During this unique and rapidly changing time period, I hope everyone is safe, healthy and calm. I want to assure you Weller Group will remain open and committed to serving you. I am completely committed to seeing this through by your side – I am not going anywhere. Together, we can and will persevere.
Personally, I have faith in the courage and resilience of you and our country. Frankly, I think some people (and most media reports) are encouraging us to simply give up and quit. Not me. I believe we are all much tougher than what we might expect.
Please take the time to read this entire announcement, as there are several items I will address. It is purposely lengthy, in hopes that I can cover as many potential questions as possible within one article.
Weller Group office building accessibility
Effective immediately, the Weller Group building will be open for employees only. In the spirit of complying with the social distancing request of our government, and to be sensitive to and respectful of your health and safety, for an indefinite amount of time we ask that you do not enter our building. One or more of our employees will be in our building during all normal business hours. I will personally be in the office building during normal office hours Monday through Friday and potentially on weekends throughout the duration of the “social distancing” time period.
How to deliver paperwork to Weller Group?
If you have any paperwork to deliver to us, please either mail the paperwork or drop off the paperwork at our location by using the locked drop box outside of our front entry door. Weller Group employees will be monitoring the drop box throughout the day.
What if you already have a scheduled office meeting?
Weller Group will be in contact with all clients who already have scheduled an office meeting for any dates through the end of April. (Please do not read anything into this time frame: I’m simply picking the end of April as a starting point, and can always accelerate the date and reschedule your office meeting if we determine the social distancing requests are lifted).
Methods to communicate with Weller Group
Weller Group website
www.wellergroupllc.com I encourage you to bookmark and periodically visit our website to view updated information and to access links to other sites with valuable information. Any coronavirus/market related information sent to you from Weller Group will also be posted on our website and easily accessible from our home page.
315-524-8000 – if texting you should NOT text anything confidential
Effective today, anyone who has established login credentials to Investor360 can use Investor360 Messaging to submit and receive secure and confidential messages to and from Weller Group. All messages transmitted through this system are saved within your personal Investor360 website. If you are interested in using Investor360 Messaging and have not yet established any login credentials to Investor360, please text 315-524-8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with a request to “Establish access to Investor360.” Weller Group will then send you a reply email containing your temporary password and instructions for you to access Investor360. For security purposes, Weller Group will then call your phone number on file to verbally provide your login ID. Once logged into Investor360, you can use the Messaging feature to communicate with Weller Group.
How will future communications from Weller Group be sent to you?
I envision that Weller Group will use a combination of methods to communicate with you as we progress. Any “bulk” communication (such as the one you are reading now) will be posted on our website at www.wellergroupllc.com. Additionally, if we post something new to the site and deem the information to be important but not time-sensitive, we might send an email or text or Investor360 message to direct you to our website.
I expect you are seeking information from many sources, and you are no doubt talking with other people to compare notes. Anyone can access our website, whether they are a client of Weller Group or not. Please feel free to pass along our website to anyone you feel might benefit from accessing the information we’ve posted.
Methods to communicate with your financial advisor
Naturally, as there will be no office meetings for an indefinite time period, most of our one-on-one communication will be by email, phone or phone & web conference. If necessary, I will travel to you.
Note that if you desire to see my computer screen while I’m talking with you by phone, we can easily establish a web conference using Glance software. The process is simple: while you are on the phone with me, you would simultaneously use your computer or tablet or your smart phone (even while talking with me from your smart phone) by going to a browser and accessing the Glance site by typing timweller.glance.net Note that there are no typos in the site address; that is, there is no http or www prefix. I then verbally provide you with a 4-digit session key. You enter the session key where prompted on your screen and click the orange Join Session button. You do not need to enter any of the optional information such as name, phone number or email. You will then see my computer screen, just as you would if you were sitting in my office.
What if you want to sell any investments?
- If you want to sell any investments, Weller Group must take your instructions verbally. That is, one of our employees needs to identify you verbally before we can accept your trade request. So, if you use text, email or Investor360 Message our office with a trade request, we must first call you to verbally verify your trade request before processing the request.
- Be aware markets, and thus share prices of investments, can change dramatically in short periods of time. For example, on Thursday 3/12 the stock market decreased more than 9%. One day later on Friday 3/13 the stock market increased by more than 9%. The point is your investment account value could change – both down and up – in short periods of time. The timing of any trade will determine the share price.
- Mutual funds and annuity sub-accounts trade at the close of the market, generally 4:00pm EST. Note that the time you request a mutual fund trade is not the precise moment in time your mutual fund trade will execute. For example, no matter what time of day you request to sell a mutual fund, the share price for your trade won’t be known until the sell order is executed at the close of the market.
- Exchange traded funds (ETF) and individual stocks trade at the time the order is placed, provided such a trade is a “market order.” In other words, if you request to sell an ETF at 1:15pm and wish to have your trade executed at the next available share price, you would be placing a “market order.” If the market order request is entered at 10:30am, your trade executes at the 10:30am share price.
- After the sale of investments has “executed,” the initial destination for the resulting cash will depend on your type of investment account. Brokerage accounts are investment accounts for which you receive a monthly statement. Commonwealth brokerage accounts generally begin with a prefix like B3S, B36, B37, B8G, HDS, HDQ, H2Y or F16. By default, I’ll refer to any investment account that is not a brokerage account as a non-brokerage account. The default option for a brokerage account is for the sales proceeds of an investment to be deposited into the FDIC-insured bank deposit fund within the brokerage account. Non-brokerage accounts require a decision to be made prior to placing a sell order; generally, the sale of investments within a non-brokerage account will cause the sales proceeds to be mailed to you.
- The sale of any investment within a non-retirement account (ex: Individual, TOD or JTWROS ownership titles) will have income tax consequences, and upon executing a sale you would create or “realize” either a capital gain or a capital loss for the shares sold. You should always consult with a tax advisor prior to selling any investments. I will make you aware of any income tax consequences.
- The sale of any investment within a retirement account (ex: Any type of IRA, 403(b), 401(k), 457, annuities) will have no income tax consequence, provided the money from the sale of investment products continues to reside within the retirement account. Income tax consequences arise only when you take money out of the retirement account.
- The cost of selling could be $0 or there could be nominal transaction expenses ranging from $4.95 to $15 per trade. Additionally, if you are selling any investments within a brokerage account, there is a $4 confirmation fee per trade. You can avoid the $4 confirmation fees if you have established Investor360 and elected e-delivery for your investment communications (with the exclusion of tax documents).
What if you want to buy any investments?
- If you want to buy any investment or investments, you must have cash on deposit in your brokerage account before requesting a trade to buy shares. You can deposit money into your brokerage account by submitting a check to Weller Group (check would be payable to National Financial Services, or NFS) or by requesting Weller Group to pull money electronically from your bank account on file into your brokerage account. Please contact Weller Group if you desire to deposit any money into your brokerage account and we will discuss the best method for you.
- Be aware markets and thus share prices of investments can change dramatically in short periods of time. For example, on Thursday 3/12 the stock market decreased more than 9%. One day later on Friday 3/13 the stock market increased by more than 9%. The point is your investment account value could change – both down and up – in short periods of time. The timing of any trade will determine the share price.
- Mutual funds trade at the close of the market, generally 4:00pm EST. Note that the time you request a mutual fund trade is not the precise moment in time your mutual fund trade will execute. For example, if you request to buy a mutual fund at 2:00pm, the share price for your trade won’t be known until the buy order is executed at the close of the market.
- Exchange traded funds (ETF) and individual stocks trade at the time the order is placed, provided such a trade is a “market order.” In other words, if you request to buy an ETF at 1:15pm and wish to have your trade executed at the next available share price, you would be placing a “market order.” If the market order request is entered at 1:15pm, your trade executes at the 1:15pm share price.
- The cost of buying could be $0 or there could be nominal transaction expenses ranging from $4 to $35 per trade. There are several no transaction fee (NTF) investment products you could purchase (NTF truly does mean $0 cost to purchase or sell the investment). The NTF products are offered through Fidelity and are a range of mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs).
Be aware of scams
This has nothing to do specifically with the coronavirus, but has everything to do with unethical people trying to prey on fear and chaotic headlines. This is exactly the type of fluid news environment where criminals might try to take advantage of others while your focus is elsewhere. Please use caution when relaying any information by phone or email. It is a best practice to simply hang up or delete an email if you are suspicious of the origin. Know that any legitimate organization or company (including banks, the IRS, Social Security, credit card companies) should have multiple ways of contacting you. Do not provide your personal information over the phone or through your computer to anyone unless you are positive the source is legitimate; and even then, exercise caution. If a company truly needs you to “verify” information or threatens you with a deadline to pay a bill, it is OK to simply tell them “if you are legitimate, then you should have my mailing address. Send me something in the mail and then I’ll respond.”
This is new territory for all of us. There is a lot of information to digest and contemplate. Medical, economic, social, family, political and financial issues. Federal, state and local levels. False rumors and wildly slanted reporting. Correct data and objective reporting. These are always the topics that collide with each other to form the news, and now every one of them is magnified under a microscope. I encourage you to focus on facts, and not headlines. And, possibly most frustrating to all of us is the unknown amount of time it will take for us to see positive traction. I’m as frustrated as everyone else. But I will be positive and when assessing this from the viewpoint of being your advisor, I fully expect to one day remember this as a major inconvenience for us, and not a catastrophe.
Contact me if you want to talk or change anything
Everyone is going through a range of thoughts and emotions – don’t be surprised if some of yours change significantly during the day, both good and bad. Of course, your range of thoughts might not match my own. There is no realistic way for any of us to constantly know how the other is feeling unless we communicate. If you want to buy or sell investments, please contact me. And, even if you just want to talk – I’m available.
Thank you for your patience and trust,