Step 1 – Gathering Information and Understanding
In order to best meet your needs, it is extremely important
for us to know you well. We have found that this is best
accomplished through personal meetings or phone conversations.
We begin by listening very carefully to you: What are your
priorities and concerns? What are your future spending needs?
Where do your see yourself in five, ten, or twenty years?
Since every client is unique, we also try to take inventory
of your real assets, financial assets, liquid assets, liabilities,
unrealized gains & losses, investment concentrations,
and cash flows. Our aim is to design an optimal strategy
for growing and protecting your assets that is tailored
to your specific goals and aspirations.
At this stage we also like to teach you about the historical
risks and returns associated with long-term investing. Our
goal is two-fold. First, we wish to educate you, because
we find that well-educated clients tend to be happier clients.
Second, we try to understand your personal risk tolerances
and return expectations.
Step 2 – Defining Investment Parameters
From these discussions, we begin to formulate a strategy
that includes determining an appropriate asset allocation
and formally creating an Investment Policy Statement (if
necessary). An Investment Policy Statement is a written
document that clearly sets out the client’s goals,
investment horizon, liquidity needs, tax consideration,
risk tolerances, return objectives and unique circumstances.
A properly developed investment policy supports long-term
discipline. It also helps ensure that market volatility
(causing overconfidence or panic) will not lead to ad-hoc
revisions in strategy.
Step 3 – Determining the Investment Strategy
In order to make sure we have properly understood your
objectives, we like to share our financial recommendations
with you. There is no charge or obligation resulting from
these meetings. After you have seen what we think about
your situation and how we can help you meet your long-term
goals, you are in a much better position to make an informed
decision as to whether we are the best solution to meet
your needs. Of course, all information and discussions are
held in strict confidence (click
Step 4 – Hiring Marathon
Once you have decided to hire Marathon, we will prepare
an Investment Management Agreement between you and Marathon.
The Investment Management Agreement gives Marathon the right
and responsibility to make investment transactions in your
account in accordance with the objectives stated in the
Agreement and your investment strategy (discretionary
authority). At this time we will also provide you a
copy of our Form ADV (Form ADV is disclosure document required
by security regulators).
You can always terminate the Investment Management Agreement
at any time for any reason. Of course, there are never
any penalties or additional fees that we assess to you if
you ever wanted to end our relationship. Any outstanding
fees due to Marathon would simply be prorated to reflect
the quarter-to-date services that had been rendered.
Step 5 – Selecting a Broker and Transferring Your
At the same time that you sign the Investment Management
Agreement, you will select a broker that will act as the
independent custodian of your separate investment portfolio.
We encourage you to establish a brokerage account with a
deep discount broker instead of a full-cost one. We would
be happy to assist you in selecting an independent broker
based upon criteria such as cost, ease of communication,
and quality of reporting.
Marathon will prepare all brokerage account and account
transfer paperwork for your signature. Signing the paperwork
will automatically direct your existing broker to make the
account transfer. We will also try to help you locate your
cost basis information in your taxable accounts so that
we can help keep track of your capital gains. Transfers
typically take one to four weeks from the date the forms
are signed. At this point, if you have a particular individual
who has been helping you at your former brokerage firm,
we encourage you to call him/her to let him/her know of
your decision to change advisors.
It is also important to note that Marathon never has physical
possession of your assets. Your assets are held by the custodian
(brokerage firm) of your choice in an account bearing your
name. Additionally, Marathon does not have authority to
deposit/withdraw cash or securities from you account (with
the exception of management fees).
Step 6 – Implementing Your Investment Strategy
After your new brokerage account has opened and the
securities have transferred into your account, we can begin
to implement the investment strategy. The process of transitioning
your portfolio so that it reflects the intended strategy
can take up to six months (or sometimes longer).
Step 7 – Reporting
Each quarter, Marathon will mail you a series of custom
reports (click here for a list of the reports). Your broker
will provide you with monthly statements that give an inventory
of your assets and itemize all transactions. On an ongoing
basis the broker will also provide you with trade confirmations,
and at the end of the year they will send you a 1099 Report.
Marathon provides an exceptionally wide range of reports.
You are encouraged to contact us at any time for additional
account information or for other reporting requests. We
pride ourselves on our responsiveness to client needs. We
also work closely with your accountants and attorneys to
provide any additional information.
Step 8 – Rebalancing
From time to time, market conditions will cause the
portfolio’s investments to vary from the established
target allocation. In order to remain consistent with the
diversification and asset allocation guidelines, we will
need to reallocate the portfolio back to the recommended
Step 9 – Tracking Performance & Discussing
On an ongoing basis, we track the performance of your
investments and compare them to an appropriate investment
benchmark. Tracking your portfolio performance is one of
the best ways to measure the effectiveness of the investment
strategy. It is also one of the best ways to make sure that
your long-term goals are on track for being achieved.
We also believe it is important to meet with you periodically
(preferably annually) and to find out if you are satisfied
with the progress of your investment strategy. However,
we rely on you to schedule the meetings. We also rely on
you to notify us when your investment objectives change
or when material events in your life have occurred.
A Note on Privacy
One of Marathon’s most important issues is to
protect the privacy of our clients. With this in mind, all
discussions and information shared with Marathon is treated
with strict confidence. Our records include all personal
information that we collect from you in connection with
any of the services provided by Marathon Strategic Advisors,
We have never disclosed information to nonaffiliated third
parties, except as permitted by law, and do not anticipate
doing so in the future. If we were to anticipate such a
change in firm policy, we would be prohibited under the
law from doing so without advising you first. As you know,
we use financial information that you provide to us to help
you meet your personal financial goals while guarding against
any real or perceived infringements of your rights of privacy.
Our policy with respect to personal information about you
is listed below.
- We limit employee access to information only to those
who have a business or professional reason for knowing,
and only to nonaffiliated parties as permitted by law.
(For example, federal regulations permit us to share a
limited amount of information about you with a brokerage
firm in order to execute securities transactions on your
- We maintain a secure office and computer environment
to ensure that your information is not placed at unreasonable
- The categories of nonpublic information that we collect
from a client depend upon the scope of the client relationship.
It will include information about your personal finances,
transactions and accounts with other financial institutions,
wills and trusts, and any other financial documents needed
in the investment management process.
- For unaffiliated third parties that require access
to your personal information, including financial service
companies, consultants, and auditors, we also require
strict confidentiality in our agreements with them and
expect them to keep this information private. Federal
regulators may also review firm records as permitted by
- We do not provide your personal identifiable information
to mailing list vendors or solicitors for any reason.
- Year-end account information, requested on your behalf
(e.g., client accountant, attorney, etc.) will only be
released upon receiving your prior approval. At no time,
shall such information be released without authorized
- Personal identifiable information about you will be
maintained during the time you are a client, and for the
required time thereafter that such records are required
to be maintained by federal securities laws.