Answers to commonly asked questions.

Some questions we hear every time we meet a new client – What is an RIA? Can you help me with the regulators? What makes you different than the other advisors? The answers to all these questions (and more) are below. If you have a question and don’t see it answered here, you can submit a new question to us using the form below or contact us for a prompt response.

We serve more than 50 credit unions across the nation.
Accolade offers guidance and support through our Asset Liability Management (ALM), Investment, Strategic & Loan Advisories to credit unions nationwide. Leveraging our core competencies in these areas, Accolade helps credit unions with varying balance sheet complexities optimize their financial performance, while mitigating and managing any associated risks. Our services are turnkey and competitive, with our expert team serving as an extension of your credit union’s staff. Learn more about how we can help your credit union by visiting our Services page(s).
Yes. Through our Strategic Advisory, Accolade can assist credit unions in strategic planning, and much more. Each engagement is personal and consultative; designed explicitly to meet a credit union’s specific risk management need(s). Please visit our Strategic Advisory services page for additional details. You’re also always welcome to contact us for more information on how we can help you.
Yes. Accolade offers three tiers of model validation services, depending on the level of validation needed. We provide everything from a governance review to a model review to an independent model validation. Please visit our ALM Advisory services page for additional details.
We provide investment advisory services for more than $1.3 billion investments and model more than $6.3 billion in assets on our ALM Advisory platform.

ALM takes a strategic look at how to structure the balance sheet in response to risks such as liquidity, credit, capital and interest rate. The ALM process is governed by the ALCO, or Asset Liability Committee.
With Accolade’s turnkey ALM Advisory service, you are free to manage your credit union and let us worry about building and running ALM models. Additionally, when you consider all the costs of running an internal model our outsourced solution can be a cost effective solution.
An ALM Advisory can provide a host of benefits, including:

  • Business continuity
  • Access to full-time ALM professionals
  • Detailed reporting that meets regulatory requirements
  • Ease of running alternate scenarios
We are Asset Liability Management advisors, not software providers. And, as such, credit unions get insight into what the numbers mean and not just another set of reports.
We believe ALM education and understanding of model results are both very important. Included in our service is time to discuss results with both management and the ALCO as needed.
We utilize your loan, share and investments files to build out a custom model based on your account level data.
Yes. We provide accurate and detailed NEV, NII and GAP reporting to meet the regulatory needs of credit unions.
With Accolade ALM Advisory, your credit union will receive detailed account-level results (all the way down to collateral type and credit grade), cash flows, security analysis by CUSIP, assumptions as well as other needed reports with each run. We provide full transparency.
Accolade uses a philosophy of applying standard assumptions with the ability to customize. For example, prepayment rates are set from national average, with the ability to adjust for prepayments in a particular market.
Yes – each model run comes with an approximately 30 page report of analysis explained in text and in charts.

A registered investment advisor (RIA) offers investment advice for a fee and is not paid on the sale or purchase of securities. RIA’s are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission and are obligated to provide a fiduciary duty to their client; meaning that the firm and individual advisor have an obligation to always act in the best interests of his/her clients and provide proper investment advice. This standard of care is not required of broker dealers.
As laid out in the U.S. Investment Advisers Act of 1940, this standard requires RIAs to always act in the best interests of their clients and provide investment advice suited specifically to individual client needs.
Our investment advisory pricing structure is fee-based and dependent upon the size of the investment portfolio. Accolade does not charge commissions.
Accolade does not charge commissions for trade executions. Accolade has a legal duty to pursue best execution for every security transaction we recommend.
No, Accolade does not hold or offer to sell any investments. Accolade serves as a partner to find the best security at the best price for our clients specific needs.
No, Accolade does not hold any securities inventory and is therefore not incented to sell a bond of the day.
Accolade provides its clients industry-leading investment accounting reporting on a monthly basis (as well as regulatory and rate shock reporting).
Accolade investment advisory services include security safekeeping at a third party.
Yes. The right purchase starts with a strategy that is customized to your credit union’s goals and risk tolerances. Accolade will develop/refine your organization’s investment strategy following a balance sheet analysis and discussion with management to ensure the portfolio strategy is properly aligned with the institution’s high-level goals and objectives.
While Accolade strives to provide a full-service investment advisory solution to each institution, the ownership of the portfolio remains with the institution’s management and board. With this in mind, we seek to continually provide education as needed so that management can fully explain portfolio holdings and strategy to all interested parties.
The depth and complexity of the fixed income markets allows us to create value across multiple avenues:

  • Product knowledge and experience: The investment products credit unions can purchase are often complex. Our experience in the analysis of multiple asset classes allows us to determine the appropriate types of investment products for your institution to consider.
  • Multiple broker-dealers: Accolade maintains relationships with many broker-dealers on behalf of its clients in order to make sure that clients receive the best available security at the best available price in the market and is not beholden to any one (or few) broker dealers.
  • Product pricing and spreads: As active participants in the fixed income markets, we know the correct pricing for a variety of fixed income products whose prices are never disclosed publicly. We utilize this knowledge to recommend security purchases at the best prices possible for our credit union clients.
In our experience, credit union regulators are very comfortable with Accolade’s role as it supplements the expertise at the credit union and ensures that appropriate due diligence is being performed on all potential investments.
There is no minimum portfolio size for credit unions interested in using Accolade Investment Advisory. Our investment advisory service generally works best for credit unions who are purchasing (or contemplating purchasing) investment products with embedded options (callables, MBS) or complex structures.
Yes. Education is a key factor in our investment advisory service, as the ownership of risk by the credit union’s management requires that they understand the risk/return of all potential investments.
Yes, as a part of our investment advisory services, we offer board/ALCO, and management training, depending on your credit union’s needs.

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