Q: Who is responsible for supervising you?
A: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delegates the supervision of Financial Advisors to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). FINRA, in turn, requires us to affiliate with one, and only one, broker/dealer to purchase and sell investment products on your behalf. We have chosen Commonwealth as our broker/dealer. Commonwealth is a 30-year-old, independently owned broker/dealer that serves more than 1,600 financial advisors.
Q: Why is your firm named Paul Williamson and Company?
A: Paul Williamson and Company is what we have incorporated under for tax reasons. All of our transactions are processed through our broker/dealer, Commonwealth. We do not take possession of your funds. In addition, Commonwealth keeps your investments with a custodian, National Financial Services LLC, Member NYSE/SIPC, a Fidelity Investments Company. Insurance products, such as annuities, are held directly with the carriers. You will never be asked to make a check out to Paul Williamson and Company, Inc.
Q: How can I check your backround and that of your broker/dealer?
A: You can verify that I am a registered professional and check my backround directly from FINRA by going to www.finra.org/Investors/ToolsCalculators/BrokerCheck/ and click on search for a broker, then enter Paul Allen Williamson, and/or click on search for a brokerage firm and enter Commonwealth Financial Network. Or you can also call the FINRA Broker Check Hotline at (800) 289-9999. I encourage all clients and nonclients to do periodic background checks on their advisors and their broker/dealers.
Q: What is SIPC?
A: The Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) was created in 1970 as a nonprofit, nongovernment, membership corporation, funded by member broker-dealers. SIPC is the first line of defense in the event a brokerage firm fails or customers cash and securities are missing from customer accounts. SIPC does not provide protection against loss of value due to market conditions. Commonwealth is a member of SIPC. Please visit the SIPC website: www.sipc.org for more information.
Q: How are you compensated?
A: We are compensated based on a flat fee, hourly fee, or a fee based on a percentage of assets under management. Since fee based accounts are not always appropriate for every investor, we also have traditional products from which we are paid directly from the companies that issue them. We want you to be comfortable with how we are compensated. Therefore, we will always outline how we are compensated prior to your investing with us.