Do You Have Questions?

Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive.

Wealth Management

  • Private wealth management is a highly sophisticated combination of financial planning, investment management, and personal relationship, with the ultimate aim of helping clients achieve their financial life goals.

    To put it another way, imagine you were planning a car trip from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles. You’d need both a reliable map (or these days, a GPS system) and enough gas in your tank to reach your goal successfully. The same holds true for your financial goals: Financial planning is the map, showing you exactly what you need to do to reach your destination successfully, while investment management ensures you have enough money (or gas in the tank) to do so.

  • Money managers are typically unaware of anyone’s individual financial planning goals and objectives. Money management usually involves managing a portfolio to a specific investment style with a suitable benchmark for whatever style the money manager specializes in. Most investors would allocate only a portion of their wealth to any single money manager and typically retain the responsibility for decisions about overall asset allocation and manager selection.

    By contrast, wealth management is the process of coordinating a client’s financial planning goals and objectives with a portfolio strategy best suited to achieve them. Clients typically allocate the majority of their assets to a wealth manager and delegate the responsibility for ongoing asset allocation and manager selection decisions to the wealth manager. In addition, wealth managers typically advise on all aspects of the client’s financial plan.

  • No, we don’t sell insurance, stocks, annuities, or any other investment vehicle. We provide a completely unbiased fee-based advisory service, with no conflicts of interest or behind-the-scenes motivations.

  • Personal financial planning is a process of making decisions about all areas of your financial life. The process includes gathering information about your assets, liabilities, spending, and income; discussing and identifying goals and objectives; modeling and presenting financial solutions; then implementing the plan using either tax and legal strategies or investment and risk management recommendations.

    The financial planning process is an art and a science where a good planner can literally lead a client through a process of self-discovery about how they feel about money and what they want to accomplish with their lives. We believe that excellent financial planning is just as much about people and families as it is about computer modeling and the latest tax strategies.

  • A financial planner is a trusted counselor who can help guide you through making good decisions in what can be a complicated financial world. Excellent planners can help you to be more objective and less emotional in your decision-making process. They can also help educate you about tax and legal issues that can be difficult to understand. A comprehensive financial plan involves expertise in a variety of disciplines that most individuals probably don’t have the time to properly research.

  • Our services are entirely fee-based, and free from any conflicts of interest. You'll find our fee schedule here. 

  • Our clients have large, complex financial situations that require comprehensive, integrated, and objective advice. We serve as our clients’ financial advocate, helping them to find the most suitable financial plan and service offerings for their needs. We also provide direction and coordination for our clients’ other advisors so that our clients are relieved of day-to-day concerns about the management of their financial affairs. While our clients’ investable assets typically exceed $1 million, we are able to serve clients at every asset level.

    Our best clients value and implement our feedback and advice. They take advantage of the on-going financial- and investment-related education we offer. While it is not a requirement, we know that the best Pinnacle clients are individuals looking to establish a close, long-lasting relationship with their financial advisor.

  • Although Pinnacle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, we work with clients all over the world. Thanks to the development of new communication technologies, we're able to make sure the experience of our out-of-the-area clients is as positive as that of our local clients.

    To do that, we use...

    * Skype and GoToMeeting for virtual meetings.

    * A highly secure online client vault to store and exchange sensitive financial documents.

    * MoneyGuidePro so clients can examine their financial plans, and see how changes to different variables effects the outcome.

    * Youtube and our website for client updates, briefings, and announcements.

  • First, you can expect us to get to know you well. We strive to learn as much as possible about our clients because it helps us to guide them toward better financial decisions.

    Second, you can expect attention to detail, prompt response to letters, calls and emails, clear reasoning for our recommendations, diligent execution of the tasks at hand, and confidentiality in all matters.

    Finally, you can expect absolute honesty and integrity in every meeting, every observation, and every recommendation we make. You can and should expect us to adhere to the highest ethical and professional standards in every aspect of our relationship.

  • Additional Questions?

    Did you find the answer to your question? If not, please click the button below to contact us directly. We'd be happy to address any questions you might have!


  • Our Investment Philosophy can be found here.

  • In the minds of status quo investors, “market timing” is akin to gambling. They believe that the decision to sell based on the valuation of securities is too risky given the possibility that timers will improperly assess value and sell too early or too late.

    We disagree. Active management, by definition, requires an element of market timing. After all, while selling an overvalued security to buy an undervalued security is a risk-reducing strategy, it requires an in- vector to ‘time’ the sell and the buy.

    The critics are right that taking portfolios to asset allocation extremes is an unnecessary and risk-increasing strategy. That’s why we reject the day-trading and short-term swing-trading approaches that advocate keeping 100% of your capital in cash and only deploy- ing it when a trading opportunity presents itself. Taking a portfolio to a 100% cash position means that you are 100% certain of your investment forecast, and no-one can reasonably claim that. In addition, it would mean abandoning one of our unbreakable investment rules, which is to always own a diversified portfolio. Our investment time horizon is much longer than the one day period of the day-trader. We invest portfolios to outperform over a typical market cycle, which is usually one to five years. While we do analyze short- term market movements when timing our acquisition or sale of specific securities, our fundamental strategy is to take advantage of bull and bear markets over long periods.

    When used reasonably and with safeguards in place to prevent major investment errors, market timing is a tool to use in earning excess returns, and not some- thing to be feared or denigrated.

  • Operations

  • If the trade is being made with Mutual funds it takes the trading day plus more one day. If you are trading equities, it takes the trading day plus more three days.

  • Overnight Check – Delivered next day (if cash is readily available) - $8.50 (Schwab) or $8.00 (Fidelity)

    Wire – Same day (if cash is readily available) $25 (Schwab) or $15 (Fidelity)

    MoneyLink – Deposited into account next day (if cash is readily available) FREE

  • Once the account is opened the transfer process normally takes anywhere from 5-14 days depending on where the transfer is coming from.

  • All Operations employees are certified notaries.

  • You can change your password any time you like. Simply click on the My Settings link in the upper right corner of your screen (just under the Search window). That will bring you to the “My Settings” page. Choose Change Password from the menu on the right, to bring up the “Change Password” window. Enter your old password, and then the password you’d like to change it to. Enter the new password again in the “Confirm Password” window, and click Save. Any other questions regarding the Client Vault can be found here.

  • A. Schwab

    1. Best practice: Client's name and Schwab account number included in the Memo Line.

    2. Also acceptable: Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., with the Schwab account number included in the memo line.

    B. Fidelity

    1. Fidelity Investments

    2. National Financial Services, LLC

    3. Account holder exactly as it appears on the Brokerage Account Registration. Checks payable to the account holder must be endorsed by the account holder to prevent paying bank from returning the check to Fidelity.

  • That’s great! You can get started by clicking here.