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Answers to commonly asked questions.

Some questions we hear every time we meet a new client – What is an RIA? Can you help me with the regulators? What makes you different than the other advisors? The answers to all these questions (and more) are below. If you have a question and don’t see it answered here, you can contact us for a prompt response.

A registered investment advisor (RIA) offers investment advice for a fee and is not paid on the sale or purchase of securities. RIA’s are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and are obligated to provide a fiduciary duty to their client; meaning that the firm and individual advisor have an obligation to always act in the best interests of his/her clients and provide proper investment advice. This standard of care is not required of broker dealers.

As laid out in the U.S. Investment Advisers Act of 1940, this standard requires RIAs to always act in the best interests of their clients and provide investment advice suited specifically to individual client needs.

Our investment advisory pricing structure is fee-based and dependent upon the size of the investment portfolio. Accolade does not charge commissions.

Accolade does not charge commissions for trade executions. Accolade has a legal duty to pursue best execution for every security transaction we recommend.

No, Accolade does not hold or offer to sell any investments. Accolade serves as a partner to find the best security at the best price for our clients specific needs.

No, Accolade does not hold any securities inventory and is therefore not incented to sell a bond of the day.

Accolade provides its clients industry-leading investment accounting reporting on a monthly basis (as well as regulatory and rate shock reporting).

Accolade investment advisory services include security safekeeping at a third party.

Yes. The right purchase starts with a strategy that is customized to your credit union’s goals and risk tolerances. Accolade will develop/refine your organization’s investment strategy following a balance sheet analysis and discussion with management to ensure the portfolio strategy is properly aligned with the institution’s high-level goals and objectives.

While Accolade strives to provide a full-service investment advisory solution to each institution, the ownership of the portfolio remains with the institution’s management and board. With this in mind, we seek to continually provide education as needed so that management can fully explain portfolio holdings and strategy to all interested parties.

The depth and complexity of the fixed income markets allows us to create value across multiple avenues:

  • Product knowledge and experience: The investment products credit unions can purchase are often complex. Our experience in the analysis of multiple asset classes allows us to determine the appropriate types of investment products for your institution to consider.
  • Multiple broker-dealers: Accolade maintains relationships with many broker-dealers on behalf of its clients in order to make sure that clients receive the best available security at the best available price in the market and is not beholden to any one (or few) broker dealers.
  • Product pricing and spreads: As active participants in the fixed income markets, we know the correct pricing for a variety of fixed income products whose prices are never disclosed publicly. We utilize this knowledge to recommend security purchases at the best prices possible for our credit union clients.

In our experience, credit union regulators are very comfortable with Accolade’s role as it supplements the expertise at the credit union and ensures that appropriate due diligence is being performed on all potential investments.

There is no minimum portfolio size for credit unions interested in using Accolade Investment Advisory. Our investment advisory service generally works best for credit unions who are purchasing (or contemplating purchasing) investment products with embedded options (callables, MBS) or complex structures.

Yes. Education is a key factor in our investment advisory service, as the ownership of risk by the credit union’s management requires that they understand the risk/return of all potential investments.

Yes, as a part of our investment advisory services, we offer board/ALCO, and management training, depending on your credit union’s needs.