The Fernandez Hipple Group at Morgan Stanley
The team at The Fernandez Hipple Group at Morgan Stanley knows that successful wealth management requires a focus that goes beyond just investments.
They’ve created a series of steps to ensure they are making the best decisions for their clients, and that the financial plans they develop are flexible enough to adapt when their clients’ lives change.
The Fernandez Hipple Group at Morgan Stanley
• Asset management
• Assistance in Social Security planning
• Income planning
• Education planning
• Insurance planning
• Long-term care planning
“The way we view wealth management is that it has to cover a couple of different planning segments of one’s financial well-being,” says Carlos F. Fernandez, Senior Vice President and Wealth Advisor of The Fernandez Hipple Group at Morgan Stanley. “Everyone thinks of wealth management in terms of investments, but what are you doing with your assets? How are you positioning them? What is your overall investment strategy? We also look at other factors, such as Social Security planning, income, long-term-care planning, estate planning strategies, insurance, risk planning and education planning. We look at assets, yes, but you also have to look at the other buckets.”
One of the things that sets them apart is their ability during difficult times – after all, these experienced wealth advisors formed their group in 2010, after one of the worst recessions in history, by bringing together over 66 combined years of industry experience through Carlos Fernandez, Senior Vice President, Wealth Advisor with 25 years, Thomas Hipple, First Vice President, Wealth Advisor with 30 years and Michael Feranec, Certified Financial Planner, Financial Advisor with 11 years.
“One of the focuses we do emphasize is that in the investment space, we use flexible allocation in our discretionary strategies,” Fernandez says. “We focus on participating in positive markets, but we also focus on protecting assets and profiting in volatile markets. If these are volatile times, let’s protect your assets and maybe make a profit.”
Morgan Stanley is one of the world’s largest wealth management firms, and he couples its resources with the personalized attention and customized planning his group provides clients.
“In order for us to do our jobs, we have to have a full understanding of our clients, not just their assets, but everything,” he says. To that end, the group has developed a process of four steps.
First is the discovery meeting, an initial consultation. “It’s essentially conducting a financial physical, as if you went to a doctor,” Fernandez says. A series of questions helps determine what clients need in the long term and also what they want in the short term: perhaps a second home or funding education for their children. The ultimate goal, of course, is retirement. One area of particular concern is planning for long-term care, which has become increasingly costly.
After the discovery meeting, the group develops a financial plan, which is then reviewed at the investment planning meeting with the client. Says Fernandez, “We call it a roadmap, because things change: such as the loss of a job, the selling of a business or maybe something happens to a family member.” The client then takes the information home to digest it.
The third meeting is the mutual commitment meeting, where Fernandez makes sure the clients are fully comfortable with the plan. Finally, The Fernandez Hipple Group at Morgan Stanly provides ongoing communication, forming a relationship with the client that will guide them through life’s changes.
These steps are particularly important for those who are new to the idea of wealth management. A big mistake people make, says Fernandez, is not having a plan.
“The term wealth management scares people – they think you have to have a lot of assets. I think people feel they don’t need a wealth advisor until they have a sizeable estate. For life goals you need a financial plan.”
While the firm does not have minimums, it generally works with clients who have roughly $500,000 to invest. Some clients have large 401(k)s that comprise a significant portion of their assets. The group is adept at planning with clients who are still in athe accumulating stage and those who’ve stopped working and are in the distribution phase.
Much of the group’s business comes from referrals from satisfied clients. The company also hosts a series of investment seminars at local restaurants to introduce the concept of wealth management in a less formal setting.
When it comes to retirement, Fernandez says, “There is absolutely no right or wrong answer. Some people say they want to do a little consulting and some want to do nothing, but you don’t know how you’re going to feel until you get there.” A flexible roadmap helps to ensure that whatever the answer turns out to be, it can happen. I95