Clear Investment Research, LLC (CiR) provides investment value through research, portfolio construction, risk management and ongoing asset allocation.

We allocate money across various asset classes with the goal of delivering respectable risk-adjusted returns.  We take an institutionalized investment approach using index funds in efficient asset classes while employing active fund managers in less efficient asset classes. CiR’s ability to provide value through asset allocation and manager selection is supported by our dedicated research team that monitors macroeconomic, quantitative and fundamental level research indicators in the market.

CiR provides dynamic financial blueprints based on institutional market intelligence that deliver clarity to your investments.
The ethical issues faced by finance professionals have existed for centuries and are at the forefront of our minds at CiR. By answering yes to three simple questions, CiR uses the following as our guiding principles:

principles

“It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.”

Our 3-pronged approach is based on risk, tax and cost efficiency:

  1. Risk: How much are you able to tolerate swings in the value of your investments for the possibility of a higher return? Why take on more investment risk than needed?
  2. Tax: What are the tax implications of your investment decisions? How much is left after taxes are paid? The more that an investment relies on investment income – rather than capital appreciation – to generate a return, the less tax-efficient it can be to the investor.
  3. Cost: How much are your investments costing you? Do you know the asset-based fees and transaction costs associated with your investments?

The result is a researched-based tailored solution integrating financial planning, asset management, tax planning, and estate planning in a customized cost efficient manner.

We are committed to excellence but never at the expense of our firm principles and values. Our clients’ best interest will drive our investment process.

An investment fiduciary is any investment professional or financial advisor who is required by law and practice to act solely in the interests of and with undivided loyalty to his or her clients. Advice and recommendations must align with a client’s objectives, timeframe and risk tolerance. Optimal balance of risk and return is something that all fiduciaries must strive to achieve.
As a Registered Investment Advisor, we are required to file Form ADV with the Securities and Exchange Commission on an annual basis. This is where potential clients would go to conduct a background check on any advisor. You also can search for AIF® Designees at www.fi 360.com.

The SEC receives complaints regarding brokers and advisers who need to be investigated. We have none. If you’d like to confirm, please feel free to check us out at BrokerCheck. BrokerCheck can tell you if a broker or investment adviser is registered, if there have been certain actions such as regulatory actions, criminal convictions and customer complaints, an overview of a broker or adviser’s work history as well as identify the qualifications of both advisers and brokers based on licenses they hold.

As an investment fiduciary, CiR is legally bound to place our clients’ best interest first. We accomplish this by providing fee-only services to our clients, meaning we do not earn nor do we accept any product fees, such as commissions, from any financial products. Our clients know exactly what they are paying and more importantly, the amount we are receiving. Our firm is structured to work just for you because we are paid only by you.

We never want our clients to wonder if our investment advice is better for them or better for us. Our clients’ interests will always come first. We believe if you follow the money, you will understand the behavior. By design we are product neutral.

Regardless of the credentials on paper, when evaluating an advisor, it’s important to apply the same level of thoroughness and care you’d use in evaluating a physician, attorney, or building contractor. It’s up to you to examine their qualifications and credentials, identify any past or pending legal violations, solicit feedback from other clients, and fully understand the advisor’s service model and fee structure. While an advisor may be committed to acting in your best interests, making sure that person is fully qualified to do so is in your best interest.

Our Story

“If you follow the money, you will understand the behavior.”

CiR provides institutional investment experience along with tax sensitive planning delivered by a team that places your interest first.  Our culture and the services we offer are derived from Joe Jennings’ professional experience and his vision for the firm. Joe began his career in public accounting, specializing in audit and tax.

As a public accountant, specializing in tax, Joe became very aware this one line item was the largest single expense most wealth creators encounter. Effective tax planning can make a huge difference in the amount of wealth retained. This made a big impression on Joe. There is a lot to be said of the adage: “It’s not what you make; it’s what you keep.”

From public accounting, Joe transitioned to a large mutual fund company, spending the bulk of his career on the institutional side of the investment industry. As a result, he is able to take an institutionalized approach to investing and distill it to portfolios’ for individuals. Large pension plans need to carefully match current and future liabilities with investment allocations without taking on unneeded investment risk.  We take a similar approach with portfolios for individuals.

Our Team

Joe Jennings, CPA, AIF®    emailicon
Principal

Joe is both Founder and Principal at CiR. He grew up in the Annapolis, MD area and is an investment advisor representative. Additionally, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and recipient of the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) Designation, Joe’s career spans over 30 years. He currently holds his Series 66 license. He earned his Bachelor of Art’s degree in Economics from the University of Maryland and a Masters of Science degree in Management Administration from The Johns Hopkins University- Carey School of Business.

His affiliations include the AICPA, AIF and the Atlanta Track Club. Joe is an adjunct professor at Argosy University’s Masters of Business Administration program. He teaches M.B.A. candidates finance, portfolio theory and accounting courses. He also enjoys running, boating, reading and can often be seen on the golf course with at least one of his 3 sons.

Tyler Jennings    emailicon
Director of Investment Research

Tyler grew up in Atlanta, GA. Investment Analysis is his focus area at CiR. He is responsible for investment analytics, reporting, client relationship management, and vendor relationship management. He earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration in Management from the University of Georgia. Tyler holds an active Series 65 License. In his spare time, he enjoys fly fishing, hiking, auto races, the Braves, the Falcons, and the Georgia Bulldogs. Tyler is also an avid golfer.

Travis Jennings    emailicon
Systems Administrator

Travis grew up in Atlanta, GA. IT and web graphics are his focus areas at CiR. He is responsible for providing software support to CiR staff. Travis attended Marist High School for four years and is a graduate of Riverwood High School in Atlanta. He graduated from ITT Technical Institute in 2016 where he studied Network Systems Administration. When he isn’t glued to a screen, he enjoys fly fishing, shooting pool, and hanging out with friends.

Institutional

Offer your workforce an affordable and attractive benefits package without sacrificing resources to manage daily plan issues.  We understand your fiduciary role, compliance obligations, and the importance of smooth plan operations. Rely on CiR to help design and administer a customized retirement plan that meets the goals of your business and employees.

As a fiduciary investment adviser, we will assist in decision-making, expertise in an ever-changing volatile market, and improved risk management process. Our process is designed to achieve sound solutions to meet overall goals and increased fiduciary accountability.

We are here to help you understand your investment risks and market opportunities to meet pension and enterprise goals.

A defined contribution (DC) plan is a type of retirement plan in which the employer, employee or both make contributions on a regular basis.

While defined contribution (DC) plans have become the primary retirement saving vehicle offered by employers, many participants are not prepared to reach retirement goals. In fact, based on a study conducted by the Society of Actuaries, 70% of DC participants are not projected to meet their retirement income goals.

Whether it’s lack of investment knowledge, an overwhelming choice of investment options, or uncertainty around creating an appropriate asset allocation, participants need guidance to reach their income goals. We believe traditional defined benefit strategies and professional investment oversight can help. Defined Benefit (DB) plans are managed against a specific liability and have outperformed defined contribution plans.*

A defined benefit (DB) pension plan is a type of pension plan in which an employer/sponsor promises a specified monthly benefit in retirement.

Our DB approach is measured by the following criteria:

  • Diversification – broad asset class exposure with access to non-traditional and alternative investments
  • Multi-manager –professionally managed allocations across institutional managers
  • Lower fees – favorable pricing through institutional managers and economies of scale
  • Risk management – sophisticated risk management and modeling approaches
  • Dynamic asset management – active and passive asset allocation and portfolio management to take advantage of short-term market opportunities
  • Asset/liability focus – investment strategy is constructed with the optimal risk adjusted allocation aligned with the plan’s liabilities.
An non-qualified plan (NQ) plan refers to any type of tax-deferred, employer-sponsored retirement plan that falls outside of employee retirement income security act (ERISA) qualified plan guidelines. NQ plans are designed to meet specialized retirement needs for key executives and other select employees. These plans also are exempt from the discriminatory and top-heavy testing that qualified plans are subject to.

There are four major types of non-qualified plans:

  1. Deferred compensation plans
  2. Executive bonus plans
  3. Group carve-out plans
  4. Split-dollar life insurance plans

The contributions made to these plans are usually nondeductible to the employer when deferred, and are normally not taxable to the employee until the cash is received. These NQ plans allow employees to defer taxes until retirement, when they are presumably in a lower tax bracket. Non-qualified plans are often used to provide specialized forms of compensation to key executives or employees in lieu of making them partners or part owners in the company or corporation.

An endowment is financial asset donation made to a non-profit group in the form of investment funds or other property that has a stated purpose at the bequest of the donor. Most endowments are designed to keep the principal amount intact while using the investment income from dividends for charitable efforts.

Endowments provide ongoing benefits to the benefactor by earning a market rate of return while keeping the core endowment principal in tact. In some cases, a percentage of the assets are allowed to be used each year, so the amount paid out of the endowment could be a combination of income and principal. The ratio of principal to income changes year to year based on prevailing market rates.

Employer-sponsored retirement plans are subject to some of the most technical and consequential requirements under the law. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), as amended mandates that any person(s) responsible for managing or administering a retirement plan act prudently and make well-informed decisions.

As a plan sponsor, if you do not understand the extent of your fiduciary duties, or if you lack the relevant expertise to make prudent decisions, ERISA requires you to hire professional assistance. Given that fiduciaries can be held personally liable for breaching their duties under ERISA, most fiduciaries look to advisors for education and assistance.

Hiring a plan advisor is a fiduciary act in and of itself. Fiduciaries must be able to demonstrate that the arrangement between the plan and the advisor is necessary and reasonable. CiR’s services are designed to help you understand the basic duties of ERISA while providing the necessary level of support to you and your plan’s participants. For more information, please refer to our Blog post on ERISA Fiduciaries.

Institutional Investors


Institutional investors are businesses that maintain sizable, investable assets for clients or for themselves. The money is invested into large pools of securities, real property, and other investment assets.

The six most common types are: pension funds, endowments, insurance companies, commercial banks, mutual funds and hedge funds.

Private Wealth for Individuals

 

“You work hard for your money. We’ll work hard to protect it.”

Individual planning needs are constantly evolving. Circumstances, ambitions, investment strategies, tax requirements, and risk tolerance change over time. For those reasons, financial planning should be a priority for yourself, your family and/or your business.

Our comprehensive process begins at the end by asking what you would like to leave behind. We can then design your portfolio in the most efficient manner based on where you are today and how you envision your legacy.  Your financial plan will be your first glimpse of what you hope to achieve.  We will guide you through a plan that will incorporate your goals and fears, review the plan regularly, and tailor investment strategies accordingly.

We are here to help you determine how to achieve the legacy you envision based on “Where Are You Now,” whether it is at the start of your career, capital appreciation mode, retirement, capital preservation mode or somewhere in between.

Where Are You Now?

Small Business

Small business owners must also consider the legacy they are hoping to leave behind. Perhaps, you need assistance at the initial start up stages of your firm’s life cycle or you are contemplating as to whether you should invest more into your business or sell it.

Small Business Investment and Planning Consulting

Your personal wealth is linked to your business. Therefore, your financial plan, investments and tax liabilities need to be integrated into your business.  CiR is able to help you construct investment and tax strategies while you are building and growing your business.

Our investment strategies include:

  • Conservative investments for short-term working capital needs

  • Investment strategies for mid- or long-term working capital needs

  • Tax planning, which includes identifying the right retirement plan for a business owner’s needs, from SEP IRA’s to defined benefit plans. The proper fit will change as your business grows

Exiting or the Sale of Your Business

We work with clients to construct the proper terms of sale. From a cash flow and tax standpoint, sometimes installment sales are much more attractive versus a lump sum equity/cash transfer. We work with clients in building their retirement spend down (personal pension plan). The portfolio is constructed to ward off the effects of inflation and provide current income without talking on unneeded investment risk.

What is your exit strategy?

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200 Glenridge Point Pkwy,
Suite 400, Atlanta, GA. 30342

Phone:  678.293.8685
Fax:      404-537-4103
Email:   contact@clearinvestmentresearch.com
Web:     ClearInvestmentResearch.com

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Clear Investment Research, LLC (CIR) is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. CIR’s disclosure statement (form ADV Part 1) containing information on the company’s operations, services, and fees, is available on the SEC website. CIR’s disclosure brochure (form ADV Part 2A) and Privacy Policy will be provided upon request. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Clear Investment Research and its advisors are properly registered, or qualify for an exemption or exclusion from registration requirements.

This website is for informational purposes only. Nothing on the Clear Investment Research website should be considered as a solicitation or recommendation to buy or sell any investment or to engage in any transaction. All services are subject to the terms and conditions of any applicable contractual agreements and applicable laws.

Every investment strategy involves risks and has the potential for profit or loss.

While the information posted on this website is believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of posting, Clear Investment Research makes no representations, warranties or conditions, either express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness or correctness of the information on this website, and expressly disclaims any liability for errors or omissions in connection with this information. CIR may, from time to time, update, revise, correct or replace any of the information presented on this website without notice.

CIR provides links for your convenience to other sites that will direct you away from this website. CIR is not responsible for errors or omissions on third party websites, and does not necessarily endorse the information provided.