New Payment Structure From A Boston Financial Fiduciary

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( — September 14, 2015) Franklin, TN — President Barack Obama’s recent endorsement (March 2015) of fiduciary standards for financial advisors could have significant implications for the investment industry. Said differently, the president is pushing to require financial advisors to put the client’s needs before their own. That’s right. Your advisor may not have your best interests in mind. As the law currently stands, broker dealers, insurance salespersons and advisors operating under the “suitability standard” are merely required to ensure an investment is suitable for a client at the time of the investment.  

But not so “RIAs” or Registered Investment Advisors. By law an RIA firm must be a fiduciary. And therefore, RIAs are perfect to lead the charge in providing consumers conflict-free financial advice.

“Clients have been jerked around and misled by the financial community for too long. That’s why I have decided to make my full service advisory model flat fee only. Clients need an advocate in the financial planning arena.” says Christopher Grande, MSIM, RMA®  founder and CIO of Walnut Hill Advisors LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor (i.e. “RIA”) in Belmont, Massachusetts.

Dúch Press Release Co. recently sat down with Christopher. It was cheerful and contented reunion as we both go back many years, to a time living in Boston, MA. Chris now shares his time between Boston, MA and San Francisco, CA with his wife and family and he has clients from all around the country.

We met at Saint Clement’s Eucharistic Shrine, in the Back Bay, Boston, a catholic church that was and still is ,an inspiring place for young adults to meet. It provides a serene respite from the Boston city fray; a quite spot where young people can drop in to think about the deeper purpose of life. It is a place where one can really associate with the relevance and import of having simple kindness and gratitude to be the cornerstone of one’s work-life, not just a fleeting idea that comes to us now and then, perhaps during holidays or birthdays. The shrine was a place where we dreamed of ways to be able to give back to life, to be able to grow and to contribute and leave a meaningful legacy that would perhaps, one day, inspire others to do the same.

And it is clear that Chris continues to live out this ethos in his work-pursuits. His company has matured and strengthened with each passing year as he continues to offer new tools and ideas to help his clients to prosper and thrive in this volatile economy.

“Attorneys typically get a flat fee as do CPA’s. It’s no wonder that CPA’s are often cited as the most trusted advisor by clients / customers year after year. Their clients know they have no financial incentive to recommend one tax strategy over another.” continues Chris.

Considered a novelty in the financial advice arena, flat fee arrangements may be the best way for the public to get financially unbiased advice.

Chris, who attended Tufts University then went on to earn his Masters in Investment Management from the BU School of Management, started Walnut Hill Advisors in 2003 and later incorporated it into a Massachusetts based Registered Investment Advisory firm. His focus is on comprehensive planning, “the whole picture” he likes to say with a goal to keep his firm’s clients “informed but not overwhelmed.”

“I like not only to tell my clients I represent their interests first but also I wanted to show that I did in more ways. I realized after some time that charging an asset based fee and earning unreimbursed commissions from insurance products on clients who were paying an annual retainer wasn’t in this spirit. So I am changing my model.”

Chris’ plan is to have simply three relationship options for working with his firm:

1. A flat hourly fee for short term consulting and planning work

2. A reasonable flat retainer fee for clients who want a continuous relationship with an advisor but don’t have as complicated a financial picture due to still being in the growth stage of their financial lives or for other reasons.

3. A full service financial planning package with comprehensive service offerings including tax forecasting and preparation, insurance reviews, legal document reviews, medicare and health insurance assessments along with retirement and goal planning and asset management.

The full service package will include a rebate toward client fees for other income incidental to recommendations such as life insurance policies if applicable (some clients get money management-only services and those programs would be structured differently).

“Not only did I want to say I was independent,” says Chris, “ but I really wanted to be independent. If fees only come from assets managed, is my incentive to convince people to roll over assets to me or keep them where they are? Even if where they are is better for them?”

“By focusing on what’s best for the client, and offering them some great tools, including a powerful online portal to help with planning collaboration and simplification, the client gets an inspiring experience where the focus can be on what’s important, on achieving goals and financial purpose. I get excited about that.”

You can learn more about Chris at

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