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Types of Advisory Services

(An Excerpt from Our Form ADV Brochure)


The predominant type of advisory service provided by Five Seasons Financial Planning is “Wealth Management”, a combination of: (1) ongoing and discretionary investment management, and (2) integrated financial planning.  However, in limited circumstances described below, Five Seasons also offers a Financial Planning Project service.

In performing its services, Five Seasons Financial Planning is not required to verify any information received from the client or from the client's other professionals.

Wealth Management

Five Seasons Financial Planning first conducts an initial interview and gathers data to determine the client's current financial situation, investment objectives, investment time horizon, investment preferences and constraints, need for income, tax situation, and tolerance for risk.  These various inputs, and any additional client feedback, are then combined into a written Investment Policy Statement.  This document then serves as the foundation on which our ongoing discretionary investment management decisions will be based.

As part of the Wealth Management service, Five Seasons also oversees the process of transferring client accounts and/or assets to our institutional custodian, TD Ameritrade, and assists the client with any relevant paperwork to achieve this.  Asset allocation and investment decisions are then made, in our best judgment, to help clients attain their overall investment objectives within the bounds of the Investment Policy Statement.  To this end, Five Seasons dynamically rebalances client portfolios, employs tax management strategies, and utilizes tactical asset allocation on an ongoing basis, and if appropriate. 

The Wealth Management engagement also includes ongoing, non-investment, financial planning services (e.g. retirement planning and projections, tax minimization strategies, insurance needs analyses and reviews, advice on debt management and education funding, etc.).  We begin to address the client’s most immediate or pressing financial planning issues and concerns as the client’s initial investments are being implemented.  Over time, as the client’s financial circumstances and objectives evolve, additional financial planning services are furnished when needed or requested by the client.

At the end of every quarter, Five Seasons provides the client with a position statement on the investment accounts under its management.  And semi-annually, we provide the client with a performance report on the investment accounts held at TD Ameritrade Institutional.  Every year, Five Seasons offers a meeting to review the client’s investment accounts, to discuss financial market conditions, to determine if the assumptions underlying the Investment Policy Statement are still valid, and to assess the need to address any other financial planning issues.

Each client is advised that it remains his/her responsibility to promptly notify Five Seasons when there is any change in his/her financial situation and/or financial objectives for the purpose of reviewing, evaluating, or revising previous recommendations and/or services.

As of FEBRUARY 14, 2017, Five Seasons Financial Planning manages approximately $54.8 million in assets for approximately 50 client households with about 180 accounts under management.  Of this amount, about $51.4 million is managed on a discretionary basis, with the balance being non-discretionary.

Financial Planning Projects  

Five Seasons Financial Planning also offers Fee-Only Financial Planning services on a project basis.  However, these services are only provided to:

1. clients seeking advice solely on non-investment financial planning issues, or

2. clients not meeting the minimum level of investible assets required for Wealth Management services (please see the sub-section entitled “Account Minimums” below for more information), or

3. clients meeting the minimum level of investible assets required for Wealth Management services, but simply looking for a critique of their current investments or a determination of an appropriate overall asset allocation, without specific investment recommendations or help with implementation.

These Financial Planning Project services are offered for a fixed fee per project that is dependent on the scope of engagement.  That is, the greater the time and effort required to address the financial planning issues in a given project, the higher the proposed Project fee.  Projects may be general in nature or focused on particular areas of interest or need, depending upon each client’s unique circumstances.  Advice may be rendered in the areas of cash flow and debt management, risk management, college funding, retirement planning, estate planning, tax planning, asset allocation and investment selection.  In providing this type of service, Five Seasons primarily employs fundamental, long-term financial planning and investment strategies. 

When providing Financial Planning Project services, Five Seasons first conducts an initial interview and gathers data to assist the client in determining specific needs, goals, objectives and tolerance for risk, if applicable.  We then prepare analyses of the client’s current financial situation and possible future scenarios, when appropriate.  Next, Five Seasons presents the analysis verbally and a written summary of the significant observations, assumptions and recommendations for each area in which we were engaged to provide advice.  Upon the completion of this presentation, the engagement is concluded. Implementation of the recommendations is at the discretion of the client.  Clients may re-engage Five Seasons Financial Planning as needed, including for help with implementation (except as noted above in Item 3).  Periodic financial check-ups are recommended and it is the client’s responsibility to initiate this review.


Account Minimums


Wealth Management

In offering Wealth Management services, Five Seasons Financial Planning generally requires a minimum dollar value of client investment assets under management of $250,000.  However, this condition may be waived if the client's financial circumstances indicate that that level will be attained in due course.  Other exceptions may apply to relatives of existing clients, or of firm principals.

Furthermore, if Five Seasons is being engaged to create and supervise a portfolio of individual equity or fixed-income securities (as opposed to mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and closed-end funds), we may require a higher minimum account size in order to generate an adequate degree of diversification without incurring excessive transaction costs.  In this case, the minimum asset level will be dependent on the proposed types of investments (e.g. individual stocks and fixed-income securities versus mutual and exchange-traded funds) and on the diversity and quantity of client assets not under our management.

Financial Planning Projects

In offering Financial Planning Project services, Five Seasons does not impose a minimum dollar value of client assets or income.  However, for the purpose of entering into an investment-related engagement, the Advisor generally does impose a maximum level of client investible assets of $250,000 (please refer to the “Types of Advisory Services” section above for the exception).