Investment Strategy


Mark Smith Financial Services Manages Your Investments Differently

Over the years, some investment management practices have shifted from “traditional” thinking to a more dynamic scientific approach through the groundbreaking research and technologies founded by Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA). Mark Smith is among a select group of advisors qualified to offer clients direct access to passively managed, index-like funds designed and offered through DFA. Founded in 1981, DFA works with some of the world’s leading financial economists to bring their theories and research into practice.

Using these strategies, Mark Smith Financial Services can offer our clients a better investment experience and provide them with a globally diversified investment portfolio created as part of plan. Everyone has different investment needs and goals; perhaps you want to prepare for retirement, save for your child’s education, or simply want increase your financial wealth. Investing now in order to achieve your financial goals is essential for your future.

Mark Smith Financial Services is a time proven investment company. The firm you choose to represent you should have your best interest in mind; your investments should be efficiently managed and skillfully diversified to address market variables. Moreover, your investment portfolio should be specifically designed with consistent academic research to provide the best return on your investments. Mark Smith Financial Services incorporates all of these proven methods into the process of creating and managing our client’s portfolios.

To learn more about Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) click here.


Prediction Investing vs Academic Investing

Prediction investing is largely based on prediction and forecasting which includes choosing stocks expected to perform well in the future based on past performance and historical data. This includes moving in and out of specific investment sectors, or is based on market hype or personal interest. Market timing is another commonly used prediction investment method, forecasting the time to get in and out of a particular sector to trying to make the quickest gain on your investment. This can be a poor choice for an investor looking for low risk long term investment growth. All of these methods are trying to predict the way the economy, the stock market, or even an individual stock will perform.

Part of the prediction based investing is the emotional side of investing; people act impulsively when either buying or selling tending not to look at the entire picture of the market. Additionally, investor fall prey to letting the media sway them, and again basing decisions on perceived information or emotional hunches, not based on research driven data.

Academic investing utilizes what has been learned over the past 60 years of academic research into both markets and investing. The “Dimensional” approach looks at the market, not in terms of individual stocks but it defines the market based on expected returns. Mark Smith Financial Services, with DFA, builds broadly diversified portfolios that emphasize areas which offer the potential for higher expected returns. Academic investing focuses on remaining diversified and capturing the “Dimensional” approach, rather than deliberating on a specific concentration of stocks. Mark Smith Financial Services always focuses on educating our clients, helping them stay disciplined through various market conditions, and encouraging them to be consistent in achieving their financial goals.

The “Dimensional” approach puts it all together to translate compelling academic research into practical investment solutions.

Download “Putting Financial Science to Work” provided by Dimensional Fund Advisors.


Patient Trading Equals Lower Portfolio Management Fees

Mark Smith Financial Services client portfolios are efficiently managed to reduce excessive trading based on the prediction investing practices. With patient trading we can avoid the adverse price impact that occurs when a manager trades index securities around periodic reconstitution dates. These trading costs can normally be controlled, and avoiding them makes a real difference in investment portfolio returns.

Mark Smith Financial Services along with DFA’s “Dimensional” approach, buys and sells solely based on price and not according to the pressures of time, limited alternatives, or commitment to a forecast or index. Being patient when others are pressured to buy and sell, and being price sensitive when others are paying a premium price, leads to decreased overall portfolio management costs.

Mark Smith Financial Services is ready to help you achieve your financial goals by applying our proven methods, efficiently managing your portfolio, and helping to educate you, so you can make better investment decisions.

Contact us if you have questions or you would like to setup a consultation, contact us by clicking here or call us at 805-494-1588.

Socially Responsible Investments


Over time, due to our own consciousness and client desires, we have developed expertise in the selection of “socially responsible mutual funds.”  These funds have missions of screening out companies that  would be considered to be involved in undesirable social practices (tobacco, weapons of war, negative employment practices  – the list is extensive) or the opposite – to invest in companies that promote positive practices in environmental or socially responsible issues.  Once again, this is a topic for face to face discussion if this is of interest.

Investing With Our Firm


Your Security

At Mark Smith Financial Services your comfort and security is our number one concern. In order to ensure absolute transparency, all our client accounts are held at well-known, third party custodial institutions, that specialize in asset custody and administration. We utilize modern day technology to ensure you are never out of touch with your investments. Whether at your desk or away on vacation, you will always be able view your accounts with the click of a button, on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Keeping your assets safe

We always employ a strict disciplined approach and conduct rigorous due diligence before making any investment decisions. As a disciplined investment firm , we don’t follow Wall Street research or chase fads. We conduct our own comprehensive research, seeking facts, not opinions, and we remain emotionally detached in our analysis. Keeping client assets invested in undervalued, high quality investments dramatically reduces volatility and downside.

Avoiding volatility

We don’t take chances with our client’s assets. This means investing in only high-quality, low-risk investments. Identifying such investments takes an expert research team with years of experience. Our low-risk, defense-oriented approach allows us to bring clients the peace of mind they need, while stably and securely growing their assets.


Employing a disciplined approach, Mark Smith Financial Services based out of Southern California has established itself as an investment management firm with an exceptional track record of value creation. By focusing on long-term investment opportunities, we have achieved excellent and consistent results for our clients. Our experience coupled with our socially responsible investment approach has proven to grow our business, while helping our clients steadily grow their asset portfolios.

Portfolio Management Tailored To You

By taking the time to get to know each of our clients, we have been able to help countless investors design and implement an investment plan that puts the future they envision within their reach.

Because no two investors are the same it is important that your portfolio be customized specifically to you. You need to know that your investment advisor understands your goals, and is managing your portfolio in accordance with these.

Your financial picture

At Mark Smith Financial Services the process begins with you. Your advisor will sit down with you and take the time to understand your complete financial picture. A number of factors are considered in order to determine the proper strategy and overall financial plan that is right for you. Understanding your specific financial goals and your time frame for reaching them is the first important step. If you are nearing or in retirement, you need to assess how long you will be relying upon your assets to support you and what your cash flow requirements will be over that period.

Your expert financial and retirement planning advisor will analyze these and other factors with you in detail. From there we can begin to help you build a plan that will get you on the path to where you want to go.

Managing your portfolio accordingly

Once we have gotten to know you, we will create a portfolio and implement a financial plan perfectly suited to you. We will always stay in regular contact with you to keep current with your financial picture. In this way we ensure that your needs are constantly reflected in the daily management of your portfolio.

Insurance Consulting

“Fee Only” Insurance Consulting

After starting the fee only financial planning and investment services, the missing component to the financial planning process on a fee only (no commission – no sales) was insurance.  I finally found a solution to the commission insurance dilemma in 2008 when I found the “Fee Advisor Network” (  I joined the network right away, after my first consulting experience with them.  Through the network, we do whatever analysis of insurance need that is required for the particular client needs or goals.  There is no sale of product involved, there is a consulting fee charged, based on the complexity of the insurance project for the client.  At the end of the consultation, an advisory report is delivered with recommendations of types and amounts of insurance that appear to be appropriate.  There is no incentive due to commission to recommend more insurance than needed or the most expensive insurance product available.  Because of the lack of a commission paid to an agent, your premium dollar is much more efficient (either lower cost or quicker accumulation of cash value.) The consultation fee covers the service.  If, after delivery of the recommendations, the client needs help in the process of acquiring the recommended policy, a fee is charged for that service, preferably with a “no load” (no commission) insurance policy wherein your premium dollars are not diluted by insurance company costs for agent commissions.)

Socially Responsible Investment Funds

Socially Responsible Investment Funds

Over time, due to our own consciousness and client desires, we have developed expertise in the selection of “socially responsible mutual funds.”  These funds have missions of screening out companies that  would be considered to be involved in undesirable social practices (tobacco, weapons of war, negative employment practices  – the list is extensive) or the opposite – to invest in companies that promote positive practices in environmental or socially responsible issues.  Once again, this is a topic for face to face discussion if this is of interest.

Portfolio Management

We have no “cookie cutter” approach to investment management for our clients.  Each client is unique and has their own individual needs and goals.  We spend a good deal of time with our clients to determine the purpose of the portfolios that we are managing for them.  Often times we must also take into account assets outside of our management (egg. 401ks or money invested with other investment managers) in order to fully help with our client’s particular goals.  The money will not be invested until we have developed an investment strategy for it.  This can be accomplished by financial planning discussions, assessing portfolio risk tolerance or even a full financial plan.  Every client is different and we treat them accordingly.  We also believe that we need to educate our clients about investment assets and allocations and market behavior before any of their assets are invested.  This has proven to be a worthwhile use of time as we have endured some of the most volatile investment markets in history during my service in this profession.  The education has kept most clients on track with our plans  during the most volatile times.

We have a “passive” approach to investing on a global basis (worldwide) and do not try to “time the markets” (meaning move in and out of the market in response to current news.)This does not mean that we do not pay attention to current world events or make adjustments to asset allocations thereon, but we do not react with greed or fear.  We believe that markets work, and we will be rewarded with market returns on our investments based on the asset allocation (amount of stock versus bonds) that we have chosen.  There is much discussion about this in the up-front education and planning process.  Our investment management is done through mutual funds that have been chosen based on extensive ongoing research.  We believe that the diversification achieved by investing through mutual funds provides the best possible long term management results.

Our Mission

Our priority is to exceed our clients’ investment goals by providing the highest level of unbiased and independent investment advisory services, tailored to the specific needs of each individual client.