of reason and experience—to generate what we think is an appropriate investment allocation for a client. We then find what we consider to be the best institutional mutual funds, retail mutual funds, exchange traded funds, and private investments for each asset class we have identified within your allocation. Never content, we monitor this allocation and take changing market forces and changing client needs and objectives into consideration. What was appropriate last week may not be appropriate any longer. We engage in thoughtful research, contemplation, discussion and timely action.

Do you monitor your clients’ investments?

Absolutely. This is one of our areas of expertise and a critical service our clients want us to provide. Discovering a great investment is one thing, making sure it continues to stay a great investment is another thing. In addition to the initial due diligence we undertake, we continuously perform both qualitative and quantitative research on each investment. A buy and hold (or hope, as I like to say) can be dangerous.

How often do you buy or sell investments in a client’s account?

We suggest changes to a client’s portfolio when one or more of the following occur:

  1. If we anticipate changes to the economy or financial markets, we will overweight/underweight certain asset classes to preserve our clients’ portfolios and/or to take advantage of an investment we think will perform well. For example, if we think small cap stocks are poised to perform well, we will shift more of a client’s investments in this asset class. Conversely, if we think real estate is overvalued, we will decrease our clients’ exposure to this asset class.
  2. If we think an existing investment will under-perform, we’ll suggest selling it and moving into an alternative investment. We conduct a great deal of due diligence on the investments we recommend, and we monitor them constantly. There are a multitude of factors we consider including both qualitative (e.g., the broadness of a manager’s investment mandate) and quantitative (e.g., performance versus its peers). If, at any time, we are not happy with an investment, we’ll recommend selling it and buying a different investment.
  3. Changes in our clients’ lives may necessitate changes in their portfolios. This is why it is important for us to know what’s happening with our clients so we can adapt their portfolios to their lives.
Do you recommend investments in private companies?

Private equity and venture capital investing can produce very substantial returns. All huge companies were once small. A nominal investment in the beginnings of Microsoft or Starbucks would undoubtedly be worth a substantial sum today. For some clients, investing a small part of their assets in riskier companies can make sense. We help our clients evaluate private equity deals and how they might fit into their overall investment allocation.

What is your typical response time to a phone call or e-mail?

We pride ourselves on being accessible. We return every e-mail and phone call within 24 hours and often within an hour or two.

Will you provide client references we can speak to?

Yes, we will provide both client references as well as references of CPAs and attorneys with whom we have worked.

How long does it take to complete a financial plan?

From start to finish, it usually takes about four weeks to develop the kind of comprehensive plan we provide our clients.

Do you manage client assets on a discretionary or non-discretionary basis?

We do both. There are two options: discretionary and non-discretionary. A discretionary agreement gives Pacifica the ability to buy/sell investments without first contacting you. In practice, however, we involve clients in these decisions and try to get their approval first. A non-discretionary agreement requires Pacifica to receive written authorization from you before buying or selling any investment. Regardless of which type of management you choose, you will be absolutely involved in the investment process.

Let’s start a conversation.

We welcome your call (949-305-0500) or email.

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