In today’s investment environment, advisors seem to lose sight of what is best for their clients and instead focus on what is best for the advisor. In doing so, client portfolios too often contain investments that have high fee structures and seem to fall short on returns. Dreher Investment Services (DIS) has created a unique environment that puts the client’s best interest first.
What Makes DIS Distinct
In 1997, DIS made a significant decision regarding the formula by which our compensation was derived from our clients. Very simply, we resolved to eliminate the capacity to receive any type of commission payments or transaction-based fees from any source. We elected to shift the basis for our compensation solely to an annualized percentage-of-assets fee. The impacts of this change upon our investment management philosophy were dramatic, as follows:
- No longer were transactional decisions affected by the noticeable distraction of how much commission revenues would be generated for the firm. (This was particularly true for mutual fund investments, which often pay significant up-front commissions and might also pay “trailer” commissions for years thereafter.)
- In a purely “fee-only” management environment, an advisor’s focus shifts almost exclusively to the on-going bottom-line performance of each client account. The reason makes sense for both the client and the firm: If bottom-line performance is consistently competitive and positive, the client’s basic goal is being achieved and the firm’s fee income increases proportionately with that success. Alternatively, if and when client portfolio values decline, so too do the firm’s revenues.
Because we are a strictly fee-only independent advisory firm, DIS chooses to utilize a fairly simple yet diverse combination of equity mutual funds, common stocks and high-grade bonds that deliver clearly-competitive performance without the distraction of transactional fees and commissions that would impact our clients’ performance.
By DIS putting the client’s best interest first, it is easy to recognize the difference we provide in the overall management of a client’s portfolio. Our priorities are simple; competitiveness of performance, straight-forward pricing of our services and clearly communicating our investment philosophy.