EXCLUSIVE: Cincinnati money manager Cern Basher leaves firm he helped found to start new company.
Cern Basher has left the investment advisory firm he co-founded nearly 16 years ago to start a new one.
Basher left Madison Wealth Management in January, but he didn’t have much time off. Last week, he launched Brilliant Advice, a Kenwood-based investment advisory firm with a couple of twists on the typical formula.
Basher was one of six owners at Madison, which manages more than $400 million and is also located on Montgomery Road in Kenwood, when he decided to depart.
“I had some ideas and a vision of how I wanted to work with clients, and it didn’t really mesh with my partners,” Basher said. “So I made a decision to leave Madison.”
Among the things that make Basher’s firm different from most: It’s completely open about the fees it charges, it doesn’t negotiate fees and they’re significantly lower than what most firms charge.
“All wealth managers say they can negotiate fees,” Basher told me. “But the challenge as a client is it’s a bit like being on an airplane. You’re not sure how much the person sitting next to you paid, and you don’t want to be the one who paid the most. It just doesn’t seem fair to me. The fact we don’t negotiate is actually better for you as a client. You know that it’s fair and everyone is paying equal.
The homepage of Brilliant’s website has a prominent feature allowing potential clients to compare fees. It not only shows how much they’ll pay but how much they’ll save compared to a typical adviser.
Brilliant charges no more than 0.9 percent of assets. Most advisers charge 1 percent unless accounts have an enormous amount of assets. And Brilliant’s percentage rate drops as the account gets bigger. Basher also caps the fee at $50,000 a year, regardless of account size. Any account above $12.3 million is charged the same $50,000 annual fee.
Basher also will work closely with clients to develop a plan. That probably doesn’t sound different from most advisers, but he takes it to another level. He’ll actually develop a financial plan during a meeting with a client rather than gathering information and coming back later with a strategy.
“I want them to sit down with me as we do it,” Basher said. “With a typical plan, the client doesn’t know what you considered but didn’t use.”
He also uses technology to give clients constant access to their financial plan and current investment reports. There’s no need for them to wait for a quarterly report.
In addition to investment management and financial planning, he’s offering what he calls lifestyle design. That’s a process that helps clients decide what’s most important to them and how they want to live after retirement. Then, Basher can tailor a financial plan to meet those lifestyle goals.
“We break it down into needs, wants and wishes,” he said. “Wishes tend to be the things people care the most about. Wouldn’t it be nice to make those wishes come true?”
About the company name: It’s not meant to tout that Basher’s advice is outstanding. He pointed out that brilliant means distinctive, excellent, and light and transparent. He’s striving for all of those.
He has a two-year non-solicitation agreement with Madison, so he can’t contact former clients to get them to move, but they can contact him and make that choice on their own.
“I’m sure former clients are interested, and we’ll also work with anyone else who’s interested,” Basher said.
Click here to read the full article about Cern Basher and Brilliant Advice in PDF format.
Below is a link to the article on the Cincinnati Business Courier website: