We are a firm that has worked with clients for over twenty years to achieve their financial goals. We analyze and manage your finances holistically, offering an integrated “trifecta” of financial planning, investment management and strategic tax advice. This comprehensive approach, emphasizing tax efficiency and expense minimization with our investment strategy, makes for a prudent and efficient path to long-term compounded growth. We are also deep believers in technology, offering just the right balance of financial software expertise and personalized client management.
Our firm’s Managing Principals and equity owners, Charlie Benziger and Audrey Grubman, have almost 50 years of combined experience in investment management, financial planning, tax strategy and corporate finance. The firm is focused on excellence across our service and investment offerings to best serve our clients’ ongoing needs. Today, Parkside Advisors is a full-service investment advisor with offices in Berkeley and San Francisco with over $500 million of client assets under management.
Charlie Benziger’s prior experience included ten years as a portfolio manager and analyst in the institutional asset management industry and nine years in corporate finance in the investment banking industry. Charlie brings his investment and risk management experience to drive the long-term performance of client portfolios. After many years of interacting directly with senior management at public companies as an investor, Charlie now enjoys applying his experience where it can directly benefit clients of the firm. Charlie received his MBA in Finance and Accounting from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his BA in English from Georgetown University.
Audrey Grubman began advising executives and employees at technology companies in the 1990s with a focus on financial planning and managing stock option and other employee equity plans for tax efficiency and eventual investment diversification. Over the subsequent decades, her firm grew into a full-service firm offering clients an integrated service of financial planning, investment management and tax planning. Audrey studied Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, leaving her senior year to pursue professional opportunities. She is a CFP® professional.
Many of our new clients are referred to us by existing clients, so it is essential that our clients are highly satisfied with our ongoing advice and service.
We work closely with a variety of professionals and individuals and their families, including:
- Corporate executives
- Business owners and partnership members
- Service professionals, including doctors, lawyers and consultants
- Employees with stock option, RSUs and other equity compensation arrangements
- Artists and entertainment professionals
- Couples and individuals preparing for, or in, retirement
- Individuals experiencing significant personal change, such as divorce or generational inheritance
These clients have a shared common need: financial advisors who are their trusted fiduciaries holding their best interests in mind, and providing a uniquely integrated offering of financial planning, investment management and strategic tax planning tailored for their goals.
We typically work with clients with investment assets of $2.0 million or more, although we begin working with some clients at lower asset levels - for example, when assets include private company equity and options, private partnerships, or other investments prior to a liquidity event.
The fee structure for our services is as follows:
Investment Management, Financial Planning and Tax Planning
Parkside Advisors' annual fee for its integrated services is based on a percentage of assets under management and scales based on total client assets managed by the firm.
Our annual fee schedule is as follows:
- Up to $2.5 million: .90%
- $2.5 million - $5 million: .75%
- Over $5 million: .45%
Ethics and Values
Yes, we are a fiduciary. We are an independent Registered Investment Advisory firm, subject to the fiduciary standard and regulated by the Securities Exchange Commission.
There are two standards to which financial advisors are held: the suitability standard and the fiduciary standard. The suitability standard requires advisors only to give advice that is “suitable”, i.e., that fits the client’s investment objective, time horizon and experience. It does not require advisors to recommend the best investment or the lowest-fee investment – only one that is “suitable”. There is also no requirement to disclose compensation payments, commissions or conflicts of interest.
The fiduciary standard – Parkside Advisors’ standard – goes well beyond offering suitable advice – it requires an advisor to always act in the client’s best interest, to disclose compensation arrangements and to avoid conflicts of interest. Whether the advice pertains to investments, whether to pay off a mortgage, rollover a 401k into an IRA, contribute to retirement accounts, or anything else, the fiduciary standard requires that an advisor always place the client’s interest ahead of his or her own.
If you have a question about whether an advisor you are considering working with is a fiduciary, ask! He or she should also be willing to put it in writing.
An ethical client/advisor relationship is one in which the advisor acts with undivided loyalty and in the best interest of the client. The client understands the services the advisor provides and how the advisor is compensated. This type of relationship is one in which potential conflicts of interest are minimized and fully disclosed.
We work with large, independent custodians – Fidelity, Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade Institutional – where our clients hold accounts in their own name. Clients receive monthly statements directly from these independent custodians. Clients provide Parkside a limited power of attorney to direct the investments in the accounts according to an agreed-upon Investment Policy.
Parkside cannot withdraw funds from your accounts, and may only deduct account management fees according to our written agreement. We are highly focused on guarding clients’ accounts and data; continually reviewing and testing our security protocols. We remind clients to protect against phone and email fraud and provide recommendations for securing their personal data. We verify large outgoing money requests by calling and speaking with each client beforehand, and notify clients of checks and other electronic transfers out of their accounts, if we haven’t been previously notified by the client.
We are always happy to review with clients our built-in system of checks and balances.
Client Relationship Management
Communicating regularly and clearly with clients is a great priority of ours. We typically start with the financial planning process. The financial plan results in a comprehensive list of action items for us and the client. These early stages of our relationship with clients are intensive, with several in-person meetings and phone call/email follow-up along the way and afterward.
While it’s our goal and desire to be highly communicative and transparent, we also understand that our clients are busy and are partly working with Parkside in order to save themselves time. So we strive to be highly efficient in our communications and will work with you to ensure that you’re hearing from us as often and as much as you would like.
We manage financial plans and assets for many client families across multiple generations, including clients' parents as well as their children. How we work with your family members depends on their individual needs. For example, we manage trust accounts for dependent children or children who have inherited assets. We also work with “emerging adults” to prepare them for financial independence.
During the financial planning process, we will review your existing portfolios and discuss any adjustments or changes we would recommend. If you have positions that would generate taxes upon sale, we manage them on a case-by-case basis. We discuss strategies for minimizing the risk of a concentrated securities portfolio and for diversifying the concentrated positions over time.
Please see our Customized Portfolio Strategies for more detail.
Yes! We have a long list of clients willing to be references who would be happy to speak with you. Contact us today for an introduction.
Contact us today to arrange an introductory meeting or call to discuss more about how we might help you.