Financial consultant Antoine Orr is not your garden-variety financial practitioner. He has championed the fee-for-service business model since 2008, after more than a decade in the commissioned-based environment. It was during his time as a commissioned-based advisor that he realized his advice was conflicted due to the lure of the high commission and ongoing annual investment management fee. He says, “I did not feel I was able to provide the highest quality of care that my clients deserved.”
After writing a book and leading seminars for national organizations, Orr said, that the feedback from the pubic was unanimous, “They wanted more from advisors. They wanted a conflict-free environment where no one was trying to sell them a product … I knew there was a better way to deliver good advice, and the only way to give it was to change the compensation model,” says Orr.
Back to basics advice
Orr provides a different kind of financial advice. He is not a fan of 401(k) plans. He says that “over time, the all-in plan costs, fees, and expenses can often be greater than the upfront tax deduction and or employer match.” Instead, he prefers to focus on helping his clients pay down debt and accumulate cash in risk-free accounts before they invest in at-risk accounts such as exchange traded funds (ETFs), separately managed accounts (SMAs) and individual stocks. Orr says, “If a client is paying out more in principle and interest on her debt than she is earning in her 401(k), that is a major problem.” He adds, “401(k) plans were intended to supplement income from a defined pension plan and not to be the primary source of a person’s retirement income.”
New model removes conflicts
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, consumers find it difficult to trust financial professionals. Orr says “consumers should not have to trust their financial professional is doing what is right with her money.” He says “It is difficult for consumers not to be skeptical when an ongoing annual asset management fee is being charged or a commission is being paid.” He believes it is better for many consumers to pay a flat fee per year for a comprehensive financial plan, investment advice, or an hourly fee for his consulting services.” And when it comes to his clients buying the insurance, annuity, or investment product that he recommends, his clients can chose if they want to purchase those products through him or another financial professional, as he has already been compensated for his time. “This is a win-win situation for everyone,” says Orr.
For many of Orr’s clients, paying a fee for service is what they are accustomed too, as most use the services of an accountant or attorney. “This type of client understands the value in receiving high quality, transparent, conflict-free advice,” says Orr.
The fee-for-service model is not for everyone. This structure attracts individuals who are serious about their money. “The ideal client is someone [ages] 45 to 64 years old— who has a financial advisor/planner, a mortgage, student loans, a brokerage account, and is saving for retirement.
According to Orr, spending more time with clients has led to an increase in the number of benefits. Such as:
Personal touch. “I am able to provide a level of service that cannot be found in many sales- driven financial advisor offices,” says Donna Dunham, Orr’s executive assistant. “I can spend more time talking about grandchildren, dogs, and vacation spots, and our clients really value that.”
Performance and profits. “I feel we can deliver greater protection and profits for our clients’ investment and insurance portfolios,” says Adimu Waters, CFP, Orr’s retirement income specialist.
Cost Benefits. If the expected costs of a particular investment strategy are greater than the expected future benefits, stop the presses,” says Orr. “We do not focus on rates of return. We focus on return of capital plus interest.”
Higher standard of care. As a licensed Investment Advisor under the SEC Act of 1940, Orr is a fiduciary. He is required to place the interest of his clients first and to disclose any conflicts of interest. He says that this gives him a distinct advantage over many of his colleges who operate under the SEC Act of 1934. This group of financial professionals are only required to make recommendations that are suitable (not the most cost effective) for their clients, and they are not required to place the clients interest first or disclose any conflicts of interest.
Accessibility. One of the many advantages in using Orr’s consulting services is “clients are able to call me from the car dealership and get my advice,” says Orr. His client’s also call him when they are buying a home, other real estate, or considering a business opportunity. “They love the idea that they can lean on my firm for advice and support, and not worry about being pressured in to buying something from me” says Orr.
Personal satisfaction. The biggest benefit Orr receives is knowing that he is able to save a client from a preventable financial setback due to advice given by a conflicted financial professional. “Seeing the smile on their face makes me feel my work is worthwhile,” says Orr.
For information on consulting packages or booking Mr. Orr for financial seminars, please contact us.