Frequently Asked Questions

The Firm

    • What does an Investment Advisor do?

      An Investment Advisor generally provides discretionary investment management services consistent with a client’s goals and objectives for a designated portfolio. A qualified Investment Advisor adds value in a number of areas:

      • Helping the client identify life goals (e.g., wealth accumulation, education, retirement, estate planning)
      • Projecting the cash requirements to achieve those goals
      • Analyzing the available assets from which to meet the cash flow requirements
      • Determining the client’s investment risk tolerance
      • Selecting an asset allocation strategy that best matches the client’s goals with the funds available for investment and the client’s risk tolerance, liquidity needs and tax situation
      • Achieving investment goals while minimizing taxes on capital gains and income
      • Structuring and executing an investment plan to help achieve those goals
    • What is your investment philosophy?

      Bradley, Foster & Sargent believes investors will be successful by identifying high-quality, established companies which possess a strong business franchise and management, a solid balance sheet and growing cash flow, among other qualities. By following these companies and waiting for the right opportunity to purchase them for client accounts at attractive valuations, we believe our clients will be able to fully participate in buoyant markets and achieve capital preservation in adverse markets.

      Quality growth companies with these characteristics often sell at expensive valuations. Our approach is to adhere to a strict pricing discipline, striving to buy these companies at what we perceive to be reasonable prices. Using this approach, we seek to buy at prices which provide “a margin of safety,” a phrase coined by Ben Graham, the dean of financial analysis.

      We do not believe that it is possible to predict future stock market movements with any degree of consistency. Thus, we do not operate as market-timers. We establish different asset allocation guidelines for each of our clients based upon their own investment objectives. These allocations are reviewed on an on-going basis and, during times of high valuation, we may defer new stock purchases. Nevertheless, we maintain core equity positions.

      We believe in prudent diversification to moderate risk within portfolios and will generally hold 20 or more stock positions diversified among attractive industries, depending upon the size of the portfolio.

    • Do you consider taxes in your investment strategy?

      Yes; one of the advantages of working with Bradley, Foster & Sargent is that we offer customized investment strategies to minimize taxes. At the outset of a relationship, this is accomplished by transferring portfolios electronically to Bradley, Foster & Sargent without liquidating positions that may have large, embedded gains or positions that the Portfolio Manager plans on holding in the portfolio going forward. Portfolio Managers employ various strategies on an ongoing basis (such as taking advantage of the lower, long-term capital gains tax rate, when possible) to minimize taxes on both capital gains and on income.

    • What makes Bradley, Foster & Sargent distinctive?

      Many investment firms prefer to work with large institutions or, if they primarily serve individuals, utilize a model portfolio approach. At Bradley, Foster & Sargent, we focus primarily on serving individuals, families and smaller institutions. In our effort to deliver superior investment results, Bradley, Foster & Sargent devotes the time required to understand the needs of each client and to develop a customized approach which addresses these needs. Each client has a direct relationship with one of our eleven experienced investment professionals who seek to achieve the client’s financial objectives.

    • How does a money manager like Bradley, Foster & Sargent differ from traditional securities brokers?

      Unlike most brokers, we are not paid commissions based upon the purchase and sale of securities. Bradley, Foster & Sargent’s compensation is based solely on the market value of assets under management in each portfolio. Accordingly, our interests are aligned with our clients’ interests. If we are successful in increasing the value of your holdings, our fees increase; if your assets under management decrease, our fees decrease, as well.

    • How long has Bradley, Foster & Sargent managed client accounts?

      As a firm, Bradley, Foster & Sargent has managed client assets since 1994. However, many clients have had long-standing relationships with the Portfolio Managers at their previous firms. The 11 Portfolio Managers all have significant investing experience, most with over 25 years.

      As of September 30, 2018, Bradley, Foster & Sargent had approximately $3.8 billion of Assets Under Management.

    • What are the advantages of hiring an investment management firm like Bradley, Foster & Sargent?

      The advantages of being a client of Bradley, Foster & Sargent include:

      • Forging a close working relationship with an experienced Portfolio Manager
      • Constructing a customized/individualized portfolio consistent with client objectives
      • Minimizing capital gains and income taxes on the client’s portfolio
      • Committting to seek to achieve capital appreciation in good markets and capital preservation in adverse markets
      • Minimizing transaction costs
      • Working with a firm which seeks to deliver excellent service
    • How are you compensated?

      We are compensated by charging each client a fee, billed quarterly in arrears, which is based on the value of their Assets Under Management at the end of each quarter.

    • Who at Bradley, Foster & Sargent will manage my portfolio?

      Each client works with one Portfolio Manager who makes the investment decisions and is responsible for the performance of the account. The Portfolio Manager is supported by a Portfolio Assistant who provides complete administrative support for the relationship.

    • Do you handle bond and other fixed income instruments?

      Yes; bonds and other fixed income instruments are used in our clients’ portfolios to generate income and to lessen volatility in adverse markets. We invest our clients’ funds in municipal bonds; high grade corporate bonds; U.S. Treasury bonds, notes and bills; TIPS; convertible bonds; preferred stocks; and fixed income mutual funds.

    • What is your portfolio turnover?

      We like to invest for the long-term. Occasionally, there may be a special situation or turnaround company which is sold when the stock price reaches a certain target price, but, consistent with our investment philosophy, we strive to identify good companies and hold on to them. It is not easy to find great companies at favorable prices. It is usually better to hold a quality growth stock than to sell it if it becomes richly valued, especially in taxable accounts.

    • Who owns Bradley, Foster & Sargent?

      Bradley, Foster & Sargent is owned by the fifteen Principals of the firm.

The Client

    • Who can benefit most from the services at Bradley, Foster & Sargent?

      We serve a diverse clientele which includes individuals, families, entrepreneurs, professionals, non-profit organizations and smaller institutions. Most of our clients come to Bradley, Foster & Sargent for the following reasons:

      • Successful business persons and professionals who are too busy to effectively oversee their investments on a day-to-day basis and do the research necessary to manage their portfolios.
      • Individuals who have had an erratic track record managing their own funds and wish to forge a long-term relationship with an experienced investment professional.
      • Individuals nearing retirement age who will depend upon the prudent management of their capital to provide for their desired lifestyle in retirement.
      • Individuals and families who already possess substantial wealth and their primary objective is the preservation of capital and income generation.
      • Individuals who depend upon a secure and substantial level of income from their assets to maintain their lifestyle.
      • Individuals at the early phases of their career who are interested in the long-term accumulation of wealth.
      • A growing portion of Bradley, Foster & Sargent’s Assets Under Management are accounted for by smaller institutions which seek superior investment results and excellent service.
    • I want to be sure my personal information is kept confidential. What protection is afforded by your Privacy Policy?

      We share your concern. It is against federal and state laws for any employee to disclose information about your account with anyone outside the firm unless such disclosure is authorized by you. Our Privacy Policy has been established to conform with all applicable federal and state laws. Click here to access our Privacy Policy.

    • How do I get started?

      Contact us!

The Account

  • How do I track what is happening to my account?

    You will receive confirmation of each purchase and sale of a security from your custodian (our preferred custodians are Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments). Additionally, each client is sent monthly account statements from their custodian that details all activity and lists the market value of each asset. Moreover, Bradley, Foster & Sargent sends a quarterly package which includes a portfolio appraisal, market commentary and other relevant information. Finally, clients, through meetings and periodic reports, may receive information about their accounts and performance relative to their goals and appropriate indices.

  • Do I have to liquidate the securities in my portfolio before transferring my assets to Bradley, Foster & Sargent?

    Typically, no. In most instances, you will be advised to transfer the assets in your portfolio electronically.

  • Where are my assets held?

    Clients’ assets are held by a custodian. Our preferred custodians are Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments. A custodian is usually a bank or brokerage firm which has custody of a client’s assets, collects interest and dividends and settles security trades. Generally, the custodian reports all transactional activity and portfolio holdings through a monthly statement. A custodian may also act as a broker to execute trades on behalf of the client.

    Bradley, Foster & Sargent does not perform custodial functions. We do not hold cash or securities for customers.

  • How do I access my account?

    • To obtain information – Many custodians provide 24-hour Internet access. Using your own password, you will be able to access information on your account at any time.
    • To obtain funds – Clients may request Bradley, Foster & Sargent to process a distribution, as needed. Alternatively, Bradley, Foster & Sargent can establish a periodic, regularly scheduled distribution to clients’ bank accounts through electronic means.