Design. Execute. Monitor.
Investment Management Services
Our Investment Management Services (or Assets Under Management) can help you with the “Execute and Monitor” stage of your financial plan. Once your initial financial plan is created and a portfolio is designed, you are ready for implementation. Some people choose to perform the implementation of their plan as a “do-it-yourselfer.” Before you embark on that journey, please read about Doing Investment Management Yourself to understand the full complexities.
You may want to consider our Investment Management Services if any of these conditions apply:
- Are not comfortable with an investment account set-up, selling, buying and rebalancing a portfolio
- Don’t know how to effectively manage a withdraw strategy across a portfolio consisting of taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free accounts
- Are approaching diminishing capacity, where it just isn’t feasible
- Don’t understand or are unhappy with your current Investment Management fee structure
- Want more meaningful quarterly reports providing insights on how you are doing with your Plan goals and objectives
If any of these apply to you, we are glad to assist with our Investment Management Services. Coupled with our On-Going Financial Planning service, we believe that you will experience a greater chance of success in reaching your Plan goals. We will provide you with very low and transparent fee schedules, meaningful quarterly reporting, and rebalancing based on your personal risk tolerance.
We build portfolios for long-term investors. All our portfolios have a few things in common:
- Fiduciary Model
- No commissionable products
- Low cost funds with long track records
- Periodic rebalancing
- Low management fees: Services fee schedule
- Professionally managed
- Outside Manager with decades of experience
- Custodian: TD Ameritrade
Investment Management Philosophies
There Must be a Plan
One of our basic principles is being unbiased and independent thinkers for our clients. We are not “asset gatherers”. Therefore, we do not perform Investment Management Services without a written Initial Plan. We believe investing is a well-defined strategy to meet YOUR specific long-term goals. An Initial Plan and On-Going Financial Planning provide the foundation and investment policy required to make sure we are investing your assets with your best interest at heart.
Generally, our investment management services are based on a globally diversified strategy involving a long-term, disciplined approach that manages risk through appropriate asset allocation. We recognize that each client’s needs and goals are different. Subsequently, portfolio strategies and underlying investment vehicles may vary. The following are common strategies we employ in client portfolios:
- “Passive” Investing (Exchange Traded Funds or ETFs)
- “Active” Investing (Passive Core / Active Satellites)
- “Factor-based” Investing (using academic research to obtain yield advantage)
Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT)
MPT is an award-winning theory developed by Nobel Prize winner Harry Markowitz in 1952. According to Investopedia, MPT is “A concept from finance that describes ways of diversifying and allocating assets in a financial portfolio in order to maximize the portfolio’s expected return given the owner’s risk tolerance.”
Global Market Portfolio
Nobel Prize winner William Sharpe concluded in 1964 that another Nobel Prize winner, James Tobin’s super-efficient portfolio is the “global market portfolio,” which represents how all investors collectively allocate their investments
Nobel Prize winner Eugene Fama demonstrated in 1965 that the stock market is highly “efficient” and that price movements are difficult, if not impossible, to predict in the short-term.
Given the above three philosophies from 4 Nobel Prize winners, we do not subscribe to market timing or day-trading of individual equity selections, sectors, or geographies.
Investing for Retirement Planning and Safe Withdrawal Rates
If you are at or near retirement, you may have a lot of questions on how your current portfolio may segue into a retirement portfolio and how to safely withdraw from the retirement portfolio. Much study has been given to Safe Withdrawal Rates and how to generate a retirement income stream. We won’t explore the details here, but the bottom line questions are:
- How much can you safely withdraw from your portfolio each year?
- From which fund types should you withdraw from?
Setting up a Core / Satellite portfolio can be the foundation of a “bucket strategy” to help manage your retirement portfolio. For example, consider the “Passive Core” to be a Global ETF portfolio and a couple “satellite” funds for cash withdrawals and emergency funds. Now you have a strategy to withdraw from the satellite accounts for your expenses or goals needs.
Annual rebalancing can put everything back to the original portfolio design.
Example of Core / Satellite for a Retirement Portfolio
Outside Investment Managers
We have chosen to use an outside manager to perform the buying, selling, and rebalancing of the assets. The outside manager has significant experience, long track records, and are very well known within the industry. They provide economies of scale that a small consulting firm such as ourselves, simply cannot provide. The result is better service for our clients AT A LOWER COST!
Above all, we choose the money managers that best met our investment management philosophies as outlined above, especially in alignment with the 4 Nobel Prize winners mentioned.
Personalization based on your written Retirement Plan is also paramount, designing a portfolio to match your risk tolerance, investing objectives, and investment strategy that is best for you.
First Ascent Asset Management, LLC
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication
– Leonardo Da Vinci
We build and manage the Global ETF portfolios to provide low-cost access to the global securities markets for those who prefer a purely passive approach to investing.
These portfolios are comprised entirely of low-cost ETFs that track US and international equity and fixed income markets. We keep the composition and ongoing management of the Global ETF portfolios elegantly simple to minimize the costs to clients.
There are no transaction fees associated with the purchase or sale of the ETFs used in these portfolios at our primary custodian.Each portfolio tracks a fixed asset allocation target that is not adjusted or modified over time, although these portfolios are rebalanced periodically.
These portfolios do not include any actively managed mutual funds or ETFs.
We build and manage the Global Explorer portfolios using a core plus satellite approach that combines both active and passive investment styles.
The core is the foundation of each portfolio. It consists of low-cost exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track US and international equity and fixed income markets.
We may add satellites to a portfolio to complement the core. Satellites may consist of actively managed mutual funds, passively managed index funds, or ETFs. The goal of adding satellites is to benefit from an asset class, skilled manager, or specialized strategy that may improve returns, create a new source of diversification, or control risk.
Each portfolio has a target asset allocation that defines the proportion of equity to fixed income and US to international investments. We may adjust these targets by plus or minus 5%.
We build and manage our Factor Select portfolios to benefit from “factors” that research has shown have historically had favorable performance qualities. Factors are characteristics common to a group of securities that help explain their returns.
The portfolios are built using ETFs or mutual funds that track US or international equity or fixed-income markets. These funds provide added exposure to the value, size, quality, and momentum factors. These factors are not highly correlated, giving the portfolios added diversification.
We don’t favor one factor over another. They are approximately equally weighted, although their weightings will change with market movements. We don’t make factor allocation changes or attempt to time our factor exposures.
We select funds using an open architecture approach that dramatically expands the universe of funds we can use. Using funds from firms that define and combine factors differently provides an additional layer of diversification.A Research-Driven StrategyUsing academic research to seek a performance advantage.
View/Download First Ascent Brochure
Scott MacKillop, JD. Scott has over 40 years of financial services experience. He is the founder and CEO of First Ascent Asset Management.
Patrick Krulik, CFA. Patrick has over 14 years of financial services experience. He is the Chief Investment Officer of First Ascent Asset Management.
Independent Members of First Ascent’s Investment Committee
Charles Burgess, CFA. Chuck has over 15 years of experience as a Senior Portfolio Manager at Frontier Asset Management, and Senior Fund Analyst at Oppenheimer Funds.
Mary Kathryn Campion, Ph.D., CFA, AIFA. President and Founder, Champion Capital Research. Dr. Campion has decades of experience as a financial economist and portfolio strategist.
Shane Morrow, CFP®, CIMA, CAIA, CFA Level II candidate. Shane has over 15 years of financial services experience. He is Managing Partner of IronBridge Wealth Counsel.
Geoff Selzer, CFA. Geoff has over 20 years of financial services experience. He served as a Senior Vice President at Envestnet/PMC and as Director of Consulting Services at Prima Capital.
Merrill Stillwell, CFA. Managing Partner, Blue Mountain Investments. Before founding Blue Mountain Investments, Merrill was an analyst at Denver Investments from 2010-2014.
Neither Kastler Financial Planning nor First Ascent Asset Management take possession of client funds or securities. Funds are held at custodian, TD Ameritrade.
Past performance is not indicative of future performance. Investing involves substantial risk and has the potential for partial or complete loss of funds invested. Investments mentioned may not be suitable for all investors. Before investing in any investment product, potential investors should consult their financial or tax advisor, accountant, or attorney with regard to their specific situation.