• Is Key Financial taking new clients?

    Yes, we are happy to meet with anyone, and referrals from existing clients will get first priority.

    The first meeting is free, and it is considered a “working” meeting. We will send you a questionnaire in advance, to complete before your meeting. The value you receive from this meeting can be significant if you can pull the information together in advance.

  • Is there a minimum investment?
    No, there is no minimum investment. The criteria we use are different than most firms: Can we make a difference to justify our presence in your life?
  • How do I set up an appointment?

    Email: pbrennan@staging.keyfinancialinc.com
    Phone: 610-429-9050

    If you are being referred to us, we will set up a meeting right away. If you are just learning about us from another source, Patti will first talk with you over the phone to make sure we are what you are looking for.

  • How liquid is my money and how do I request money?

    For the most part, clients will hold investments which can be sold immediately or as of the close that day. The cash is available in your account in 3 business days, after the day of the sale, per SEC rules requiring settlement in T+3 days. From there we can either send you a check, direct deposit into to your bank (ACH) or wire to your bank.

    IRAs require a form to be signed (this is federal law) which will ask if you would like us to withhold taxes for you. We can help you figure out how much should be withheld.

  • How secure are my accounts?
    We take account security very seriously. Whenever there is a request, we verify that it is you. We will only send you money to your home address, or a bank account that is already on file, established when we were face to face watching you sign the paperwork. All electronic communication is encrypted and password protected.
  • Who do I make my check payable to in order to make a deposit?
    • Retail brokerage accounts – "Royal Alliance"
    • IRA – "SunAmerica Trust Company"*
    • 529 Plans – This depends on the state in which you are investing through.
    *Please note: there are a few retirement plans that are Pershing LLC.
  • How do I go paperless?

    You can elect to Go Paperless by logging into your Royal Alliance website and clicking on the "Go Paperless" icon near the top right of the home page. There you can select which documents you want by regular mail and which ones you want an email notification for. To clarify, Royal doesn't email the documents; rather you'll get an email notification when new documents are available to view. You can change your settings at any time on your Profile Tab under Document Delivery.

    If you need any further assistance, please feel free to call or email our IT Director, Kevin Matthews at 610-429-9050 or kevin@staging.keyfinancialinc.com.

  • I’m locked out of my account. How do I reset my password?

    For KeyMoney:

    If you are looking at this, you may already know that, for your security, eMoney passwords have an automatic lock out if three incorrect login attempts are made. The good news is, if you just had a typo or remembered your password you will have the chance to login again once the system unlocks itself in 15 minutes! Otherwise, please click “Forgot your password” and follow the prompts to reset your password.

    For Royal Alliance:

    For your security, Royal Alliance passwords also have an automatic lock out if three incorrect login attempts are made. The bad news is, once you are locked out you are locked out for good. At this time there is no way of changing your Royal Alliance password without our assistance. We aren’t sure if this will ever change, but we believe that this is yet another security feature where we will be able to further verify your identity before changing such an important password!

    To reset this password, please call or E-Mail Kevin Matthews at 610-429-9050 or Kevin@staging.keyfinancialinc.com. Once we have verified your identity, we will contact Royal Alliance and they will reset your password from their secure system and we will call you back with it ASAP.

  • I moved. How do I change my address?
    We are happy to change your address for you in all of our systems, but first in order to protect you we need to verify your identity. For this purpose, please call into the office and let us know where you've moved. We will take care of the rest! Please note, you are more than welcome to send us an E-Mail notifying us of your new digs, but we will always call and verify before changing it in our systems.
  • When will my tax documents be ready?

    1099s are due to the IRS by January 31st. At that point, the IRS allows your custodian, Pershing, to request an extension if they are still waiting for all the fund companies to send them yearend tax information.

    No later than March 15th! If you are asking this question, we can promise you that you are not alone and as soon as we have the answer we will post it on our "Latest News" banner at the bottom of our home page. Please note that Pershing has no control over mutual funds making any last minute changes and this is a very common issue for all Broker Dealers (Fidelity, Schwab, and the like!). You will always be notified if any changes have been made.

  • How do I read my statement?
    We understand that the statements from Pershing (Royal Alliance) are sometimes confusing, and may not give you the information you are looking for. We will be sending you statements every quarter which we believe do a better job of communicating your results in a simple, easy to read format.
  • We understand your role as the Financial Advisor, but what is the difference between KeyMoney, Royal Alliance, Pershing and SunAmerica Trust Company?

    Think of the relationship as one similar to health care. If Key Financial is your family doctor, it is important to use state-of-the-art technology to help diagnose, treat and make sure you stay in sound financial health.

    1. KeyMoney is the system we use to monitor your financial plan. This is like having an MRI every day. You will have your own website that gathers all of your accounts, no matter where they are held, onto one dashboard for easy viewing. Your financial plan, bank accounts, 401ks and other assets come into one secure site updated every night as of the 4:00PM close in the financial markets. Transactions can be pulled in too, and you can get as much or as little detail on each holding, including research, as you want. You will have a living, breathing financial plan that monitors your progress on an ongoing basis.
    2. Royal Alliance is our primary broker dealer, similar to a Charles Schwab or TD Ameritrade. Think of this company as you would the hospital you would go to. We use Royal Alliance because they work with independent advisors and help us maintain compliance with SEC and FINRA regulations. There is no such thing as a Royal Alliance Mutual Fund. We pay Royal a percentage of our revenue and they monitor every trade, email and all of our books and records to make sure we are providing advice for each client. Royal Alliance is owned by AIG, once again the largest insurance company in the world.
    3. Pershing is the clearing firm for Royal Alliance (and SunAmerica Trust Company). A clearing firm is the company that reconciles all of the data, processes the trades, and actually puts your statements together. Each account has the $500,000 SIPC insurance against fraud, as well as an additional policy through Lloyds of London.
    4. Sun America Trust Company is the custodian Royal uses for IRAs. Every IRA must be hosted by a trust company as custodian, because there are specific reporting requirements to the IRS. Not everyone has an IRA so not everyone is going to see Sun America Trust Company on their statements. It’s like the pharmacy, and not everyone needs medicine.

    By now you might be wondering if there are a lot of hands in the cookie jar. In reality, most firms' private label the services described above, but each entity is necessary no matter who you deal with. We believe in full transparency and are proud of the choices we have made to protect our clients.

  • I want to transfer my portfolio to your care. How does that work?
    It's primarily a paperwork process. Specifically, the steps are as follows:
    1. Regular (Non retirement) brokerage accounts, mutual funds, and IRAs: You would sign paperwork to open an account and have the investments transferred. For the most part, the shares are transferred “in kind” which means the investments remain as they are currently invested until they are deposited into your account at Royal Alliance. Once everything has arrived, we would reevaluate the recommendations you approved to make sure they are still appropriate, and review final recommendations with you before we made any trades on your behalf. The transfer process can take anywhere from 1 to 4 weeks, depending on where you currently hold your accounts. The transfer system (referred to as the "ACAT" system) is very efficient, and we will make sure all shares transfer into your new Royal Alliance account. We do suggest you keep on the lookout for residual deposits that may be made after the shares have transferred, which may occur if a dividend or capital gain has been declared, but not deposited yet. That will be apparent when you receive a statement from your prior custodian and we can re-sweep the account for you.
    2. 401k Rollovers, Pension Plan Rollovers First and foremost, we will want to make sure a 401k or pension plan rollover from a prior employer is even appropriate for you. In some cases it is not, so we will walk you through the pros and cons and you will see a list of those in your financial plan. Assuming a rollover is in your best interest, a rollover is relatively easy:
      • You would call the #800 number listed on the top of your 401k statement
      • Once you have answered the security questions, you will want to tell the customer serve representative that you would like to initiate a “Rollover of your 401k or pension to your IRA”.
      • They will either do this for you right then over the phone, or send you paperwork which we can help you fill out.
      • The most important detail is that you tell the representative that the check should be made payable to "SunAmerica Trust Company". Most companies will put "FBO John Smith" in the memo section of the check, so that everyone knows it is for your account. Most 401k and pension plan providers will send the check to your home address (or the address they have on their records for you). Also keep in mind that even though the word "rollover" is often used, this is actually considered a "trustee to trustee transfer", which under a recent change in the law, is better for you. If your current 401K or pension custodian can wire the money directly into your new Royal Alliance IRA, we will be happy to provide you those instructions.
RAQs – Rarely Asked (but still important!) Questions

These are questions we might ask if we were you, or questions you might be hesitant to ask.

  • Do I have to have a financial plan?

    Everyone has a financial plan whether they realize it or not. The financial plans we create include specific strategies to improve outcomes.

  • How do you get on all of these lists of Top Advisors in the United States?

    Financial newspapers and magazines send out questionnaires to thousands of advisors about our financial planning approach, outlook on markets, growth of our business over 1, 3, and 5 years, and client retention. Each media outlet has algorithms and criteria, and each questionnaire is different and forces us to solidify our outlook, and evaluate our business. They want it to be an objective list of "best practices" in the nation.

    There is a priceless "side effect" that comes along with this process. Just as we believe it is important for every client to look at their financial plan once a year, it is important for us to look at our business plan throughout the year also. This provides a level of objective benchmarking for us, because we cannot exert any influence in the rankings.

    Instead of just working in the business, we also work on the business. We have a responsibility to make sure we will be viable through every market environment, and continue take steps to be able to provide this service to many generations of families.

  • How did your clients do in 2008?

    They lost money. The bigger question is: What did we do while it was going on, and afterwards?

    As Chris Davis once said "You make most of your money in a bear market, you just don’t know it at the time." It is what you do while it is happening that ultimately matters. Every bear market feels different, because it is. First, you are usually at a difference place in your life for each bear market. You may have been working for one, and retired for another, so how it affects you and what you should do may be different. The catalyst that caused stock prices to go down 20, 30 or even 50% is also different. It is important to have a professional, who already knows you, and who has lived through many of these markets help you through it.

  • How do I know if my money is safe?

    Another way of asking this same question may be: "How do I protect myself from a Madoff situation?" This is why we have chosen Royal Alliance who is diligent with our compliance and clears through Pershing. Madoff had his own broker dealer, and they did their own clearing, so there were no checks and balances.

    Please click on the link to read Patti’s article for Worth Magazine outlining the 10 things you can do to protect yourself from a Ponzi scheme.

  • What if something happens to Patti?
    It is an important question. Key Financial is unique as Patti is involved in every client relationship, and she has taken careful steps to make sure that every Key Financial employee knows every client as well. This has been so effective clients often call and do not ask for Patti, but will ask for one of her team members because they know them as well. Patti has taken steps to hire great people who share her values and who will always look out for our clients first. Our systems, standards and protocol are so tight that any transition would be seamless.