DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GuardVest is a new web site that enables users to be more than a bystander in their financial future. Millions of Americans hire a financial advisor to manage their money, but then they step too far out of the process and sacrifice significant money in the process. With the “X-ray vision” that GuardVest provides, it’s a snap to see if you are getting good advice at a fair price.
Research shows that most investors don’t know how their returns stack up versus similar investors or how much they are paying in total investment expenses. In one recent survey by Cerulli Associates, 29% of investors working with a financial advisor believed the advice they received was provided complimentary! GuardVest aims to change that, empowering its customers with a simple dashboard that gives a visual snapshot of an investment advisor’s performance.
GuardVest links to an investors’ existing account to give an X-ray view of the performance of someone’s current portfolio. GuardVest makes no recommendations for changes to strategy or advisors. The data is merely presented to help the user quickly gain a better understanding of how their investments are performing. Based on the information given, some users will stay with their current advisor, some will discuss and adjust their positions, some will negotiate fee reductions, some will find a different advisor. The key is that, for the first time, the user will have enough knowledge of their actual returns, risks, and expenses to make a more informed decision.
“The complexities of investing intimidate most people, so they turn to financial advisors for guidance,” said Steve Scanlon, former Wall Street executive and co-founder of GuardVest. “People are putting their entire financial future in someone else’s hands, then they aren’t even sure if that advisor is taking the risk they want or charging exorbitant fees. The appalling lack of transparency that exists in financial services is not tolerated in any other industry. We want to fix the financial services industry by empowering people to know more about their own money.”
GuardVest also helps investors to preview potential new advisors by evaluating their recommendations without committing capital or disclosing detailed personal financial data during the evaluation process. Given a theoretical amount of money to invest, the advisor uses GuardVest to create a Free Look Portfolio for the potential client. GuardVest shows the investor the returns, risk and expenses of that portfolio in real time as they contemplate the advice. Hard data on several portfolios can be compared in a matter of minutes, enabling the investor to choose an advisor who most closely matches their desired level of risk and return while minimizing the fees paid.
“Millions of Americans entrust their life savings to a financial advisor with the hope (and prayer) that the advisor will act as a good steward of their money,” said GuardVest co-founder Audie Apple. “Unfortunately, most people then mentally check out, hopeful that they’ve chosen an advisor who will get good returns, manage risk appropriately, and not charge too much in fees. GuardVest makes it easy to examine their advisor’s performance and evaluate other advisors using the same criteria. Choosing a financial advisor is the most important financial decision that most people will ever make; such a decision needs to be based on concrete facts, not because the advisor is a social acquaintance or seems like ‘a good guy.’”
GuardVest was founded by Steve Scanlon and Audie Apple in 2014 with the support of private investors.
Steve Scanlon enjoyed a stellar career for more than 20 years as a financial executive with an inherent understanding of how investment performance should be inexorably tied to productivity. A 10-year veteran at AllianceBernstein, one of the largest money management firms in the world, Scanlon held several key positions including Global Head of Sales while based in the New York City headquarters.
During his more than 20 years in financial services, Audie Apple has worked with some of the most respected firms in the industry including AllianceBernstein, Bessemer Trust and Principal Financial Group. Apple has run businesses that cover the entire landscape of individual financial services and has served as a senior portfolio manager as well as in the inner circle of product development for retail and institutional investors.
GuardVest is a tool that gives investors X-ray vision to track the performance of their current investment advisor. It also makes it possible to consider new advisors without committing capital or disclosing extensive personal financial data in the evaluation process. GuardVest provides users with an objective analysis of their current portfolio’s returns, risk and expenses. GuardVest reveals the total real costs of investing so that users can hold their advisors accountable for their performance. GuardVest is available free until February 2015. Find us at www.GuardVest.com or on social media @GuardVest.