CLIENTS HIRE PHLOX TO WORK ON THE “HARD QUESTIONS” AS DESCRIBED BY FAMED INVESTOR HOWARD MARKS:

We have to think of the future as a range of possible outcomes. We might bet on the one we think will happen, but we should give allowance for some of the others. Now, how much allowance, which of the others - these are the hard questions.”
— Howard Marks

What is the meaning of the name Phlox? 

Phlox (pronounced "flocks") is a hardy, flowering plant grown primarily in North America. It grows in diverse habitats. In similarity to our own lives, some flower in spring, others in summer and fall.  Flowers may be pale blue, violet, pink, bright red, or white. Many are fragrant. At Phlox, we believe in the resilience and strength of each individual, and our passion resides in helping you determine when, where, how, and why you will bring those strengths to fruition.  

Where are client assets held?

Client assets are held at a third party custodian, such as TD Ameritrade or Scottrade. Phlox is granted a limited power of attorney to implement the investment strategy, but we never take control or possession of your assets. Our authority is limited to managing the investment holdings in accordance with our written Investment Policy Statement with you, sending money to a bank account owned by you, and deducting our quarterly fees.  

TD Ameritrade, Inc. is one of the firms that we use to custody our client assets. TD Ameritrade, Phlox Capital Management, LLC, and the other entity(ies) named are separate and unaffiliated firms, and are not responsible for each other’s services or policies. TD Ameritrade does not endorse or recommend any advisor and the use of the TD Ameritrade logo does not represent the endorsement or recommendation of any advisor. Brokerage services provided by TD Ameritrade Institutional, Division of TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. Used with permission.

How is Phlox different from other firms? 

  1. Phlox is an independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)*. RIA's are legally obligated to act in the best interests of clients at all times.  *Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training.
  2. We are transparent and we operate under a fiduciary standard of care. This means that we work for you and only you, and every dollar you pay us is discussed with you and documented. Others in the industry operate under a "suitability" standard of care, which is a lesser standard. Before hiring a financial advisor, you should understand the difference between a fiduciary standard and suitability standard of care.  
  3. We help clients create wealth by working on their entire financial situation, not just the investment accounts we manage. 
  4. Our technology is better.  We use the latest cutting-edge technology to provide a complete understanding of your entire financial situation on one dashboard.
  5. We will tackle any obstacle in your path to create wealth. 

Do I really need an advisor? 

The data says investors need advisors.   A well-known research paper highlighted the tendency for individual investors to “sell low and buy high.”  Phlox will help you stick to a plan and deal with the hard questions.

"The perfect strategy you CAN'T stick with is vastly inferior to the good strategy you CAN stick with....the single most important thing financial advisors do is make sure people stick with their plan through thick and thin."

Cliff Asness, Founder of AQR, managing $37 billion.

How should I evaluate and select a financial advisor?

In our opinion, investors should use the following framework: 

  1. Above all factors, select someone you trust.  If you don’t know a financial advisor personally, ask friends and colleagues for recommendations.   Don’t assume the recommended advisor is a good fit for you.   Evaluate and scrutinize the advisor’s work history and financial expertise.
  2. Evaluate the advisor’s firm.  Some firms pressure their advisors to sell certain products that may or may not be well suited to clients.  Before hiring an advisor, we suggest you discuss this CFA Institute document with a potential advisor at length:   Realize your Rights:  Using the Statement of Investor Rights to Find the Right Financial Professional.
  3. Consider an independent RIA.   Independent RIA’s usually structure their business in a manner that minimizes or eliminates conflicts of interest. 
  4. Consider the educational background and industry certifications of the advisor.  At Phlox, we are big believers in the CFA Charter.

What is the CFA Institute and the CFA Charter?

The CFA Institute is widely recognized as the "gold standard" certification within the investment profession. Most pension, hedge, and mutual fund managers have earned the CFA Charter, and it is typically a requirement for advancement to management in the investment management profession. On average, the CFA Charter requires 4 years to earn, and only 1 in 5 people who begin the program earn the Charter. Three progressive 6-hour exams are required, each of which demand 300 hours of preparation.  

The Institute is a global organization of investment professionals with a rich history. Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett's mentor, was one of the founders of the New York Society of Security Analysts in 1937, one of the predecessor entities of the CFA Institute.  In January 1945, Graham, known as the "Dean of Wall Street," advocated for a rigorous professional designation for investment professionals. Graham was a strong advocate for greater professionalism in the investment industry. This philosophy remains one of 3 core tenets of the Institute's  mission to build the investment management profession:  

  1. Set high standards of entry and professionalism in the industry
  2. Create business models geared towards achieving investor outcomes
  3. Advocate for regulations that align firms and clients

In response to the 2008 financial crisis, the CFA Institute embarked upon an ambitious "Global effort to shape a trustworthy, forward-thinking financial industry that better serves society" known as the "Future of Finance" initiative.  

Please note:  while Phlox is proud of its work with the CFA Institute, the Institute does not endorse Phlox.