Chief Financial Investment Advisors (CFIA)

Chief Financial members are able to get independent advice on financial planning and investments without the pressure normally associated with commission-based financial sales. Chief Financial Investment Advisors is a fee-based investment advisory and portfolio management service that abides by a higher level Fiduciary Standard of Care.

We believe the secret to a successful long-term investment plan is remarkably simple: keep costs low; manage volatility; use what the market gives us; don't try to chase returns.  While trust is important, we encourage our clients to be an active partner in the discovery and decision-making process. In accordance with our founding vision of helping all people make sound financial decisions, CFIA does not impose client account minimums.

Services

Planning

  • Financial Lifestyle AnalysisSM is a cash-flow and reality-based financial planning and retirement check-up tool.
  • Comprehensive Portfolio Analysis is a diagnostic and due diligence review of all your accounts, including 401(k), IRA and non-IRA accounts. This is often referred to as a “second opinion.”
  • College Costs and Education Funding explores all the possible tools and strategies to plan ahead for children’s education costs.
  • Estate Planning and Risk Management addresses issues relating to the consequences of death or disability as well as relevant legal tools like wills, trusts, and insurance.

Investments

  • Cygnet Managed AccountsSM is a transparent fiduciary portfolio management solution available for both IRA and non-IRA accounts that uses low-cost index and institutional mutual funds from Vanguard, Dimensional Funds (DFA), TIAA-CREF, and Fidelity.
  • No-Load Variable Annuity is a unique fee-only “annuity rescue” program that allows individuals to transfer out of a high cost annuity into one with a lower fee structure and access to ultra-low cost index funds. This can be done without triggering any income tax consequences.
Our Approach

Transparent and Reality-Based Planning

While trust is important, we encourage our clients to be an active partner in the discovery and decision-making process rather than being just a passive observer. Before we develop a portfolio, we first complete a Financial Lifestyle AnalysisSM. This is a fully transparent and cash-flow-based financial tool that we developed and have perfected for over 25 years.

This systematic and consultative approach improves quality control and helps us get a clear picture of our client’s circumstances and goals. Not only does this ensure that we provide accurate and objective advice, but it removes any hint of sales pressure and elitism from the planning process.

Prudent and Disciplined Investing

The secret to a successful long-term investment plan is remarkably simple. Keep costs low, manage volatility, and take what the market gives us.    

Along the way, we help clients avoid falling victim to fear and greed during the inevitable ups and downs of the markets.

CFIA Managed Accounts are designed to effectively manage investment volatility in pursuit of a targeted long-term rate of return. We use an asset allocation strategy based upon the Nobel Prize winning concept of Modern Portfolio Theory (“MPT”) that capitalizes on the mathematical relationships asset classes have with each other. We use low-cost index and institutional funds from Vanguard, Dimensional Funds (DFA), and others.

Non-Elitist Mission

We don’t impose client account minimums. This is just one example of CFIA’s founding vision and continuing non-elitist approach to helping ALL PEOPLE make sound financial decisions to achieve their goals.

 

The Chief Financial Investment Advisors Difference

Fiduciary Standards

In addition to dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s as required by the rules-based Suitability Standard, Chief Financial Investment Advisors also abides by the higher level Fiduciary Standard of Care. This is the same client-first, ethics-based standard of care used by doctors, attorneys, and CPAs.

Independent Advice

CFIA is not owned by, or obligated to, any insurance or investment company, bank, or Wall Street firm. Though we have access to the same financial products, we will not have any hidden agendas or push “in house” products on our clients.

Respect

True to our roots, we know what it’s like to put in a hard day’s work. Respect for our clients is just one more reason we don’t waste our clients’ time and money looking for the next “hot investment” or chasing short-term trends.

Michigan Family Business

Chief Financial Investment Advisors is a DBA of Cygnet Financial Freedom House. Cygnet was founded in 1983 by Ted Lakkides, the son of a meat packer and steelworker. Ted built an investment advisory and financial planning firm focused on helping people make sound financial decisions regardless of their age, wealth, or social status.

Ted’s son Brian joined Cygnet in 1992 and, together with Cygnet’s staff and advisors, they maintain an unyielding focus on this fully transparent and non-elitist approach.

The Chief Financial Investment Advisors Fiduciary Oath

At CFIA we don’t just do what we say we’re going to do... we put it in writing.

Below is an excerpt from the Fiduciary Oath we put on Chief Financial Investment Advisors letterhead and sign for our clients.

In addition to adhering to the suitability standards established by the relevant regulatory bodies, I will also abide by the more stringent fiduciary standard of care when providing you with advice and/or recommendations. My obligation to you as a fiduciary means that:

  1. I will always place your best interests and welfare ahead of mine, my firm’s or its affiliates.
  2. I will provide you with written documentation of the fees, commissions and any form of revenue my firm and I will earn when providing you with financial products or services.
  3. I acknowledge that you have entrusted me to provide objective financial advice and personalized recommendations that are free of conflicts of interest.
  4. If any conflicts of interest arise, they will be disclosed to you in writing and will be resolved in your favor.
  5. To assure objectivity, I confirm that I am not obligated by contractual requirements, benefit qualifications, compensation rates, quotas, production bonuses, sales contests or other incentives to utilize or recommend proprietary financial products or financial products with whom my firm has financial arrangements.

Chief Financial Investment Advisors (“CFIA”) provides investment advisory services through Cygnet Financial Planning, Inc.; an investment advisor registered with the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania. TD Ameritrade, Inc. serves as an independent and unaffiliated custodian for client accounts. Products and services offered through CFIA are not insured by the NCUA, NCUSIF, FDIC or otherwise federally insured; are not guarantees or obligations of Chief Financial Credit Union, CFIA, or TD Ameritrade; and may involve investment risk including possible loss of the entire principal amount invested.