What differentiates Charles River Financial Services from other firms?

We believe Charles River can be differentiated from others on a number of very important points. Among the most important are:

  • Fiduciary: As an Accredited Investment Fiduciary®, Paul acts as a fiduciary when managing your assets. Our duty and loyalty are to our clients.
  • Focus: Wealth management services is not a sideline business for us, it is our only business. We work exclusively with individual investors.
  • Privately held: We are an independent firm with no tie to some large, faceless corporate parent. There is no bureaucracy—just real people providing smart solutions to satisfy our clients' real-life financial concerns.
  • Comprehensive planning: All of our work, including investment/insurance strategy and implementation, is formulated by and integrated within each client's comprehensive financial plan.
  • Experience: Our knowledge base always continues to grow but the road we have traveled to date is longer than many. A very important part of our job is to help you ask better questions and that comes from experience, not a textbook.
  • Reputation: We are recognized by our clients and our peers as a firm that truly cares. For the benefit of our existing clients, we accept only a limited number of clients each year.

Are you a fiduciary?
Yes, Paul T Sullivan holds the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation, and acts as a fiduciary when managing your assets. Our duty and loyalty are to our clients.

How are you compensated?
Since we are a full-service firm, we are compensated in a variety of ways and it is always fully disclosed to clients. Your initial meeting with us is complimentary and without obligation. Upon retaining us, our financial planning services are billed hourly or on a project fee basis. Investment and insurance services are either provided on a fee-only basis or on a commission basis.

How often do you reevaluate my plan/investments?
The frequency of formal internal reviews and client meetings/conversations varies from client to client according to individual preferences and circumstances. After completing our initial comprehensive financial planning effort, we maintain an ongoing dialog with our clients on all aspects of their financial decision making. We recommend that progress on all financial plans be reviewed at least annually and be thoroughly re-evaluated at least every three to five years.

We communicate with our wealth management clients throughout the year (but at least quarterly), monitoring the portfolio and reporting on the progress toward the client's goals. Since we frequently serve as our client's "personal CFO," we may be in touch very often, discussing cash flow issues, facilitating charitable gifts, or coordinating activities of the client's other service providers, to cite just a few examples.

How do I get to your office?
Directions and a map can be found in Contact Us tab. If you need further instructions, please do not hesitate to email or call (800) 650-4560.

Do you accept clients who live outside Massachusetts?
Yes. We work with clients located throughout the United States. We maintain registrations and licenses in the client's state of residence and usually in the state(s) where our clients have second homes. Due to federal regulations, we can conduct business only in the states where we are registered or licensed to practice. Please call our office for a current list of states or to answer any questions.

Can you help me with my taxes?
Although tax considerations permeate all of our analysis and recommendations we do not directly prepare tax returns. We routinely work with clients' accountants to ensure a two-way exchange of information, facilitating the accountant's return preparation and an accurate view of a client's tax situation. With our extensive experience and contacts, we can recommend tax preparers to clients who will benefit from this assistance.

Do you implement investment plans by picking individual stocks and bonds or mutual funds?
To help reduce overall portfolio volatility, we use sophisticated methods of diversification and asset allocation to construct durable, long-term investment portfolios. We provide strategies for each client using opportunities regardless of their source. That's why we provide a wide array of non-proprietary alternatives when constructing a client's overall investment portfolio.

Why should I hire you when I can hire these same managers on my own?
You are free to do so. Often it is not possible, because of account minimums or restricted institutional access. But, more important, hiring a separate account manager or buying a specific investment is only one and ultimately a relatively unimportant piece of our entire service array. Our clients hire and retain us because of the coordinated matrix of services we provide and our ability to watch the "cookie jar." Clients are not required or obligated to implement any of our recommendations through our office.

Can you help me with my low basis stock?
Yes, we will review your portfolio with a tax-sensitive mindset. After all, it is not how much you make, it's how much you get to keep. As each client's situation is unique, so are the combinations of strategies to minimize capital gains and income taxes.

Can you help me with insurance needs?
After a comprehensive review of your situation and existing coverages, if any, we can confirm for you your existing coverage is adequate or assist you in obtaining the proper type and amount for your specific needs.