Tavares | Winter Park | The Villages

RWM Ahead of the Curve: Why the Fiduciary Rule is Important

The Department of Labor (DOL) Fiduciary Rule, expanding the “investment advice fiduciary” definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), requires that all financial professionals who work with retirement plans or provide retirement planning advice act as a fiduciary, bound legally and ethically to ‘act in the best interest of their clients, and put their clients’ interests above their own.”

It leaves no room for advisors to conceal any potential conflict of interest, and states that all fees and commissions must be clearly disclosed to clients.

Ruggie Wealth Management was well ahead of the curve, choosing to be bound by fiduciary standards to act in our clients’ best interests a long time before the rule change.

Fiduciary is a much higher level of accountability than the suitability standard previously required of financial salespersons, such as brokers, planners and insurance agents, who work with retirement plans and accounts. The suitability responsibility merely meant that an advisor was legally required to make recommendations that were “suitable” for a client’s objective.

It is expected those advisors who work on commission, such as brokers and insurance agents, will be impacted the most.

We applaud the new ruling, and believe it will increase and streamline transparency, and most of all, help to prevent abuses on the part of financial advisors who resort to excessive commissions and investment churning for reasons of compensation.

If you’d like to know more about how working with a fiduciary benefits you, call us at 352.343.2700 to talk with one of our Advisors.

Ruggie Wealth Management Named to 2017 Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers

For the second year in a row, Ruggie Wealth Management is pleased to announce it has been named to the Financial Times 300 Top Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs) from among more than 12,000 SEC-registered RIAs across the U.S. 

“We’re very honored to receive recognition as one of the finest investment management firms by one of the world’s most prestigious and influential financial publications,” said Thomas H. Ruggie, ChFC®, CFP®, President of Ruggie Wealth Management.

“For 25 years, we’ve worked to make a meaningful improvement in the financial lives of our clients, and I believe this recognition is another wonderful yardstick by which to measure our team’s success,” he added.

More than 1,500 RIA firms were pre-screened prior to their consideration, and then evaluated across six criteria: assets under management (AUM); AUM growth rate; years in existence; advanced industry credentials of the firm’s advisers; online accessibility; and compliance records. There are no fees or other considerations required of RIAs that apply for the FT 300.

This is the fourth annual FT 300 list, produced independently by the Financial Times in collaboration with Ignites Research, a subsidiary of the Financial Times that provides business intelligence on the investment management industry.

According to them, “The final FT 300 represents an impressive cohort of elite RIA firms, as the “average” practice in this year’s list has been in existence for 24 years and manages $2.7 billion in assets. The FT 300 Top RIAs hail from 37 states and Washington, D.C.”

Ruggie Wealth Management provides services to individual and corporate clients, as well as to a select group of endowments and foundations. As the flagship company of Ruggie Capital Group, Ruggie Wealth offers a broad range of services and products to help clients achieve their financial goals. Ruggie Capital Group recently developed a multi-family office called Destiny Family Office – which expands their continuum of services to high-net worth and ultra-high net worth clients.

The firm has offices in Tavares, Winter Park, and The Villages®, FL.

Ruggie Wealth Named to Barron’s 1200 Top Financial Advisors for Fifth Time

Ruggie Wealth Management announced that Founder and CEO Thomas H. Ruggie, ChFC®, CFP®, has been named to Barron’s list of America’s Top 1,200 Advisors: 2017. This is the fifth time Ruggie has earned this distinction, and the third straight year.

Barron’s publishes its annual Top 1200 Advisors by State compilation to recognize advisors demonstrating exceptional performance, professionalism, client service and community involvement. Among the factors the “Barron’s Top 1,200 Advisors” ranking takes into consideration are quality of practice, assets under management, revenues, and philanthropic work.

“Competition is steep to be selected for this list, and those who make the cut represent a very high level of achievement in serving their clients’ wealth management needs,” said Ruggie of the ranking which recognizes both an elite group of independent financial professionals and large wirehouses. “I believe our clients turn to us because of our dedication to placing their interests above ours, and for the strength of our processes and collective wisdom of our team. To once again be named among Barron’s Top Advisors is an honor that reinforces we are doing what we set out to do on our clients’ behalf.”

Ruggie Wealth Management provides services to individual and corporate clients, as well as to a select group of endowments and foundations. As the flagship company of Ruggie Capital Group, Ruggie Wealth offers a broad range of services and products to help clients achieve their financial goals. Ruggie Capital Group recently launched Destiny Family Office to expand their continuum of services to high-net-worth clients.

The firm has offices in Tavares, Winter Park and The Villages®, FL.

RWM Partners with National Advisors Trust Company to Bring You World-Class Trust & Custodial Services

Ruggie Wealth Management has expanded its trust solutions for clients whose financial, family or business needs require the services of a corporate trustee, by becoming a Trust Representative Office of National Advisors Trust Company, FSB (NATC).

With $10 billion in assets under administration, NATC is one of the largest independent trust companies in the nation. It is nationally-chartered and regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, (a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department) It is also a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

By working with NATC, your Ruggie Wealth Advisor and your estate planning attorney are able to create a solid, effective estate plan that helps you minimize estate transfer and gift taxes while providing a flexible trustee solution. Together, we help improve the overall transfer of wealth between generations, and help you remain confident about the future of your estate.

Your estate planning professional can work with you to recommend and establish the appropriate trust. They will appoint Ruggie Wealth as your investment advisor and NATC as a corporate trustee, co-trustee or agent for trustee. Families can retain as much involvement and responsibility with the trust as desired.

Individuals sometimes appoint themselves, a family member, attorney, or family friend as trustee of their trusts. We know there’s no one-size-fits-all trustee solution that works for every situation. For many individuals, the administrative aspects of serving as trustee are time consuming and challenging. It may be difficult to ensure compliance with the trust document.

By appointing Ruggie Wealth to act as the agent, the trustee will still retain fiduciary responsibility, while the trust company provides asset custody, trust-style statements and trust officer support.

Ruggie Wealth works directly with the trustee to manage trust assets, help perform trust administration duties as outlined in the trust document, such as distributions, statement production, tax reporting and bill paying and achieve the stated financial objectives.

For more information, talk with your Ruggie Wealth Advisor.

Trust Services

  • Revocable trusts
  • Charitable trusts
  • Irrevocable life insurance trusts
  • Special needs trusts
  • Irrevocable trusts
  • Institutional trusts
  • Agent for trustees

Custodial Services

  • Securities safekeeping
  • Income collection from securities
  • Settlement of securities trades as directed
  • Payment of funds when directed
  • Timely statement delivery
  • Custody for alternative investments

Retirement Plan Services

  • IRAs: custodian or trustee
  • Defined benefit plans
  • 401(k): daily valuation platform
  • Defined contribution plans
  • Roth 401(k) feature within a 401(k) plan

RWM Asset Management Creates an Elite Service and Professional Partnership with Lion Street

RWM Asset Management President Thomas H. Ruggie, ChFC®, CFP®, announced he has joined Lion Street as an Advisor-Owner. Lion Street is a national financial services distribution company owned by an elite force of independent financial advisors who also specialize in providing life insurance, business insurance, and other financial-planning solutions to their high-net-worth individuals, family offices, business owners, and corporate clients.

“I have been looking for a partner in the insurance arena who specializes in areas we would otherwise not get involved in, including bank-owned life insurance (BOLI), corporate-owned life insurance (COLI), deferred compensation planning, and employee stock-ownership plans (ESOP), and we are very pleased with Lion Street’s approach,” said Ruggie, who is also president of Central Florida-based Ruggie Wealth Management, an independent Registered Investment Advisor (RIA).

“This strategic investment is an evolutionary leap in extending those types of services further on behalf of our clients, while expanding the value we deliver.

“The Lion Street partnership reflects our commitment to help our clients plan, invest and protect their savings so they can retire better. It is a strong complement to the wealth solutions we are able to offer.”

Ruggie Wealth Management provides services to individual and corporate clients, as well as to a select group of endowments and foundations. As the flagship company of Ruggie Capital Group, Ruggie Wealth offers a broad range of services and products to help clients achieve their financial goals. RWM Asset Management is a separate RIA which manages Ruggie Wealth’s investment portfolios.

For more information, talk to a Ruggie Wealth Advisor, call 352.343.2700 or email info@ruggiewealth.com. The firm has offices in Tavares, Winter Park, The Villages®, and Clermont, FL

Ruggie Wealth Management Announces Addition of Trader/Operations Specialist Michael Saunders, CFA

Mike Saunders, CFA, a Chartered Financial Analyst with over 30 years of experience in the investment industry, has quickly become a key member of the operations and investment teams of Ruggie Wealth Management in roles including investment analysis, trading, client billing, and compliance reporting. He also serves as a member of our investment management committee. 

Prior to joining Ruggie Wealth, Mike served as a portfolio manager of equity, fixed income and derivative securities for an institutional investment manager in New York.  In 1990, he started his own Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) firm in Delaware to serve small businesses and individuals.  After 22 years of operations, Mike left to become an investment manager for a large Single Family Investment Office (SFIO) where he developed investment strategy, directed investment operations and headed up trading.

He has a B.S. in Business Administration from Penn State and an M.S. in Management Science from Lehigh University.  In his spare time, he enjoys golf, swimming and biking. To welcome Mike, email him at msaunders@ruggiewealth.com or call him at 352.343.2700.

Ruggie Wealth Management Adds New Partner Rob Clark, CFP®

Ruggie Wealth Management recently announced that veteran wealth manager Rob Clark, CFP® has joined the firm as a partner.

“I’m certainly excited about the new year, in large part due to the decision I’ve made to bring on Rob as my new partner,” said Ruggie. “I’ve known and worked with Rob since 2001, and he and I share a vision of Ruggie Wealth as a firm which provides excellent service, deep expertise, and best-in-class fee-only services and financial advice.”

With attention to detail and organizational skill, Rob effectively manages clients’ portfolios, creating an integrated strategy aimed at meeting their investment and retirement objectives.

Rob is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida, and serves on the Orange County Children and Family Services Board, the Orange County Animal Services Classification Board, the UCF Alumni Association Board of Directors, and is Leadership Orlando Alumni.

A Florida native, Rob was born in Sarasota. He or his Advisor Assistant Maria Stewart can be reached at rclark@ruggiewealth.com or in our Winter Park office at 407.644.2701. Please welcome him to our team.

Tom Ruggie Selected to Elite Forbes Finance Council

 

ruggie-web-showcase-forbesfcWe’re pleased to announce our President Tom Ruggie, ChFC®, CFP® has been selected as a member of the Forbes Finance Council. As one of approximately 20 members, he’ll have the opportunity to share financial insights on Forbes.com with tens of millions of monthly readers.

The Forbes Finance Council is an invitation-only community for executives in accounting, financial planning, wealth and asset management, and investment firms. Members are hand-selected by the Council’s community team, who look for executives whose success in a given industry has been recognized publicly by industry organizations, trade publications and other professional peers.

“I’m excited to share my views and expertise with Forbes readers,” said Tom. “This opportunity gives me a wider audience to talk about the unique programs and services we have developed for Ruggie Wealth clients. At the same time, it helps me keep an ear to the ground to learn what’s on the minds of others in the financial industry.

“I look forward to discussing pressing challenges and opportunities and to share insights with the rest of the world that could help to shape it for the future.”

Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, says, “We are honored to welcome Tom into the community. Our mission with Forbes Councils is to curate successful professionals from every industry, creating a vetted, social capital-driven network that helps every member make an even greater impact on the business world.”

Taking Root: The Story Behind Our Expansion Into The Villages®

tomDid you know that the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the United States in 2014 and 2015 was not an oil town like Houston or Dallas, nor was it a coastal resort town like Myrtle Beach?

It was a Central Florida Baby-Boomer boomtown called The Villages®, a community which more than doubled its population from 51,442 residents in 2010 to a number that soared above 114,000 in 2014.

In The Villages® community, “active seniors” focus on living their lives, not just observing the years go by. With nearly 45 golf courses, 2,500 clubs and activities, abundant restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and world-class healthcare, this community holds a special charm for many interested in spending their golden years in the glow of the sun.

Not only is the community growing, so is its job base, which has expanded by 186% since 2001, according to Forbes Magazine. In addition, personal income growth, largely from assets owned by seniors, has soared by some 60% since 2000, which is 10 times the national average growth rate of 6%.

In other words, this is a prime location for financial advisors who counsel retirees.

Why, then, was I was so reluctant to take our nationally recognized wealth management process – refined over 25 years of helping hundreds of clients preparing for, nearing, or living out their retirement years – a mere 35 minutes down the road to serve residents of The Villages® community? What powerful force was holding me back from opening an office of Ruggie Wealth Management there?

Once I understood the answer to that question, not only was I able to open an office in the heart of that growth area, but I was able to see the rules I live by professionally take root.

So what did I learn?

For more than 10 years I had watched the actions, protocols, and sales tactics of many financial advisors who counsel retirees in Florida. While a core group of quality advisors exists here, I believe those good advisors get overshadowed by individuals who peddle products that line their own pockets, and do so with little or no regard for the needs of their clients.

It would not be too much of a stretch to say that most Florida retirees in communities could enjoy a free lunch – AND free breakfast and dinner, too – almost every day of the week, courtesy of product peddlers, many of whom call themselves “financial advisors.” And, as we know, there just simply are no free lunches.

In fact, according to a report by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), called Protecting Senior Investors: Report of Examinations of Securities Firms Providing “Free Lunch” Sales Seminars (Sept. 2007), between April 2006 and June 2007 the Securities and Exchange Commission audited over 110 firms in high-retiree-concentration states such as Florida, Texas, Tennessee, California, and North Carolina. Overwhelmingly the SEC found that many sales seminars advertised as “educational,” “learning workshops,” and/or stating “nothing will be sold at this workshop” were actually simple fronts for sales pitches even when advertisements did not mention any specific investment products.

Perhaps I was getting in my own way. I simply did not want to establish an office in The Villages® community just to see the reputation I’d worked nearly 25 years to build get tarnished by the perception that we, too, were in the same product-peddling business.

What changed?

A little more than a year ago, we consulted a marketing company in California that helps financial advisory firms across the country and asked them to help us fine-tune our message about the financial planning process we walk clients through. Having just hired a new financial advisor, our goal was to put together some marketing materials for the unique, four-step planning process we call Ruggie WealthCare℠.

The marketing company was very excited about our process and the impact it was having on the financial well-being of retirees. They asked how much of our current and potential client base consisted of retirees. They were shocked to learn of our proximity to The Villages® community. What shocked them even more was that, armed with what they called a “fantastic retirement planning process,” we had purposely avoided having a presence in the huge market that was right in our own backyard.

It was at that moment we made the decision to open an office that would serve people from within The Villages® community. We went in committed to providing the financial integrity, benefit, and value the thousands of retirees living in – and moving to – this area deserved. Instead of worrying about being painted with the same broad strokes as the product-peddlers, we set out to paint a whole new picture of what financial investing and advising should be.

3DBookExcerpted from Tom Ruggie’s newest book, Ruggie Rules. To learn more and pick up a copy of the book schedule a free consultation today by calling 352.343.2700. Our advisory team looks forward to meeting with you.

Ruggie Wealth Named One of Central Florida’s 2016 Best Places to Work

Best Places to WorkRuggie Wealth Management was recently named one of the Orlando Business Journal’s 2016 Best Places to Work, and was featured in the June 24, 2016 edition of the publication.

This recognition is designed to honor the area’s leading employers. The list comprises companies that go beyond the norm to foster an enjoyable and meaningful work environment for their employees, and the competition judges companies based on the results of a detailed employee survey which at least 90% of the employees had to complete for the company to be eligible.

“While we do offer some great perks and have worked hard to create an open, accepting, supportive and fun work environment, having knowledgeable, inspiring, dedicated people with great attitudes is absolutely what makes Ruggie Wealth one of the Best Places to Work,” said Founder and President Tom Ruggie, ChFC®, CFP®. “It’s rare to be able to show up each day and work with such a collaborative team, and fantastic to see our corporate culture recognized by the Central Florida business community.

 

“I know our future success depends on our continuing ability to attract and retain sharp, talented people who share our values, on investing in the tools they need to help them be successful , and on bringing tomorrow’s technology to them today to support future growth.”

Click here to learn more about the Ruggie Wealth Management team. If you would like to see our current career opportunities, click here.

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