Contact Me

Shelter from the storm

My investment strategies share an overarching theme — focus on the things within your control. By focusing on fundamental principles, I believe investors have the best chance for success. These principles are enduring, and they guide the investment decisions I help my clients make.

1  Know your Goals

Without a plan, investors can be tempted to focus on transitory factors such as fund ratings— something that can amount to a "buy high, sell low" strategy.

2  Invest with Balance

How you allocate your investments across the asset classes will determine a large proportion of your return— and also the majority of your volatility risk. Broad diversification reduces your exposure to specific risks while providing opportunity to benefit from the markets' current leaders.

3  Minimize Cost

You cannot control the markets, but you can control what you pay to invest. And that can make an enormous difference over time.

4  Maintain Discipline

Perspective and discipline are the qualities that can help you stay committed to your plan through periods of market uncertainty.

The American economy is going to do fine. But it won't do fine every year and every week and every month. I mean, if you don't believe that, forget about buying stocks anyway... It's a positive-sum game, long term. And the only way an investor can get killed is by high fees or by trying to outsmart the market.

~ Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

In Practice

Trust. I am an independent, fee-only fiduciary. I receive no commissions or referral fees of any kind. My advice is based on skillful assessment and drawn from years of academic research, but the end results are relatively simple and completely transparent.


A road map is essential. I will help you draft an investment policy statement to crystallize your goals, define your plan and provide you with perspective through the ups and downs of the market.

Asset allocation accounts for 90% of total return. I will help you assess your risk tolerance and tailor an asset allocation that supports your values, goals and investment style.

Fees. They compound over time and quietly eat away at returns. I will help you manage them.

It’s not buy and hold... it’s buy, hold and rebalance. Rebalancing can help you avoid the costliest mistake of all: buying high and selling low. I can assist with this process, and support you to stay disciplined when the markets move sharply.


It's not that difficult, no matter what Wall Street says. (Honestly, the theory is relatively simple; it's the behavioral mistakes that will get you.) By the time we're finished, you will understand what you're invested in; why you’re invested in it; how much it is costing; and how your portfolio is performing relative to meaningful benchmarks over time.


You are in control.   Whether you decide to manage your own investments, or have a professional manage them for you, you can and should understand the fundamentals each step of the way.

The four most dangerous words in investing?  "This time it's different."

~ Sir John Templeton

The Process

Complimentary Phone Consultation:  510.684.5625
Please call for a complimentary consultation. We'll address any questions about my services, and discuss your interests and circumstances. Ultimately, we'll decide if a meeting makes sense, and if it does, I’ll provide you with options on how to prepare. (In other words, you’ll have the choice to prepare a little or a lot.)

Introductory Meeting
In our first meeting, which typically runs about two hours, we’ll start with your questions and concerns. Then we'll address them in the context of your short-term and long-term goals; current assets and investments (if any); risk tolerance in relation to your objectives; and educational interests and needs. In addition, if it appears to be in your best interest, and you agree, we'll execute a plan for developing a comprehensive investment strategy tailored for you and your loved ones. The fee for this initial meeting is $125.00.

Hourly Advice or Portfolio Management
Most people don't have the time or inclination to manage their own portfolios. For others, it's enjoyable to manage their own assets, with only periodic professional reviews. Either way, I can be of assistance. In addition, if you’re not sure which approach is best for you — i.e., hourly services per your request, or ongoing portfolio management for an annual fee — we’ll allow you time to decide. What's important is that you feel informed and comfortable, and I know you well enough to make responsible recommendations.

Diversification of risk through the ownership of low-correlated assets is the only free lunch in investing.

~ Larry Swedroe, What Wall Street Doesn't Want You to Know

Fees

I hope you will view my fees as an investment rather than as an expense. Truly independent advice can save you more money and earn you more money than you may realize. The longer your horizon, the more this holds true.


Your investment can pay off by reducing mutual fund and trading fees, reducing tax liabilities, boosting investment returns, or even preventing a costly financial catastrophe. There can also be intangible benefits: time conserved for family and friends; peace of mind; and the self-confidence that comes with demystifying the process and applying sound investing principles over time.

Needs-Based Fees
The initial phone consultation is free-of-charge.


The fee for the two-hour Introductory Meeting is $125.​


Additional assistance per your request is billed at $100 per hour, including in-person or telephonic meetings, research, report preparation, etc.

In general, the total cost for analysis, development and implementation of a tailored investment portfolio ranges from $500 to $2,000, depending on the complexity of your circumstances and your personal interests and needs.

Ongoing Portfolio Management
It’s interesting that advisors charge more to manage smaller portfolios. For example, if you have over $500,000 in assets the annual fee would be 0.7%; but if you have less than $500,000 in assets, the annual fee is 1%.

My management fee is the same regardless of portfolio size. In addition, my portfolio management services are available for portfolios beginning at $200,000. Finally, my "passive" investment philosophy enables a very competitive rate:

My fee for ongoing portfolio management is 0.4% annually, regardless of portfolio size.

Commissions and Referral Fees
I receive no commissions or referral fees for any of the investments I recommend.

Fight the urge to be perfect. Instead, design a good plan, implement that plan, and maintain that plan. You will be much further ahead by doing so.

~ Richard Ferri, All About Asset Allocation

About Me

I have been privileged to help people for over 25 years, first as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) specializing in employee health and behavioral risk management, now as a Registered Investment Advisor.


My mission is simple:  to help as many people as I can realize their financial goals by focusing on fundamental principles within their control.


I hold a BA from Stanford University and two Master Degrees from UC Berkeley.  In addition, I maintain my LCSW, as this training only enhances my assessment and coaching skills.


I am a Registered Investment Advisor certified with the State of California. I have completed the Uniform Investment Advisor Law (Series 65) examination administered by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA). This exam tests essential knowledge in such areas as market theory, retirement planning, investment vehicles and portfolio management strategies.


Finally, please don't worry if your knowledge or experience are limited. What you know today isn't important; it's what you do today to start protecting yourself. I am deeply committed to my fiduciary responsibility, and I take great pride in building trusting client relationships.

fi·du·ci·ar·y
/fə•do͞oSHē•erē/
An affirmative duty of utmost good faith to act solely in the best interests of the client and to make full and fair disclosure of all material facts.

Please click here for my SEC/California file, Form ADV:  
CRD# 170000 (search by Firm as sole proprietors are certified as firms)

And please call for a complimentary consultation:  510.684.5625

I'll be delighted to answer any questions you may have.


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Patrick T. Conlin
Registered Investment Advisor