Financial Planning & Investment Advisory Services
Investment Advisory Services
Connemara is a registered investment advisory firm committed to providing independent and objective investment advice for residents in Maryland (MD), Washington, DC and Virginia (VA). The financial advisory firm does not custody client funds in an investment capacity nor does it actively manage money on behalf of its clients. It engages in no product sales and receives no fees or commissions from any sales thereof.
Connemara views its primary role as that of educating and informing its clients and assisting them in implementing and monitoring their chosen investments. In addition, Connemara analyzes and negotiates preferred pricing with respect to certain managed investments.
Financial Consulting and Advising Services
In addition to providing high-quality outsourced family office management services for wealthy families with busy and complex lives, Connemara is committed to making professional, comprehensive, conflict-free financial planning services accessible to individuals and families from all walks of life.
For some, this may mean periodic, cost-effective financial check-ups or advising. For a fixed fee or on an hourly, as-needed basis, clients can meet with Connemara and obtain valuable financial consultation and advising on a number of issues. Many clients, for example, will want to consider Connemara for pre- and post-retirement planning. Clients nearing retirement or already in retirement can meet with Connemara to learn more about account transfers, rollovers, asset re-titling, beneficiary designations, account coordination, investment and trust management, and estate planning. While Connemara's financial planning and investment advisory practice concentrates primarily in the areas of retirement and estate planning, the financial advising firm diligently serves all those seeking independent planning and investment counsel in the Maryland (MD), Washington, DC and Virginia (VA) area.
Connemara meets with clients for a careful and thoughtful discussion of their most important financial goals and objectives. Frank and meaningful conversation leads to critical understanding of real world risk tolerance. Unique client preferences are uncovered and noted. Relevant documents and supporting materials are obtained and analyzed. Following a thorough examination of all financial and investment data and repeated testing and review, Connemara presents its findings in a clear, understandable manner using state-of-art financial planning tools. Key points and action items are summarized in a brief memorandum written in plain English.
Many responsible and well-meaning individuals and families around Maryland (MD), Washington, DC and Virginia (VA) are in need of competent and objective financial planning and investment advice. They are in search of impartial financial counseling free of institutional influence. They are pleasantly surprised to discover Connemara, a rare and special financial planning firm.
Clients are re-discovering a new sense of thrift. They are finding that by accessing a financial advising firm such as Connemara, they are able to obtain the financial advice they need while saving thousands of dollars annually in layers of investment management fees and commissions. Saving clients' time and money while providing valuable, actionable intelligence-that is Connemara's value add.
Financial Planning Services
Personal financial planning is of critical importance to all. In the hands of many large financial institutions, however, planning has become a means of leveraging greater sales across multiple product lines, including products with significant profit margins. It is imperative that clients in such situations inquire carefully regarding all potential areas of conflict or bias. Many smaller financial planning firms share similar conflicts and biases as well. Financial planning at its best is a highly professional multi-disciplinary practice that is conflict-free and puts client interests first.
Connemara is skeptical of much of the personal financial planning currently being done. Aside from issues of conflict and bias, many other weaknesses remain. Many long-term financial projections are extremely uncertain. Any such projections are highly sensitive to underlying assumptions and can be highly misleading. In Connemara's view, while planning must be done, it should be done carefully, with assumptions more conservative than those generally prevailing. Even then, any results should be viewed with caution and should be re-tested periodically in the context of constant change.
Excellent, conflict-free financial planning advice is available. One simply must know what questions to ask, and where to look. For those clients requiring detailed and comprehensive financial planning involving substantial and complex assets and liabilities, Connemara is generally able to generate such plans internally at competitive rates. In cases requiring highly specialized expertise (e.g., complex real estate holdings), Connemara facilitates referrals to a handful of chosen professionals while coordinating and overseeing all work.
Connemara's Investment Philosophy
Lest there be any misconception, "open architecture", a phrase commonly used in the financial services industry, merely indicates that an institution is a distributor. It sells a large number of products manufactured by other industry participants as well as its own. It does not necessarily follow that these products are actually beneficial or worthwhile. In fact, many of such offerings should be considered potentially hazardous to one's wealth.
Most clients would undoubtedly be well advised to resist the siren songs accompanying these wares. In today's highly competitive capital markets, clients seeking to build long-term wealth need to think, at least in some ways, unconventionally.
Connemara goes its own way and rejects as repugnant the vast majority of financial institutional products. Connemara was founded in part to help change the current financial landscape, which in many respects resembles a wasteland. Significant work is urgently required to improve truth-in-labeling. While many excellent financial professionals do exist in law, accounting, and finance, the issue is putting together a well-functioning team. That team then needs to be able to execute important financial planning steps consistently and effectively free of the hazards and conflicts so often imposed by the financial services industry.
Most financial institution representatives are not true fiduciaries. In fact, they occupy positions of irreconcilable conflict. Many well-meaning individuals of integrity are finding their positions increasingly compromised as financial institutions seek growth at any cost. Sales goals drive home the message: the important job is to sell, not to service-and certainly not to protect.
Connemara differs materially from most investment advisory firms, in part because its President and Founder, Thomas B. Conway, is also a licensed practicing financial attorney. His training and experience as finance attorney, and further training and experience as a senior private banker, have taught him to be highly skeptical of most packaged investment products.
Most independent investment advisory firms also manage money; Connemara does not. Connemara provides educational and financial advisory services only. Most financial planning firms make money by distributing and selling a bewildering selection of actively managed mutual funds, separately managed accounts, opaque alternative investments and structured products, and other costly investments of questionable value. Connemara does not. Connemara advocates fee-only financial planning and the use of low-cost index funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) where appropriate, together with a handful of other carefully chosen and closely monitored investments. Most investment advising firms now derive most of their revenue by charging an ongoing fee based upon assets under management. Connemara does not. Connemara operates on a flat, fixed fee payable quarterly, or on an hourly, as needed basis.
Connemara's approach is unabashedly unconventional. Its approach is not without precedent, however, and is supported by overwhelming evidence.
If you are in Maryland (MD), Washington, DC or Virginia (VA) and are interested in our fee-only financial planning services, contact Connemara Family Office Management today!