FAQs


Q – How are you different than other investment advisory firms?
A – There are several ways to answer this question. It is not just one thing that makes us different, but a combination of several things.

  • We are a privately owned firm. We are not a publicly traded company. This is important to you because we do not have to report to external shareholders. We are accountable to you, our clients.
  • Gibson Capital Management is an independent investment advisory firm. That, in and of itself does not make us unique, because there are many independent investment advisory firms in the country. It is important for you to know that we are not a subsidiary of some large public holding company that might ‘dictate’ how business should be conducted for the benefit of their shareholders.
  • Bob holds both the CFP® designation and has a Master’s degree in addition to several other designations. Why is that important to you? Towards the end of 2011 there were about 316,000 financial advisors in the USA (Cerulli Associates). Of those, only about 70,000, or 22%, are CFP®s with about 7,931 CFP®s in California. Of those CFP®s only about 6% have a Master’s degree. There are over 400,000 insurance agents in the US (US Dept. of Labor). Of that number only 1% are Certified Annuity Specialists.
  • For ten years running Bob has been selected as a Five Star Wealth Manager in the greater Sacramento area which represents the top 4% to 7% of advisors in the area. We have also been featured in the book “America’s Top Financial Advisors” for three years running.
  • Becoming a CFP® is difficult but not rare, but our philosophy of “Holistic Financial Life Planning” is rare. There are very few firms in the country who operate with this philosophy. We look to the whole person and/or the whole household with the other 8 areas of life (family, career, community, leisure, learning, spiritual, health and the physical structure of the home) in the context of financial matters.
  • Our ‘Defensive Money Management’ philosophy is unique and deeply embedded in our history and our success. Many firms in our industry were awakened to the importance of protecting portfolio values after the 2008 global financial crisis. Their client’s accounts experienced big losses so they finally decided to become advocates of defensive money management. Our advantage, and the contrast, is that we have been practicing and implementing this form of money management since the mid 1980’s. As a result we have developed specialized knowledge and key connections in the industry.
  • How we determine the implementation of financial solutions is unique. Our industry is composed of three main groups, namely the securities industry, the investment advisory industry and the insurance industry. The first two groups provide market risk financial solutions and the last group provides financial solutions with contractual guarantees. Bob has attended their respective industry conferences for several decades. As a general rule, those in the securities and investment advisory groups who are not insurance licensed tend to trash talk those who offer insurance based financial product solutions that have guarantees. We have also seen the opposite happen. That is, those in the insurance industry who are not securities licensed or investment advisors tend to trash talk those in the securities and investment advisory industry that offer market risk financial solutions. The misunderstanding continues because each side doesn’t understand the strengths and weaknesses of each other’s financial solutions. Because Bob has been licensed or registered in all three areas, and we are independent, we don’t have a ‘dog in the fight’ in providing financial solutions. With our assessments and processes we help clients determine what outcomes they prefer and then go to our ‘tool box’ of financial solutions to accommodate those outcomes.
  • Seasoned and experienced staff. One cannot operate a successful firm without experienced and competent help. Our staff are experienced, competent and honest with a sincere desire to do what is appropriate for our clients.
  • We have a clean regulatory record.
  • We have not positioned our firm with the narrative of “come to us because we have the lowest management fees”, or “we use the lowest cost mutual funds or ETFs”. We are not opposed to using money managers who use those vehicles, but we have not made that our priority over the importance of protecting your money. We have positioned our firm on value, the client’s value. For reasons explained in Investment Philosophy we believe that specializing in defensive money management firms whose philosophy is to first protect portfolios against significant market losses of 40%, 50%, 60% or more is ultimately more important for the client than posturing about the least important variable of portfolio performance which are fees.

Q – How long is the first meeting with you?
A – We allocate a minimum of two hours for your first meeting, however, depending on your needs; it may be shorter or longer. When you call to make your first appointment please review your availability for at least two follow up meetings scheduled about two to three weeks apart. This is so we can establish some momentum in your planning. My responsibility is to understand what it is that you would like to accomplish relative to the resources you have. Together we can explore your options to make a decision that feels comfortable for you.

Q – Do I have to make decisions in our first meeting?
A – No. Our first meeting is to give you an opportunity to get to know me, our staff and our philosophy better and see if you want to work with us. It also allows me to assess if we can be of service to you. The first meeting is to accomplish the first two steps of the 6 Step Process.

Q – What happens in the second and third meetings?
A – In the second meeting we hope to accomplish the 3rd and 4th steps of the 6 Step Process.

Q – What do I need to bring with me to my first appointment?
A – Please fill out the Confidential Profile and the two Guaranteed versus Non-Guaranteed Questionnaires. The first questionnaire is for retirement accounts like IRAs, 401(k) s, 457 and 403(b) plans. The second questionnaire is for regular investments like joint accounts or trusts. Also, please bring your latest tax return, statements of all of your financial accounts (savings, IRAs, 401(k) s, 457, 403(b), mutual funds, brokerage accounts, annuities, etc.), your estate planning documents, and insurance policies. We will make copies of the documents we need for your file and give you back your originals.

Q – How are you compensated?
A – Over 95% of our compensation is fee based which includes asset management fees and trails. A small percentage of our compensation is from commissions from insurance based financial solutions such as fixed annuities, long term care insurance or life insurance. See Compensation.

Introductory meetings are complimentary. During introductory meetings we are happy to answer any questions you have about how we are compensated.

Q – Does your firm manage money?
A – No. Our firm does not manage money. For the majority of our clients we are a manager of defensive money managers. Most of our accounts are managed by independent money managers that are SEC registered investment advisors. Generally, these managers use no-load mutual funds and/or low cost ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) in their portfolios. In some cases where tax deferral is more advantageous, or the contractual guarantees of lifetime income riders or principal protection are needed from insurance companies we use fixed or variable annuities. We use both traditional and no-load variable annuities.

Q – What services do you not provide?

A – We do not provide tax preparation services, nor do we give legal advice or create legal documents. We also do not provide credit relief work or bookkeeping services. We can work with or refer you to accountants, CPAs or attorneys who have expertise in these areas. We usually refer out premium based long term care policies to agents who specialize in that market. However, we provide asset based long term care insurance solutions.

Any questions about these services will be answered in your first appointment. We look forward to meeting you.