Why is your firm named ‘St. Nicholas’?
There is no intended religious or ‘Santa Claus’ connection to our company name. St. Nicholas is actually the name of a Jacksonville neighborhood where one of our founding principals resided at the time we started the firm.
Where are the assets that you manage held?
St. Nicholas does not hold any of the assets that we manage – we are not a registered custodian. All of the assets that we manage are held at an SEC-registered broker/dealer. Currently, all of our managed accounts are custodied at Charles Schwab. However, we can manage any assets regardless of where they are held as long as we are given trading authority. St. Nicholas only has trading authority to the assets it manages. We have absolutely no ability to withdraw any of your assets. All transfer and/or withdrawal authority is possessed by you and only you.
Is St. Nicholas under government regulation?
Yes. St. Nicholas is a Registered Investment Advisor. We are registered, regulated, and audited by the State of Florida if our Total Assets Under Management are less than $100 Million, and by the SEC if we manage more than $100 Million. As of Dec 31, 2015, our current Assets Under Management totaled approximately $85 Million. We were last audited by the State of Florida in 2014 and passed successfully.
How long has St. Nicholas been around?
St. Nicholas has successfully been in business since 2004. We have grown assets under management by an average of 35% per year since 2004. All employees and principals have their personal assets managed by the firm, and multiple family members have the bulk of their assets managed here as well. We are a profitable and growing company. Allen, Karen, and Tim have committed 100% of their own investments and 100% of their futures to this firm. St. Nicholas has been self-sustaining since our very first year, and we are here to stay.
What if St. Nicholas goes out of business?
We are now in our twelfth year of business and surviving comfortably. However, in the event of dissolution of our firm for any reason, all assets are held at independent custodial firms and would be unaffected. While you would still have to search for an alternate manager, your assets held at the custodian would remain 100% intact.
Why is Charles Schwab your primary custodian?
We researched all of the available primary custodians when we founded St. Nicholas. While all have comparable services and commission charges, Schwab stood out as the firm with the lowest costs and the most attractive customer services provided through Registered Investment Advisors.
Does the custodian selection decision impact how St. Nicholas is paid?
No. Virtually any brokerage-related custodian can provide the services that you need. We make nothing from our custodian, regardless of who it is. Our customers get charged nominal commissions that are set by the custodian, and St. Nicholas is not paid anything for trading activity or product use. St. Nicholas charges an annual fee (taken quarterly), and the only way we make more fee income is if the account we manage goes up in value. There is absolutely no other remuneration that St. Nicholas receives other than our investment management fee.
All of my banking relationships are attached to my current account…wouldn’t it be difficult to leave?
Traditional banking services have become a commodity – virtually every financial service company offers competing options. Our current custodian, Charles Schwab, offers virtually every banking service imaginable, and our customers take advantage of this convenience. Schwab now offers all traditional banking services including high-yield checking, bill paying, mortgages, home equity loans, low APR credit cards, and debit cards with 100% ATM fee reimbursement.
What types of accounts do you manage?
We manage all types of personal accounts including IRAs, 401-K Rollovers, Trust Accounts, Guardianships, Estates, UTMAs, Charitable Trusts, and Personal Investment Accounts. We also provide consulting and investment management services for Corporations and Charitable Institutions.
Why should I move my assets to St. Nicholas?
We accept that investment management has become somewhat of a commodity. Most investors pay a lot for less-than-market performance. We have a successful equity approach that consistently beats the market. More importantly, we have people – people that can answer to you directly. The Financial Services industry has grown to the point where million-dollar accounts are relegated to back-office “1-800” desks that completely eliminate the possibility of manager/client interaction. We want to fill the gap and provide quality service to all accounts. Many qualified investors are now being cast aside by the bigger financial services providers, and we think this is wrong. You should be able to talk to the person managing your money, and you should be able to do that at a reasonable price.
You’re located in Jacksonville, Florida – what if I don’t live there?
Service is the key – as long as you are getting the service and performance that you desire, our main location is irrelevant. We are a national firm and have satisfied clients that live in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Maine, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, Colorado, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and throughout Florida. We are committed to providing the best service regardless of your geographical location.
What is the cost for you to manage my money?
Our advertised schedule of fees is available on request, but our average annual fee is approximately 1.25% of the account value remitted quarterly.
What is your minimum account size?
Our advertised minimum is $500,000, but we will consider less depending on circumstances. We also manage many smaller accounts that are part of larger relationships.
Will I have to pay taxes if I switch to St. Nicholas?
Not necessarily. Our value-added is a function of asset allocation and individual equity management. You ordinarily do not have to sell anything (and realize taxable gains) if you let us manage your money. We will incorporate your current holdings into our approach, and will keep taxable gains to a minimum. We will obviously make changes in your portfolio, but will not ignore capital gains consequences, and will consult with you on every possible tax outcome. Regardless, the desired result is performance, and we will avoid taxable actions that fail to maximize long-term return potential.
What if I open an account with you and change my mind?
Your commitment to us is for as long as you wish – there is no “locked-in” period, and we do not charge any termination fees. If you remove us as manager, you simply continue to hold your assets at your custodian and manage it at your own discretion. Our fee ceases on the day we are dismissed, and we are required to give pro-rata refunds on any pre-paid fees.
Why do you keep asking for referrals?
We are a small firm that will remain small. We absolutely do not want to get more business than we can handle. However, we are not yet at ‘critical mass’. We have been extremely successful in our approach and have room for others to share in our good fortune. Our growth rate has been tremendous, and we will certainly reach a point where we will no longer accept clients. Still, continued growth will not only expand the beneficiaries of our success, it will also continue to provide the principals with financial stability.
Do you offer Trust Services?
We do not have trust powers and can not serve as your trustee. However, our background includes the trust business; we do manage trust accounts, and we can help you evaluate alternative trust options. Our custodian, Charles Schwab, now offers Delaware Trust services where they serve as Trustee and St. Nicholas serves as Investment Advisor.
What does St. Nicholas offer that other firms don’t?
We are a full service firm. All investment decisions are made locally and you can talk to the manager that is making those decisions. We do not have proprietary funds that we are obligated to use. We do not have exorbitant account minimums that qualify you for particular levels of service. We do not have hidden fees. All principals are qualified professionals that average over 35 years experience in the trust and investment management industry. We can review your current financial situation and determine whether you are paying too much for the services and performance that you are receiving. Our objective is to improve your return potential at a lower cost whenever possible, and we strive to achieve both for all of our clients.