Why Fee Only?

Since our founding, Marathon is proud to state that we have provided fee-only investment management services. In doing so, we have eliminated any possible conflict of interest that could affect our judgment. Our only compensation is the fee you pay us (“fee-only”), which means our only motivation is to always work in your best interest. We do not tolerate the conflicts of interest and compromises that come with accepting brokerage commissions, insurance commissions, participation fees, any form of product sales compensation, or soft dollars. We are proud to state that Marathon meets the strict definition of “fee-only” set forth by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

The fee-only compensation method is very different than a “fee-based” method. Fee-based firms charge their clients fees. Additionally, they are paid commissions for selling specific products (such as mutual funds, annuities, partnerships, unit trusts, etc.). Thus, “fee-based” and “commission-based” investment advice is almost always biased. Their investment solutions are almost always centered around products and strategies that make them the most money.

What these “fee-based” and “commission-based” advisors neglect to tell their clients is that the advisor is being handsomely paid through “hidden” fees that are levied against the client’s accounts.

Perhaps the biggest deception in the investment world today is the way in which many financial advisors lead investors to believe that they are getting “free” investment advice. What these “fee-based” and “commission-based” advisors neglect to tell their clients is that the advisor is being handsomely paid through “hidden” fees that are levied against the client’s accounts. These fees come in the form of one-time expenses that are as high as 8.5%, and annually recurring fees as high as 2%-3% for many commissions-based mutual funds. (Refer to this report on mutual funds by the Securities and Exchange Commission to gain a better understanding of these fees.) Unfortunately, many investors are frequently taken advantage of and tricked into believing that they are getting something for nothing.

Further, today’s financial superstores tout the benefits of “one-stop shopping,” and many of them are even fee-based. However, their focus is usually to cross-sell products within their own mega-organization, such as mutual funds, annuities, and insurance policies. Their goals are to maximize the amount of money they can charge you. Obviously, talking you into investment opportunities that maximize their own profit does not qualify as objective advice. In addition to providing biased advice, “commission-based” and “fee-based” investment solutions are almost always more expensive than fee-only investment managers.

As a fee-only investment adviser, Marathon is purely an advocate for its clients. Not many financial firms can truthfully make this claim. We have access to the entire world of financial securities. Thus, we can design and implement a financial solution that is best for you and your family, rather than what is best for some gigantic firm. Our company only grows when our assets under management (your assets) grow. Our vision of offering unbiased advice has a singular goal in mind: helping you to secure your overall financial objectives by increasing your net worth, not someone else’s. This is why fee-only investment advice should be the only advice that you consider.