GuardVest judges portfolios along three basic criteria and gives investors more information when choosing an advisor

Two years ago Cerulli Associates asked five thousand investors who work with investment advisors what should be a straightforward question: do their advisors get paid in fees or commissions? It may not surprise you that less than half knew the answer, or said they did, but nearly a third believed that their advisors weren’t being compensated at all.

That’s the problem that Audie Apple is trying to solve with GuardVest. He isn’t interested in telling people what to put in their portfolios or which investment managers to work with, but he thinks people should at least have more visibility into their advisors are actually doing.

What GuardVest does, it allows you to confidentially and securely link your account using Intuit, and in just a couple of minutes give you a grade on your returns, your risk, and your expenses,” says Apple. “It’s not just about reducing your expense, although that’s not generally a bad idea.”

GuardVest report card

Most people don’t know what they pay their investment advisors, says GuardVest

Apple says that the reason there’s so much confusion is that the statements people normally receive from investment managers give them a starting and ending balance, noting any contributions or withdrawals during the month. People know how they pay every month on their cell phones because they get a bill that needs to be paid, but their investment returns and costs aren’t spelled out anywhere near as clearly.

From a retail investor’s point of view, GuardVest looks at your portfolio and measures the risk, returns, and expenses and gives you a sense of whether each one is above or below average. There are also sample portfolios to compare against to get a better idea of where you stand against the crowd. It’s free to get a grade on your portfolio, and GuardVest has some premium services, but that’s not really how the company plans on making its money.

GuardVest fee impact

GuardVest wants to help talented financial advisors stand out

Apple points out that GuardVest also gives talented investment advisors a way to prove that they can manage someone’s portfolio better than the competition by uploading sample portfolios and then letting prospective check the sample against their actual portfolio. Apple says that he wants GuardVest to be like the Carfax for the financial advising industry – the goto website to make sure you’re getting a fair deal – and it seems like a good tool for making sure your investments don’t have any red flags.

Guardvest portfolio comparison