Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are you a Fiduciary?

    YES. The Department of Labor’s definition of a fiduciary demands that advisors act in the best interests of their clients and put their clients' interests above their own. A Fiduciary is a much higher level of accountability than the suitability standard previously required. "Suitability" means that as long as an investment recommendation meets a client's defined need and objective (, it is deemed appropriate. Under a fiduciary standard, financial professionals are legally obligated to put their client’s best interests first, rather than simply finding “suitable” investments.

  • Who holds my money?

    Charles Schwab and Fidelity are the preferred custodians we utilize for our clients.

  • Does Flagship Financial Advisors prefer one custodian over another?

    No. We have two relationships with the most well-known discount brokerage firms so that our clients have choices. We find that some clients have an affinity toward one or the other.

  • Does Flagship Financial Advisors have custody of my funds?

    No. Your money is always held with the custodian (Schwab or Fidelity). We are granted limited rights such as trading, disbursement to your address of record and limited withdrawal rights as it only pertains to our agreed-upon fees (of which Schwab and Fidelity monitor and authorize release).

  • Are my funds co-mingled with any other client funds?

    No. Your investments are ALWAYS held in your specific account, under your name (or trust or entity of your direction) and your tax ID number. Your money is separate and distinct to you.

  • Does Flagship Financial Advisors have access to my funds?

    We have limited access to just trading and the collection of our agreed upon fee which the custodian monitors. We have the ability to process distributions to your address of record and to accounts for which a signed authorization by you is registered with the custodian.

  • Can Flagship Financial Advisors wire money without my signature authorization?


  • Can Flagship Financial Advisors disburse funds to an address other than the address I have authorized (i.e., whatever you have indicated as your primary mailing address)?


  • Can I get regular distributions?

    Many of our retirees receive scheduled monthly deposits to their preferred banks.

  • Can I set up linked bank accounts and standing wire instructions to other accounts that I personally own and control (i.e., personal or business account)?

    Yes. However, that needs to be done via your signature and set up and authorized by the custodian.

  • What happens if someone (including myself) tries to change my address?

    The custodian will require a signature from all the account holders to change the address. Both Flagship Financial Advisors and the account holder are notified of such a change.

  • Are there external audits of your firm?

    Yes. There are a number of quality checks performed. From time to time, Stratos Wealth Advisors may audit our firm twice per year.

  • Can I securely view documents with your firm?

    Yes, our clients have 24/7 access to their encrypted Flagship Financial Advisors Client Portal and access through Schwab Alliance.

  • For your client portal, what security measures are in place?

    There are 4 levels of security on transmission / viewing: SSL 128bit encryption X509 certificate Time stamping with time limited allowed variation SSL HTTPS encryption using a private key

  • Is everything we talk about confidential?

    Yes, our conversations are confidential. We adhere to industry and professional ethics standards. Since we are not attorneys, however, our files and our staff can be compelled by court order to share information.

  • What is the difference between discretionary and non-discretionary assets? What will I have when I invest with Flagship Financial Advisors?

    Non-discretionary management means that the client needs to approve the timing, amount and pricing of each trade. Discretionary trading allows your advisor to make transactions on your behalf without your approval on each transaction. Flagship Financial Advisors operates on a discretionary basis, which allows us to rebalance, replace investments and manage the collective investments of our clients in an efficient and timely manner. For each client, before we invest money, we come to a mutual agreement regarding the asset allocation and risk levels, and we stick to those agreed-upon parameters. If we deem a change to those parameters to be warranted, we obtain permission with the client on those modifications.

  • What if something happens to Flagship Financial Advisors?

    Your money is held directly with the custodians, and we are simply a servicing advisor you have linked to your accounts. While we have disaster recovery and backup systems in place, you can always assign a new advisor with the stroke of a pen.

  • What happens if Schwab or Fidelity goes out of business?

    With how the financial industry is structured, your funds are not assets of the custodian (with the exception of “cash” or money market funds, which have SIPC protection limits). In the unlikely event they were to go out of business, you can transfer your funds to another institution (i.e., just like the brokerage clients of Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns did in the 2008 crisis).

  • Who is Stratos Wealth Partners?

    In selecting a firm, we took great care to ensure that from day one we would have all the necessary operational support to allow us to efficiently focus on serving you. To that end, we are proud to be affiliated with Stratos Wealth Advisors. Stratos Wealth Advisors and its affiliate, Stratos Wealth Partners are independent, partner-owned and operated financial services firm that works with more than 275 independent financial advisors nationwide. The firm provides experienced financial advisors with a reliable infrastructure and resources that allow them the flexibility to develop and grow their own businesses. Stratos Wealth Advisors offers operational and strategic resources to Flagship Financial Advisors. Stratos Wealth Advisors has assembled a large, dedicated and experienced team to assist Flagship Financial Advisors in the execution of full-service solutions for their clients. Stratos Wealth Partners was recently named to Barron's 2018 Top 40 RIA Firms.* In addition, Barron's ranked Stratos Wealth Partners #2 in number of advisors, #3 in number of offices, and #5 in number of states. *Rankings based on qualitative and quantitative components, including assets managed, size and experience of teams, and the regulatory records of advisors and firms.