We support clients in many ways, not only in the construction and maintenance of portfolios, but also as trusted advisers on a broad range of financial issues. From advice on refinancing a mortgage to saving for college tuition to understanding the financial effects of a marriage or divorce, we are here to serve you. Unlike other firms that may assign a support staff member as your primary point of contact, Dowling & Yahnke commits the expertise of our highly experienced portfolio managers to client needs.
Above all, we strive to excel at communication through concise writing, clear conversations, and attentive listening. We schedule regular meetings with our clients to assess any changes to their life circumstances and financial condition. We also compile quarterly reports detailing the investment holdings and performance of each client account. In addition, we publish a quarterly newsletter in which we analyze financial events, provide commentary on a topic of economic importance, and advise on matters of financial administration.
We also support clients through administrative functions such as proxy voting and securities claims filing. Where Dowling & Yahnke exercises discretionary authority over client securities, we will vote proxies on your behalf, with the fiduciary responsibility of voting in the best interest of clients and maximizing shareholder value. Using a third-party service provider, we offer the option of monitoring and filing securities claims class action litigation documents with claims administrators on behalf of our clients.
Communication, not only between Dowling & Yahnke and our clients, but also with their other trusted advisers, is the cornerstone of our investment process.
Working With Your Pension Administrator
We welcome the opportunity to work with third-party pension administrators. In coordination with them, we record the type of plan and title, along with the tax ID number. We facilitate the compilation of Form 5500, a pension tax report, using activities tracking. Our activities report includes beginning value, contributions and withdrawals, realized and unrealized gains/losses, income, and ending value. We also separately report individual and aggregate contributions made to the plan by source.
Should a pension plan terminate or liquidate, we work closely with the plan sponsor to manage the transfer of assets. This transfer may take the form of a lump sum distribution or a rollover to an IRA account. In consultation with your tax adviser, we facilitate the transfer in your best interests, ensuring the necessary documents, including beneficiary designation, are filed with the receiving custodian, if permitted. Once the pension assets have been distributed, we manage the investment of these retirement assets according to your needs.
We also administer non-qualified retirement vehicles such as SIMPLE IRAs and SEP-IRAs, including establishment of these accounts. As contributions are made, we manage those assets in the context of your overall investment objectives, including placement of investments in these accounts that would benefit the most from tax deferral.
Consultation With Your Tax Professional
At Dowling & Yahnke, we endeavor to communicate with your tax professional when warranted. For example, when your tax professional provides us with your prior year’s tax return, we are able to perform regular reviews of your tax brackets in order to select the appropriate investment vehicles. We take into consideration variables, such as tax-loss carry-forwards and Schedule K-1 filings, when selecting investments and placing them in the appropriate taxable or tax-deferred accounts.
Another critical touch point with your tax professional focuses on security cost basis. We maintain accurate cost basis information and independently reconcile to our custodians’ records. We track details such as the step-up in basis when taxable assets are transferred to heirs, as well as corporate actions such as stock splits, reverse splits, and called or retired debt. We review the custodians’ Form 1099 B and validate the cost basis information on securities that are reported to the IRS. Our detailed reviews include analysis of cash-in-lieu distributions, amortization and accretion of bonds, and accounting for certificates of deposit that have matured.
Moreover, on March 31, May 31, August 31, and December 15 of each year, we provide your tax professional with information needed for the payment of estimated taxes. For taxable accounts, we provide income, expense, realized gain and realized loss reports. For tax-deferred accounts, we provide details of contributions and withdrawals.
Additionally, we track the estimated distribution of capital gains. We manage purchases accordingly to avoid negative tax consequences such as buying just prior to a capital gains distribution.
We believe our ongoing dialogue with tax professionals provides our clients with coordinated and efficient management of their investments.
Coordination With Your Trusts & Estates Attorney
In many circumstances, correct titling of assets is critical, including when transferring assets to charities, and upon death, marriage, and divorce. We work diligently to ensure that your accounts are structured and titled appropriately, including navigating complex trusts such as GRATs, CRTs, QTIPs, and bypass trusts. We follow the direction of the Trusts & Estates attorney to ensure that trust accounts are properly funded and receive an appropriate step-up in basis, when applicable.
In the case of split-interest trusts, we perform trust accounting, tracking income and expenses, and distributing income on a periodic basis. We adhere to the standards of trust accounting established by the State of California, which govern the allocation of expenses to income versus principal. We ensure that distributions are directed to the appropriate beneficiaries and trust fees are deducted accordingly.
For retirement assets, we work with our clients and their attorneys to designate the appropriate beneficiaries. In addition, in our capacity as financial planners, we monitor our clients’ major life events, such as marriage or the passing of a loved one. Upon such events, we make our clients aware of implications with respect to beneficiary designations and assist them in making any necessary changes.
We conduct periodic client meetings, as desired, to review the portfolio and Investment Policy, as well as, discuss any significant changes in our clients’ lives or financial situation. In addition, we maintain an ongoing dialogue with clients’ tax professionals, estate planning attorneys, and other advisers. We take great pride in open communication with our clients and their trusted advisers. We believe responsiveness and openness are key elements of the value we offer to clients.