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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions, including how Harness Wealth can help you discover high-quality advice, our data privacy and security practices, and what to expect in costs (Harness is free to use!).
If your question isn’t answered here, please contact our team at support@harnesswealth.com

FAQs

What types of firms can I find on Harness Wealth? 

Financial advisory firms: Also known as RIAs (Registered Investment Advisors) or wealth management firms, these firms manage investments. They also offer financial planning services: income and expense planning, retirement, etc.

Tax firms: Tax firms are made up of CPAs and licensed accountants that provide tax audit, filing, strategy, and planning services for individuals and businesses.

Trust & estate firms: These firms specialize in the creation and execution of various estate planning components (wills, trusts, gifts, guardianship, powers of attorney, etc.) in order to make sure all documents are legally binding and lower the tax burdens on you and your beneficiaries.

For those with complex financial situations, the most optimal approach comes from having all three firms working in tandem. However, the various permutations of the types of services is highly individual and the blend of these services will change with you as your life and career progress.

Similar to how you may work with a family doctor, a dentist, and/or an internal medicine specialist for your overall health, your team of advisors are all experienced specialists in their respective fields, and Harness Wealth makes it easier for you and for them to work together. 

I only need a specific service. Can I use Harness Wealth to find only one type of firm?

Yes, we can certainly help you find one type of firm. It is not required that you use all three, or even two. Many Harness Wealth clients start off with one specific need (for example, optimizing their personal taxes with a tax firm) and then later find that they have additional, related needs that come up later on, and will start working with a financial advising firm and/or a trust & estate firm for a more holistic strategy.

How much does this cost? What is Harness Wealth’s business model?

The fees you pay to the firms vary, and can be dependent on the amount of assets they manage for you and the complexity of your needs, but here are the typical fees for the most common services:

    • Investment management: Fees start at 1% or lower for the first $1M of investable assets. From there, they tend to go down as the investable assets increase.
    • Financial planning, tax planning and filing (CPAs), estate planning document creation: A flat fee of $1,000-$5,000 dollars per service.

You will not be charged an additional fee by Harness Wealth or our firms for using our service. I.e., we do not charge clients anything for using us to find and evaluate firms, nor are the firms allowed to charge clients that come in via Harness Wealth any more than they would charge non-Harness Wealth clients for the same services.

We are paid by the firms for the clients that we refer to them, so we’re incentivized to help you make good long-term decisions about which firms you work with. We believe it’s important for you to find the right advisors for you, not just any advisors, so we are not compensated for any meetings you have during your search. 

How does the Harness Wealth firm/service recommendation process work?

Harness Wealth’s technology analyzes your personal and financial events, income, assets, goals, and personal preferences and uses them to recommend not only the type(s) of services that you need, but also the individual firms that are right for you.

You may be starting totally from scratch (“I have no idea what I need help with, I just know that I need help!”) and you can receive plenty of guidance (“You need tax planning and tax preparation from a boutique firm that specializes in IPOs.”). Or, you may have a more concrete idea of what you need (“I’m expecting a windfall and want help investing those funds, with a focus on sustainable investments.”) and we can help you find specific, pre-screened firms that meet these requirements. 

What is a typical Harness Wealth client experience? 

Once you complete our onboarding process and input information about your finances, we determine the type(s) of firms that are best suited for your needs, and refer you to 2-3 firms of each type for you to compare side-by-side.

From there, your Harness Wealth Concierge will help schedule your conversations (via phone, video call, or in-person, whichever you prefer) and help manage the secure transfer of documents with the advisors at the firms you’re interested in.

Many clients request follow-up calls to get a better sense of their comfort level with the advisor, firm experience, and personal fit. Choosing an advisor is an important decision and in many cases, one that lasts several years. We encourage clients to be thoughtful about making a decision about an advisor who will provide consultative services to you over the course of several years, through many of life’s ups and downs. All introductory calls are complimentary. 

You can read more here about Harness Wealth Firm Consultations: What to Expect and Prepare.

What is Harness Tax?

Harness Tax is one of the tax firm options you may see in your recommendations in Harness Wealth. This is our in-house brand with affiliate tax teams. If, based on your Harness Wealth profile, the Harness Tax services, pricing, etc. are a good fit for your needs, you will see them along your other external tax firm recommendations.

Harness Tax doesn’t receive preferential treatment in our recommendation algorithm, and we encourage you to evaluate them just as you would any other firm on our platform. 

You can read more about our reasons for establishing Harness Tax here.

Can I meet with my advisors online?

Yes, we offer a fully digital experience. From filling out your profile, being introduced to advisors, comparing the firms, setting up meetings, and sending over documents, everything is done online. During your evaluation calls, you can choose to have phone, video, or in-person meetings. The firms on our platform have been pre-screened for their ability to work remotely with clients all over the country.

Certain localized industries are often best serviced by firms who are based in that area (for example, the startup and venture capital industries in the San Francisco Bay Area) and some clients have some state-specific needs that are best serviced by a local firm.

However, we’ve found that clients are able to have excellent, productive relationships with advisors remotely as well. Given most specializations are not so geographically concentrated, we encourage you prioritize overall fit (working style, experience relevant to your needs, pricing that fits your budget, etc.) over proximity in your search. 

What can my concierge help me with? 

Your concierge is assigned to you after you register on our site, and will be available to help you throughout your search. They can provide:

    • General assistance with our platform, deadlines to keep in mind, etc.
    • Baselining information about typical pricing, services, etc. for each industry (financial advisory, tax, trust & estate).
    • Scheduling and documentation support for consultation calls with your firms.
    • Product support and feedback in case you have any trouble with or questions about filling out your Harness Wealth profile or shortlisting your advisors.

Who is best suited for Harness Wealth? Who are your typical clients?

Our clients are typically experiencing major financial milestones or complexity in their finances. This includes:

  • Entrepreneurs, founders, small business owners
  • Employees with equity
  • VCs and angel investors
  • Cryptocurrency holders
  • Those working, living, or managing assets across states or countries

What are my alternatives to Harness Wealth? 

Conduct your own search of financial, tax, and trust & estate firms:
  • Pros: You have full control over the process.
  • Cons: You have full control over the process. It can require a lot of legwork re: evaluation for quality and fit, scheduling, baselining fees and services, and due diligence into specialty services.
Traditional wirehouse advisors and institutional investment firms:
  • Pros: Ubiquitous, well-known.
  • Cons: Top performing individual advisors are going independent, and they’re more affordable when they’re at smaller firms. The most ambitious advisors are leaving traditional firms set up their own offices, and for the best of the best (strong educational backgrounds, advanced degrees, decades of specialized experience), you’ll have to go outside of the big banks. Wirehouse advisors are not guaranteed to be fiduciaries, and typically receive commissions for recommending in-house investments that may or may not be necessarily the best fit for you.
Robo advisors:
  • Pros: Basic automated approaches to best practices when it comes to investment management, and is a good fit for those with fewer types of assets to manage and a simple financial situation overall.
  • Cons: These tools are designed for mass consumption, and generally account for only a handful of basic situations. If you have any personalized financial concerns or go beyond their typical user profiles, the recommendations can be significantly less effective.
Referrals from friends and family:
  • Pros: You have a firsthand recommendation from someone you know personally.
  • Cons: Your friends, even those that have some financial expertise, do not have continuous exposure to a high quantity of firms across specialties and experience levels. Based on your specific needs and goals, certain firms will be a better fit for you, and we make it our business to analyze and understand what makes for the most productive advisor-client relationships.
Do nothing:
  • Pros: It’s easy.
  • Cons: Finding trusted, expert financial advice is something you probably know you should do but have likely been putting off for a long time. Financial advising has been shown to add stability and increased performance to investment portfolios. Especially when financial advising is combined more holistically with tax and estate planning, you’ll be maximizing the value of your existing assets, reducing your tax liability, and significantly lowering financial risk, and the sooner you start, the better.
DIY: Doing your own financial planning, investment management, and tax planning.
  • Pros: It’s free.
  • Cons: You, armed with a few textbooks, Excel sheets, and Google, could probably manage your own finances. This is also probably true of car repair and some basic medical procedures. We recommend that you be thoughtful about the ROI on your time, the risk-reward ratio if things go awry, and your competitive advantage when it comes to certain types of tasks.

With Harness Wealth, you get the best of several worlds: The agility of tech solutions, the benefits of “traditional” wealth management wisdom, and white-glove service to suit your personal needs.

Is my information safe?

Yes. We never sell client information to any outside sources. We anonymize PII (Personally Identifiable Information) data and have strict access rules, meaning that data is restricted, whether accessed internally and/or externally by advisors.

Access to any sensitive information is limited to only those authorized employees and other individuals who we determine reasonably require access to sensitive information to accomplish a legitimate business purpose or to comply with legal requirements.

Firewalls provide defense against inbound attacks and logging of network activity log showing sites accessed by device. Firewall rules in the VPC ensure no unauthorized outside access can reach our internal applications or access client data. 

How do you select your firms?

Our firms are interviewed a minimum of 5 times and screened for over 120 attributes to measure the quality of their services.

As an example, these are the baseline requirements for a financial advisory firm to be included in our network:

Compliance
  • SEC and BrokerCheck: Clean BrokerCheck with issues (if any) explained and signed off by the Chief Compliance Officer. SEC registered and must act as fiduciaries.
  • Investment oversight: Clearly defined investment procedure, Chief Investment Officer and/or research team, and compliance oversight.
  • Top custodial platform: Must custody client assets at Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, Bank of New York Mellon, Raymond James, or Pershing.
Fees
  • Fee-only: Independent/fee only advisors. If hybrid advisors, must only hold legacy commission accounts as a breakaway.
  • Investment independence: Investment decisions must be done by an in-house investment team.
  • 100% client-aligned incentives: The firm may not decide on, nor may advisors recommend products based on commission rates to the advisor.
  • Financial planning services: Financial planning are a core offering and are included in asset-based fee structure unless the AUM fees are 40% below the industry average for a combined service package.
  • Competitive fees: Firms must charge at or below industry standard fees. For any firms charging more than 1.5%, these firms must offer additional, more comprehensive services in addition to investment management and financial planning, including but not limited to: tax planning, estate planning, family office services.
Services and expertise
  • Responsiveness: Firm responds to client inquiries within 24 hours and demonstrates a high level of client service attention and sophistication.
  • Assets under management (AUM): Minimum of $300M in discretionary assets.
  • Financial planning offering: Firm must offer financial planning as part of the overall investment management service.
  • Tax-loss harvesting: Tax-loss harvesting must be included in their investment management process for all clients.
  • Client demographic: Accepts clients with investable assets between $250k – $25MM.

Across the board, advisors at firms selected by Harness Wealth typically have at least 15 years of experience, hold advanced degrees (MBA, JD, MST, etc.), and have a variety of speciality certifications (CFP, CFA, CPA, EA, etc.)

We have a more detailed overview of our advisor selection process for all three types of firms here. 

What if I’m dissatisfied with my advisor or firm? How does the fee guarantee work?

Advisor-client relationships are highly personal. We know that the best, most effective partnerships happen when the client feels completely comfortable with and confident in their advisor’s work. We want to make sure that you find the right advisory firm for you, so if you are not satisfied with the Harness Wealth advisor or firm you select after the first year, we will refund 100% of your fees.

To qualify for the advisory fee credit, the individual must formally retain a Certified Public Accountant, Trust & Estate Attorney, and/or a Financial Advisor on the Harness Wealth platform for a minimum of one calendar year. The offer can only be applied to advisory fees for firms based in the United States. The offer does not apply for Certified Public Accountant fees for tax return preparation and filing or for Trust & Estate Attorney fees for a will that was executed. Harness Wealth will provide the credit directly to the customer upon proof of fees paid. This credit is not transferable. Only one credit per household.

Who is the Harness Wealth Council? 

The Harness Wealth Council is our own group of company advisors, made up of former finance executives, national policy-makers, academics, and ultra-high-net-worth family office executives. They developed the screening process for the Harness Wealth advisors that we recommend, and provide feedback and industry insight into how we can continue to provide highly competitive, top-tier services and tools to our clients.

You can read more about their individual profiles here.

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