Greetings from Woodward Financial Advisors! We hope this e-newsletter finds you well. The signs of spring are all around: March Madness has come to a close, pollen is in full force and the major tax deadline is less than a week away. In this edition of the WFA newsletter, learn more about the reasoning behind our advisory team structure, see WFA's "Grammy" award winners and make yourself aware of a recent sophisticated cybercrime technique. Finally, we've included a few helpful FYIs for Woodward clients as well as several exciting things that happened behind the scenes at WFA over the past months.
Why WFA Chooses Teams Over Silos
The traditional way of working with clients in the wealth management profession has been binary: one client to one advisor. Referred to as the “silo approach,” clients only know their one advisor, with all communication and advice coming through him or her.

Traditional doesn’t cut it at Woodward, nor does doing something just because that’s “the way it’s always been done.” Whether it’s our culture, business processes, compensation model or team structure, we strive to be the best and align all elements with what is best for our clients, which often results in our being unique compared to most of the wealth management industry.

Accordingly, we’ve always viewed each client as a client of the firm and not any one individual team member. And instead of the traditional silo approach, Woodward has advisory teams. Each client has a team of three advisors: a Lead Advisor, a Senior Financial Planner, and a Financial Planning Associate.

We require that each of these three advisors be a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional (or working towards fulfilling the requirements), which is the gold standard of designations in our profession. Each advisory team is further supported by a Client Service Associate and other support staff.

We structure client relationships this way for a variety of reasons, including:

Multiple sets of eyes and ears – one advisor will often see something different and offer a unique perspective, be that in a meeting, while reviewing a tax return, or while simply responding to an emailed question. By working as a team, we effectively take off the “blinders” to potential alternatives that even the most seasoned siloed advisor might inadvertently be wearing.

Continuity – we strongly advocate for this with clients in their financial plans…shouldn’t we hold ourselves to the same standards? If an advisor is away on vacation, at a conference, in a meeting, or gets hit by the proverbial bus, then a Woodward Financial Advisors client still has two other professionals that know his or her unique situation and can continue to offer personalized advice, service and support.

Career paths – to attract and retain great people, we need to invest in them and offer compelling growth opportunities. Having different career options allows us to reward our team for great work and find a role that fits well with their desired professional aspirations. 

Few – if any – advisory firms establish dedicated teams with three CFP® practitioners. Matching clients to a single advisor might be more “efficient” from a firm standpoint. But we don’t think it would be the best situation for our clients, and that’s not who we are. If you have any questions about Woodward’s unique team structure or know someone that would benefit from having an advisory team working on their behalf, please let us know.

- Written by James Miller, CFP ® and President
The WFA Grammy Awards
On February 10th, you may have watched the 61st annual Grammy Awards ceremony hosted by the talented Alicia Keys. Well, it inspired Joe Marques, CFP ®, to create his own list of "financial" categories and awards based on lyrics. You will notice that Joe's eligibility requirements are a bit less stringent than the Grammys as his winners span several decades.
Phishing Alert! 
We’ve learned of a sophisticated phishing campaign that is circulating with ransomware. Phishing is a cybercrime in which a person is contacted by email by someone posing as a legitimate institution to lure individuals into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information, banking or credit card details, and passwords. The emails often look official and can even have a familiar email address. Ransomware is a type of malicious software that can block access to files on a computer until a ransom is paid.

This particular campaign is designed to compromise a person’s email who is routinely sending out documents to clients such as a real estate agent or other professional. A user’s email will be searched for conversation threads referencing “documents” and the malware will send a new email to the client with a message referencing attached documents. If the client clicks on the attachment, the ransomware is released and the files on the client’s computer will be locked.

A way to combat this campaign is to be careful about opening attachments, especially if they are unexpected. If you are even a little unsure, a phone call to confirm the attachment is legitimate is always a good option. 
-Written by Allison Palmer, CFP ®
Helpful WFA FYIs
Calling All 2018 Tax Returns!

WFA is reviewing clients' 2018 tax returns as clients make them available. Clients: please choose a secure way to provide us with your 2018 return. Those include dropping it off in person at the office, uploading it to your secure document vault (friendly reminder to email us if you choose this route so that we know the file is there) or sending it via certified mail. As you know, emailing a tax return as an attachment without protection is not safe as it potentially exposes sensitive information (e.g., Social Security number) that may be found in your return.

SLOA Notifications

If you haven't already, you may receive a notice from your investment custodian reminding you about the active Standing Letter of Authorizations (SLOAs) that they have on record for your accounts.

SLOAs indicate the places where you have authorized Woodward Financial Advisors to send funds from your investment accounts, such as your checking and savings accounts. For your protection, your custodian should send a reminder each year to make sure that any account connected to your investment accounts is one you’ve authorized.

Because these notices are sometimes confusing, we wanted to give you a heads-up that they will be arriving soon. As always, please contact us with any questions about these or any other notices you receive from your custodian. 
What's Been Going On at Woodward?
Pictured above: Allison Palmer, CFP ® , with one of the WFA trophies she has amassed this year.
The following are a few things that happened behind the scenes at WFA since the start of 2019:

  • Jim Miller attended the TD Ameritrade LINC conference in San Diego in February. This is the custodian’s annual conference and draws about 2,000 advisors from across the country to learn about practice management, technology, investments and planning. 

  • In March, Ben served as the emcee for the 2019 National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) South Region Symposium in Atlanta, GA. NAPFA is the preeminent professional organization for fee-only financial advisors who provide comprehensive financial planning. 

  • In March Jim Miller attended his quarterly Advisor Panel meeting for TD Ameritrade. This is a select group of about twenty firms that meet to advise TDA on many aspects of their business and client experience. This is the third year of Jim’s three year term on this panel. This quarter’s meeting was held in Nashville, TN.

  • Allison Palmer is on a roll! Having won the annual WFA "DOW Prognosticator of the Year" award (and trophy) in January for being the team member to guess closest to the DOW's close at the end of 2018, she recently gained a second annual WFA award: the coveted March Madness trophy, which previously resided in the office of Joe Marques. To top it all off, she married her partner, Robert, on a beautiful sunny afternoon in March! Please join us in congratulating our valued, trophy-winning colleague!
Thank you for reading our April e-newsletter!

Your Friends at Woodward Financial Advisors
Woodward Financial Advisors
1504 East Franklin Street, Suite 105, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.
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