Financial Planning in Progress

TreeTop Q & A

Choosing the right financial and investment advisor is a crucial decision for you to make. Your financial advisor will provide you with expert recommendations to help you grow your portfolio. TreeTop Wealth Management of Northfield, IL, is pleased to provide answers to any question you may have. Please read through our TreeTop Q & A for some essential information.

Q: What does it mean to be a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)?

A: TreeTop is a state of Illinois registered advisory firm. All professional investment management companies are required to register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the State(s) in which the firm conducts business. That registration is called an ADV, and it is available in two parts. ADV Part I is fundamental information about the advisory business, and ADV Part II explains our services and fees.

Q: How does an RIA differ from a brokerage firm?

A: RIAs are in the investment management business, and we are regulated by the Investment Advisors Act of 1940. In contrast, brokerage firms are primarily in the financial product sales and distribution business, and they are governed by the Securities Act of 1933 as well as other laws. As an RIA under the 1940 Act, we have a higher level of fiduciary responsibility than brokerage firms. We are required by law to work in our client's best interest. Our fee is based on assets under management (AUM) rather than the brokerage model that is tied to the sale and distribution of financial products.

Q: What ethical standards does TreeTop adhere to?

A: All personnel are required to sign an Annual Ethics Statement that outlines our ethical standards. Everyone at TreeTop adheres to that strict ethical code as part of our daily operations.

Q: Are my accounts insured from theft, fraud, errors, omissions, and insolvency?

A: All accounts are insured on multiple levels. Fidelity Investments Institutional coverage is extensive and is explained in a free brochure that is available to all investors. TreeTop also carries Errors and Omissions insurance.

Q: Does anyone at TreeTop have access to my money?

A: No one at TreeTop has access to the money in your account. We have limited power of attorney to do three things in a client account; 1) trade securities with discretion, 2) request that Fidelity send a check to a client directly or to a client's bank, and 3) to be paid a quarterly management fee based on the client contract. We have no other access or authority.

Q: Will I have internet access to my account?

A: Yes. Free Internet access is available to clients through the Fidelity Investments website 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The site also is the source for immediate information on account activity and provides you with many reports, including year-end tax information.