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Frequently Asked Questions

What does “fee only” mean?

“Fee only” means that Highland Investment Advisors (“HIA”) does not accept referral fees or commissions from selling any investment product. Being fee only, our compensation is derived solely from asset based fees or hourly fees for specific financial planning engagements. We believe commissions and referral fees create conflicts of interest, because those forms of renumeration incentivize recommendations for particular products.

Why is choosing a fee only advisor important?

A fee only structure encourages unbiased advice and puts our clients’ interests first. Since we charge a percentage of assets managed, it is just as important to us as to you that your investments grow.

What is Highland’s advantage over other firms?

Foremost, we have a legal fiduciary duty to put our clients’ interests first. Legal requirement or not, we think it makes good sense to conduct business this way. Our unique value proposition is that we are a privately owned, independent Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm. You are working with the owners of the company. We work to understand your specific financial situation and provide straightforward advice consistent with your long-term goals. We are not commission-based employees pushing the latest investment product.

Could I invest on my own just as effectively?

First, ask yourself these questions. Do you enjoy investing. Do you have the necessary knowledge. Do you have the time? Do you also have the emotional fortitude to remain objective and disciplined with your own money? Something else to consider is that individual investors cannot access some investments on their own, such as Dimensional Fund Advisors. We believe the difference between investment returns and investor returns is behavior. That is, investors on their own often fall into traps like attempting to time the market, chasing returns, and reacting to the daily “news”. This is why it is important to have an unbiased partner in the process. But, we believe our value to you as your advisor goes beyond investment performance. We can assist with retirement planning, estate planning, insurance analysis, budgeting and cash flow, large purchase decisions, education funding, business planning and more.

Who regulates Highland?

The State of Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions regulates us. Wisconsin securities laws impose substantially the same requirements as Federal Security Exchange Commission rules and laws. We serve clients throughout Wisconsin and the United States. Information regarding investment advisor regulations is on the SEC’s website at: http://www.sec.gov/divisions/investment/iaregulation/memoia.htm

What are your qualifications to provide us with this service?

Adam has a Bachelors degree in Finance and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Ken has an MBA in Finance and holds the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP) designation. Both have passed numerous securities exams over their careers. Adam has worked for some of the area’s top financial firms over the last 13 years before becoming a partner at HIA in 2009. Working with a diverse clientele, from new investors just building their portfolios to multi-generational families with $100 million portfolios has given Adam a broad range of experiences related to investment management and financial planning. Ken spent the first 15 years of his career in law enforcement before joining Strong (now Wells Fargo) in 1996. Ken has 16 years experience as a financial advisor. In 2004 he joined an independent financial planning firm, and then founded HIA in 2006.

Who is a typical client of Highland?

A typical client of our firm is someone approaching or in retirement. We like to work with people who are engaged in the investment process and are committed to preserving and growing their financial resources. Since we are business owners ourselves, we enjoy working with other small business owners. Clients come from all walks of life—retired teachers, computer programmers, executives, sales people, lawyers—but share a common desire to save and invest.

Have a question that wasn’t answered here? Please contact us.

Working with Highland

As a fee-only registered investment advisor, we are motivated to solve not to sell.

Explore our website and then call us to schedule an in-person meeting.

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