Frequently Asked Questions

Is Agili a financial advisor? Wealth manager? Financial planner? Investment advisor?

At Agili, what we do for clients amounts to so much more than any of the above industry terms convey. We act as our clients’ Personal CFO and advise them in every aspect of their financial lives – cash flow analysis, retirement and tax planning, investment management, estate planning, trust services, charitable gifting, intergenerational wealth transfers, capital preservation, insurance analysis, healthcare planning, education and college planning, stock options and corporate perquisites, real estate investments, small business financial planning, succession planning, Social Security and Medicare optimization, long-term care planning, even car-buying! We do more for our clients than the titles above suggest – we do it all! The world and markets change. So, too, do the lives and decisions of our clients. We enjoy establishing a trusting relationship with our clients and adjusting financial plans when necessary to help them fulfill their dreams. At Agili, we simplify clients’ lives with a team of experts who are ensemble thinkers, pulling all the pieces of our clients’ financial lives together.

What is a Personal CFO?

Just as a talented Chief Financial Officer helps a company effectively manage its financial resources, we help our clients succeed at reaching their unique goals by acting as their Personal CFO. As such, we customize, coordinate, and continuously monitor an individualized financial plan for clients over their lifetime. Acting as a Personal CFO, Agili focuses on the big picture and handles the details for our clients. We take pleasure in eliminating stress and worry in our clients’ lives so that they can spend their time and energy focused on what they do best and value most. For more information about the services we provide as our clients’ Personal CFO, visit Our Services page.

How do I know if I need a Personal CFO?

Clients of all ages and with varied careers and experiences benefit from Agili’s comprehensive financial planning, which includes: cash flow analysis, tax and estate planning, insurance planning and risk management, charitable gift planning, adjustments for life events, and, of course, retirement planning. And we know that there is a compounding effect when making sound financial decisions well in advance of retirement. Research shows that:

  • Those with financial plans accumulated 250% more retirement savings than those without.
  • 44% of those who have a financial plan in place save more money each year for retirement.
  • Individuals with a financial planner have roughly 29% higher retirement income than those without.

How can I keep track of my money? Are my financial records secure?

At Agili, we use a secure client portal to interface with clients, called AgiliSecure. It is a secure entry point through which clients can access their personal financial information, such as quarterly reviews and other important documents. The secure portal enables us to upload quarterly reviews, paperwork and more, getting information into the hands of our clients more quickly and executing their financial and investment plans more efficiently. We can organize a client’s financial documents in one central location, creating category folders as we go, and clients can even add their own folders in AgiliSecure. The portal enables clients to easily access past reviews and upload/download paperwork.

How often do you update me about my money?

We meet in person or virtually with clients throughout the year to ensure that we’re moving forward toward each client’s unique goals. We also send our clients quarterly reviews that include the most up-to-date information about their portfolios. These quarterly reviews also include a Market Overview written by Agili founder and President, Michael Joyce, analyzing the economy and market trends. The overview includes benchmark returns and analyses of US stocks, global bonds, international equities and non-traditional investments (such as REITs and commodities) as well as Agili news. Of course, our clients also have online access to their accounts via custodian websites. But rest assured, if a client has a question about the value of an investment or about the value of their portfolio overall, they can simply contact their financial strategist. We are always happy to update clients.

Do you provide tax preparation?

We do not prepare tax returns, but we do provide tax planning for our clients. We manage our clients’ investment portfolios with a constant eye on their tax status and the tax implications of our recommendations. In addition, we review portfolios for tax loss harvesting opportunities each year and we work hard to limit our clients’ tax liabilities. We review our clients’ tax returns and work seamlessly with their tax preparers.

How Does Agili make money?

Agili makes money one way and one way only – from the fees our clients pay us. By definition, we are a fee-only firm. We are paid by and work for only one group of people – our clients. We charge clients based on the value of the assets we manage for them (also known as “assets under management” or AUM) on the following annual fee schedule:

  • 1.00% on assets under $2 million, plus
  • 0.50% on assets from $2 million to $10 million, plus
  • 0.35% on assets over $10 million

On the last day of the quarter we take a snapshot of each client’s portfolio value and calculate the fee each client owes us from that number. At the beginning of the quarter, clients pay one-fourth of their annual fee in advance for the services to be provided in the upcoming quarter.

How does Agili NOT make money?

Unlike brokers and certain other financial advisors, Agili does not make any commission selling investment products. In fact, we do not “sell” anything. We invest our clients’ money, and we do not earn commissions for buying, selling, trading or holding any specific investment. This means we are not incented to invest in any specific investment product other than the one we believe is the best for our client(s). Agili also does not charge “performance fees” – that is, an additional percentage of assets if portfolio performance is above a certain level. And we do not accept referral fees from any service provider. If we refer a client to an accountant, attorney, banker, real estate broker, or anyone else, we do not make money from them. When we refer a client to a service provider, it’s because we believe that is the best person to serve them and help them achieve their goals.

How does Agili bill? Do you bill hourly?

It is our goal to establish a long-term relationship with clients so that we can help them over their lifetime. We act as our clients’ Personal CFO on an ongoing basis and bill them quarterly or monthly based on their individual circumstances. Our fees are based on assets under management (AUM). (Please see the above response to “How Does Agili Make Money?” for more information.) At Agili, we do not offer hourly consultations.


Is Agili a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)? What is an RIA?

Yes, we are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). We are a fee-only firm which means the only way we make money is from the fees our clients pay us. We do not receive commissions on our investment recommendations. As an RIA, we act as a fiduciary and are required by the SEC to work in our clients’ best interest – which distinguishes us from other brokers and advisors not registered in this way with the SEC. Since our firm opened its doors more than 25 years ago, we have operated as a fee-only RIA because we believe advising without conflicts of interest is the best way to serve our clients.

How is a broker different from a fee-only RIA?

Good question! A broker receives commissions for the products they sell to clients. Some brokers get paid every time a client makes a new investment or they execute a change to a portfolio. Others get paid annually if a client continues to hold an investment. Fee-only RIAs, like Agili, do not receive commissions. Also, brokers are held to a less stringent ethical code than RIAs since brokers are required by the SEC to recommend products that are suitable for their clients and not necessarily in the best interest of clients, as with RIAs (see above). While many brokers are certainly ethical and serve their clients well, there is the potential for conflicts of interest. Brokers are legally permitted to recommend a product that is suitable for a client that also pays them a high commission rather than a product that is best for a client that pays them a lower commission. With fee-only RIAs, there is no risk of such conflicts of interest. We work for our clients only. Since many brokers make a commission on the products they sell, potential conflicts of interest can impact the quality of advice the investor receives.

Are you a fiduciary? What does that mean?

Yes, we are a fiduciary and as such we act on behalf of our clients to manage their assets. RIAs are legally and ethically obligated to meet the “fiduciary standard”: that is, their investment recommendations must be solely in the best interest of their client. When an RIA is developing a wealth management plan for a client, then, they must ensure that the client’s interests come first. For more than 25 years as a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), we have witnessed first-hand how being required to meet the fiduciary’s ethical high bar – always working in a client’s best interest – benefits retirement savers. We have also seen how this standard ensures that our firm avoids the types of conflicts of interest other financial advisors face. When choosing a financial advisor, investors are well-advised to consider carefully the ethical standard to which different categories of advisors are held. These legal standards vary greatly within the investment industry – and can directly impact investors’ returns and overall wealth management plans.

How can I trust someone with all of my money?

Over the past four decades, as the burden of ensuring the stability of investments and retirement savings has shifted from employers to employees, financial consumers have grown increasingly dependent upon the advice of their investment advisors. For more than 25 years as a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), we have met the ethical high bar of the “best interest standard” discussed above on behalf of our clients. In the finance industry, there is no higher bar.


What is your investment philosophy?

At Agili, before making any investment for a client, we consider their unique circumstances, risk tolerances and time horizons. We believe that the first tenet of a strong investment philosophy should be diversification so that all investments in a portfolio do not appreciate or depreciate in tandem. Second, we believe it’s important to be tax aware “without letting the tax tail wag the dog” (that is, tax concerns alone should not direct investment choices). And third, patience is essential; we focus on long-term goals and objectives. Keeping this investment philosophy in mind when evaluating any investment for a client has served us well for over 25 years.

How will you invest my money?

At Agili, we ensure that clients have clearly defined long-term goals and we align their investment strategy with those goals. We believe that one of the best ways to mitigate the effects of volatility is to have a diverse portfolio and we always keep in mind the maximum downside a client can tolerate. Prior to making investment decisions, it is imperative that we learn as much as possible about the investments we are considering. Performing proper and comprehensive due diligence (research and analysis) is critical when selecting investments for a client’s portfolio. Before investing, we perform a SWOT analysis of the holding (analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), we look for the investment’s sustainable competitive advantages and review its past track record. Finally, we are always looking for opportunities to prune positions that have reached their full valuations.

What alternative investments will I have access to?

At Agili, we look beyond standard, low cost investments such as mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs), and broaden our investment perspective for qualified clients to include less traditional investment options such as commercial paper, hedge funds, REITs and others. By diversifying beyond investments that are highly correlated to stocks and bonds, we help our clients reduce risk without compromising return potential. Of course, we consider the fees of these various investment types since high fees can negatively impact portfolio growth (especially if performance is less than stellar). Finally, before investing in an alternative investment, we like to see that the founder and lead portfolio manager have significant skin in the game. We want to know what percentage of the investment they own so that we can understand how committed they are to their entity’s success.


How many clients do you have?

We currently have just over 300 clients. With our holistic approach, we need to know each and every client very well. We could not do a quality job if we were obsessed with exponential growth. As a small firm, we have the time to personalize and customize each client’s financial plan regularly over their lifetime and to think proactively on behalf of our clients. That being said, we have the capacity to grow to serve future clients.

What types of clients do you typically work with?

Our clients do not fit into specific categories per se, but we often work with successful individuals and families who have a demonstrated history of being good savers and who trust our team’s financial expertise. Our clients are small business owners, physicians, engineers, homemakers, corporate executives, professors and regular working people. They value their long-term relationship with us. In fact, one of the best aspects of our work is really getting to know our clients and serving them over their lifetime.

What is the minimum amount of investable assets clients must have to work with Agili?

There is not a minimum amount of investable assets required to establish a relationship with Agili. The SEC does require that we state a minimum in our Form ADV and that minimum is $1 million, but we make exceptions to that minimum. When we consider new relationships, the most important thing to us is that we establish long-term working relationships with clients who truly need and value our services. We present a minimum fee in each new client proposal, which is based on the complexity of the client’s situation. Most often, the minimum fee does not exceed what would be charged under our normal AUM-based fee schedule. Occasionally, for clients with few investable assets or a complex situation, this minimum fee may exceed our normal AUM-based fee schedule.

Can younger investors work with Agili?

We are committed to working with clients from the beginning of their successful careers through retirement. So, we have designed a program specifically for certain younger clients. As our younger clients are accumulating assets, we do not charge as a percentage of investments managed, but rather assess a monthly fee. It is our hope that this improves access to quality financial advice at a time when it can make a huge and lasting impact. To grow their nest egg, younger clients benefit from Agili’s investment expertise including asset allocation, maximization of risk adjusted returns, macroeconomic and market analysis, investment research and tax efficiency planning.

Do you work with clients anywhere or just in areas where you have offices?

At Agili, we have clients in many states across the country. We stay up to date with new technologies so that we can video-conference or tele-conference if a client isn’t close to one of our offices in Richmond, VA or Bethlehem, PA. We use Zoom, Skype and more so that we can best communicate with our clients.

Is Agili a financial advisor? Wealth manager? Financial planner? Investment advisor?

At Agili, what we do for clients amounts to so much more than any of the above industry terms convey. We act as our clients’ Personal CFO and advise them in every aspect of their financial lives – cash flow analysis, retirement and tax planning, investment management, estate planning, trust services, charitable gifting, intergenerational wealth transfers, capital preservation, insurance analysis, healthcare planning, education and college planning, stock options and corporate perquisites, real estate investments, small business financial planning, succession planning, Social Security and Medicare optimization, long-term care planning, even car-buying! We do more for our clients than the titles above suggest – we do it all! The world and markets change. So, too, do the lives and decisions of our clients. We enjoy establishing a trusting relationship with our clients and adjusting financial plans when necessary to help them fulfill their dreams. At Agili, we simplify clients’ lives with a team of experts who are ensemble thinkers, pulling all the pieces of our clients’ financial lives together.

What is a Personal CFO?

Just as a talented Chief Financial Officer helps a company effectively manage its financial resources, we help our clients succeed at reaching their unique goals by acting as their Personal CFO. As such, we customize, coordinate, and continuously monitor an individualized financial plan for clients over their lifetime. Acting as a Personal CFO, Agili focuses on the big picture and handles the details for our clients. We take pleasure in eliminating stress and worry in our clients’ lives so that they can spend their time and energy focused on what they do best and value most. For more information about the services we provide as our clients’ Personal CFO, visit Our Services page.

How do I know if I need a Personal CFO?

Clients of all ages and with varied careers and experiences benefit from Agili’s comprehensive financial planning, which includes: cash flow analysis, tax and estate planning, insurance planning and risk management, charitable gift planning, adjustments for life events, and, of course, retirement planning. And we know that there is a compounding effect when making sound financial decisions well in advance of retirement. Research shows that:

  • Those with financial plans accumulated 250% more retirement savings than those without.
  • 44% of those who have a financial plan in place save more money each year for retirement.
  • Individuals with a financial planner have roughly 29% higher retirement income than those without.

How can I keep track of my money? Are my financial records secure?

At Agili, we use a secure client portal to interface with clients, called AgiliSecure. It is a secure entry point through which clients can access their personal financial information, such as quarterly reviews and other important documents. The secure portal enables us to upload quarterly reviews, paperwork and more, getting information into the hands of our clients more quickly and executing their financial and investment plans more efficiently. We can organize a client’s financial documents in one central location, creating category folders as we go, and clients can even add their own folders in AgiliSecure. The portal enables clients to easily access past reviews and upload/download paperwork.

How often do you update me about my money?

We meet in person or virtually with clients throughout the year to ensure that we’re moving forward toward each client’s unique goals. We also send our clients quarterly reviews that include the most up-to-date information about their portfolios. These quarterly reviews also include a Market Overview written by Agili founder and President, Michael Joyce, analyzing the economy and market trends. The overview includes benchmark returns and analyses of US stocks, global bonds, international equities and non-traditional investments (such as REITs and commodities) as well as Agili news. Of course, our clients also have online access to their accounts via custodian websites. But rest assured, if a client has a question about the value of an investment or about the value of their portfolio overall, they can simply contact their financial strategist. We are always happy to update clients.

Do you provide tax preparation?

We do not prepare tax returns, but we do provide tax planning for our clients. We manage our clients’ investment portfolios with a constant eye on their tax status and the tax implications of our recommendations. In addition, we review portfolios for tax loss harvesting opportunities each year and we work hard to limit our clients’ tax liabilities. We review our clients’ tax returns and work seamlessly with their tax preparers.

How Does Agili make money?

Agili makes money one way and one way only – from the fees our clients pay us. By definition, we are a fee-only firm. We are paid by and work for only one group of people – our clients. We charge clients based on the value of the assets we manage for them (also known as “assets under management” or AUM) on the following annual fee schedule:

  • 1.00% on assets under $2 million, plus
  • 0.50% on assets from $2 million to $10 million, plus
  • 0.35% on assets over $10 million

On the last day of the quarter we take a snapshot of each client’s portfolio value and calculate the fee each client owes us from that number. At the beginning of the quarter, clients pay one-fourth of their annual fee in advance for the services to be provided in the upcoming quarter.

How does Agili NOT make money?

Unlike brokers and certain other financial advisors, Agili does not make any commission selling investment products. In fact, we do not “sell” anything. We invest our clients’ money, and we do not earn commissions for buying, selling, trading or holding any specific investment. This means we are not incented to invest in any specific investment product other than the one we believe is the best for our client(s). Agili also does not charge “performance fees” – that is, an additional percentage of assets if portfolio performance is above a certain level. And we do not accept referral fees from any service provider. If we refer a client to an accountant, attorney, banker, real estate broker, or anyone else, we do not make money from them. When we refer a client to a service provider, it’s because we believe that is the best person to serve them and help them achieve their goals.

How does Agili bill? Do you bill hourly?

It is our goal to establish a long-term relationship with clients so that we can help them over their lifetime. We act as our clients’ Personal CFO on an ongoing basis and bill them quarterly or monthly based on their individual circumstances. Our fees are based on assets under management (AUM). (Please see the above response to “How Does Agili Make Money?” for more information.) At Agili, we do not offer hourly consultations.

Is Agili a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA)? What is an RIA?

Yes, we are registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). We are a fee-only firm which means the only way we make money is from the fees our clients pay us. We do not receive commissions on our investment recommendations. As an RIA, we act as a fiduciary and are required by the SEC to work in our clients’ best interest – which distinguishes us from other brokers and advisors not registered in this way with the SEC. Since our firm opened its doors more than 25 years ago, we have operated as a fee-only RIA because we believe advising without conflicts of interest is the best way to serve our clients.

How is a broker different from a fee-only RIA?

Good question! A broker receives commissions for the products they sell to clients. Some brokers get paid every time a client makes a new investment or they execute a change to a portfolio. Others get paid annually if a client continues to hold an investment. Fee-only RIAs, like Agili, do not receive commissions. Also, brokers are held to a less stringent ethical code than RIAs since brokers are required by the SEC to recommend products that are suitable for their clients and not necessarily in the best interest of clients, as with RIAs (see above). While many brokers are certainly ethical and serve their clients well, there is the potential for conflicts of interest. Brokers are legally permitted to recommend a product that is suitable for a client that also pays them a high commission rather than a product that is best for a client that pays them a lower commission. With fee-only RIAs, there is no risk of such conflicts of interest. We work for our clients only. Since many brokers make a commission on the products they sell, potential conflicts of interest can impact the quality of advice the investor receives.

Are you a fiduciary? What does that mean?

Yes, we are a fiduciary and as such we act on behalf of our clients to manage their assets. RIAs are legally and ethically obligated to meet the “fiduciary standard”: that is, their investment recommendations must be solely in the best interest of their client. When an RIA is developing a wealth management plan for a client, then, they must ensure that the client’s interests come first. For more than 25 years as a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), we have witnessed first-hand how being required to meet the fiduciary’s ethical high bar – always working in a client’s best interest – benefits retirement savers. We have also seen how this standard ensures that our firm avoids the types of conflicts of interest other financial advisors face. When choosing a financial advisor, investors are well-advised to consider carefully the ethical standard to which different categories of advisors are held. These legal standards vary greatly within the investment industry – and can directly impact investors’ returns and overall wealth management plans.

How can I trust someone with all of my money?

Over the past four decades, as the burden of ensuring the stability of investments and retirement savings has shifted from employers to employees, financial consumers have grown increasingly dependent upon the advice of their investment advisors. For more than 25 years as a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA), we have met the ethical high bar of the “best interest standard” discussed above on behalf of our clients. In the finance industry, there is no higher bar.

What is your investment philosophy?

At Agili, before making any investment for a client, we consider their unique circumstances, risk tolerances and time horizons. We believe that the first tenet of a strong investment philosophy should be diversification so that all investments in a portfolio do not appreciate or depreciate in tandem. Second, we believe it’s important to be tax aware “without letting the tax tail wag the dog” (that is, tax concerns alone should not direct investment choices). And third, patience is essential; we focus on long-term goals and objectives. Keeping this investment philosophy in mind when evaluating any investment for a client has served us well for over 25 years.

How will you invest my money?

At Agili, we ensure that clients have clearly defined long-term goals and we align their investment strategy with those goals. We believe that one of the best ways to mitigate the effects of volatility is to have a diverse portfolio and we always keep in mind the maximum downside a client can tolerate. Prior to making investment decisions, it is imperative that we learn as much as possible about the investments we are considering. Performing proper and comprehensive due diligence (research and analysis) is critical when selecting investments for a client’s portfolio. Before investing, we perform a SWOT analysis of the holding (analyzing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), we look for the investment’s sustainable competitive advantages and review its past track record. Finally, we are always looking for opportunities to prune positions that have reached their full valuations.

What alternative investments will I have access to?

At Agili, we look beyond standard, low cost investments such as mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs), and broaden our investment perspective for qualified clients to include less traditional investment options such as commercial paper, hedge funds, REITs and others. By diversifying beyond investments that are highly correlated to stocks and bonds, we help our clients reduce risk without compromising return potential. Of course, we consider the fees of these various investment types since high fees can negatively impact portfolio growth (especially if performance is less than stellar). Finally, before investing in an alternative investment, we like to see that the founder and lead portfolio manager have significant skin in the game. We want to know what percentage of the investment they own so that we can understand how committed they are to their entity’s success.

How many clients do you have?

We currently have just over 300 clients. With our holistic approach, we need to know each and every client very well. We could not do a quality job if we were obsessed with exponential growth. As a small firm, we have the time to personalize and customize each client’s financial plan regularly over their lifetime and to think proactively on behalf of our clients. That being said, we have the capacity to grow to serve future clients.

What types of clients do you typically work with?

Our clients do not fit into specific categories per se, but we often work with successful individuals and families who have a demonstrated history of being good savers and who trust our team’s financial expertise. Our clients are small business owners, physicians, engineers, homemakers, corporate executives, professors and regular working people. They value their long-term relationship with us. In fact, one of the best aspects of our work is really getting to know our clients and serving them over their lifetime.

What is the minimum amount of investable assets clients must have to work with Agili?

There is not a minimum amount of investable assets required to establish a relationship with Agili. The SEC does require that we state a minimum in our Form ADV and that minimum is $1 million, but we make exceptions to that minimum. When we consider new relationships, the most important thing to us is that we establish long-term working relationships with clients who truly need and value our services. We present a minimum fee in each new client proposal, which is based on the complexity of the client’s situation. Most often, the minimum fee does not exceed what would be charged under our normal AUM-based fee schedule. Occasionally, for clients with few investable assets or a complex situation, this minimum fee may exceed our normal AUM-based fee schedule.

Can younger investors work with Agili?

We are committed to working with clients from the beginning of their successful careers through retirement. So, we have designed a program specifically for certain younger clients. As our younger clients are accumulating assets, we do not charge as a percentage of investments managed, but rather assess a monthly fee. It is our hope that this improves access to quality financial advice at a time when it can make a huge and lasting impact. To grow their nest egg, younger clients benefit from Agili’s investment expertise including asset allocation, maximization of risk adjusted returns, macroeconomic and market analysis, investment research and tax efficiency planning.

Do you work with clients anywhere or just in areas where you have offices?

At Agili, we have clients in many states across the country. We stay up to date with new technologies so that we can video-conference or tele-conference if a client isn’t close to one of our offices in Richmond, VA or Bethlehem, PA. We use Zoom, Skype and more so that we can best communicate with our clients.

Other Questions?

We would love to answer any other questions you have about Agili and would welcome the opportunity to have a conversation with you!

1806 Summit Avenue
Suite 100
Richmond, VA 23230

74 West Broad Street
Suite 320
Bethlehem, PA 18018