Welcome to CRA Financial LLC

CRA Financial, LLC

Our History

Excellence in financial planning since 1998.

CRA Financial, LLC was formed to give our customers a more personalized alternative to traditional wire-house brokerage firms. CRA is an SEC-registered investment advisor. We provide personal financial planning as a practical tool to help you achieve financial security and peace of mind.

In addition, we offer fee-based asset management utilizing Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services and Schwab platforms. Accounts using these platforms are full-service brokerage accounts that are provided a complete investment package of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate investment trusts, exchange traded funds, certificates of deposit, and more.

Each platform has access to more than 15,000 mutual funds, including more than 6,000 no-load and load-waived funds that can be bought and sold with no transaction charges. Our experienced investment advisors develop and implement investment strategies, monitor performance against specified goals, and make appropriate changes in investment allocations over time.

Our Future

Our clients' needs are our first priority.

CRA Financial, LLC is a comprehensive wealth management firm whose primary objective is to assist you in accumulating and preserving your family’s wealth. We are committed to providing value-added, wealth-enhancing services to our clients in a cost-effective manner that remains consistent with our philosophy that putting our clients’ best interest first is our first priority. These services encompass six comprehensive areas of financial planning: investment, tax, insurance, retirement, education, and estate planning.

Objective, dependable, practical advice from our financial advisors is a hallmark of our fee-based services.

Our Team

Francis C. Thomas, CPA/PFS

Francis C. Thomas, CPA/PFS
Financial Planner

Donna Savastani

Donna Savastani
Client Service Personnel

Kelli Crouch

Kelli Crouch
Client Service Personnel

Patricia Sandland

Patricia Sandland
Client Service Personnel

Amanda L. Siegel

Amanda L. McBride
Client Service Personnel

About Our Founders

FirstPersonphoto

As Seen in the Winter 2014 Edition of NJ Lifestyle

The Money Men

New Jersey Lifestyle readers know Matt and Tom Reynolds as the authors of the “Money Watch” column that appears in each issue. The brothers expertly write about topics such as tax planning, making a household budget, and investing. But for those who desire a more personal touch, Tom, 48, and Matt, 43, offer financial services from their office in Northfield. Raised in Margate, both brothers are Certified Public Accountants and Matt is also a Certified Financial Planner. Tom and Matt Reynolds are involved with two separate companies. Capaldi Reynolds & Pelosi, founded in 1935, provides clients with auditing, tax preparation, and other accounting services. The brothers are also cofounders of CRA Financial, a relatively new firm that manages clients’ investments and helps them plan for the future. They shared their experience and philosophy in a recent interview.

LIFESTYLE: Why did you decide to go into accounting?

Matt Reynolds: Probably because of our dad. He’s been with Capaldi Reynolds & Pelosi for 57 years. He started here after college in the 1950s.

Tom Reynolds: Dad became a managing partner in the late 1970s. When we graduated college in the late 1980s, early 1990s, our dad was still at the peak of his working career, and we started to work with him.

LIFESTYLE: How is CRA Financial different from its parent firm?

Tom Reynolds: CRA Financial was an outgrowth of Capaldi Reynolds & Pelosi clients who were requesting help with their investments. They weren’t happy with what was offered down here. There was a law prohibiting CPAs in New Jersey from managing investments, and when it was rescinded [at the end of 1998], we launched CRA Financial.

Matt Reynolds: It’s great for clients because they can go to one place for all their financial needs. They can do the accounting for their business and their personal accounting. We manage their assets and we do financial planning for them. It’s kind of a one-stop shop.

Tom Reynolds: We’re a Security and Exchange Commission Registered Investment Advisor firm. We’re independent, which is one of the key takeaways that separates our business from the competition in this area. We’re not owned by a big corporation. We don’t have a proprietary interest in products. As Registered Investment Advisors, we have a fiduciary responsibility towards our clients, which is different from a stockbroker.

Matt Reynolds: If you’re an investment professional working in a Merrill Lynch, or a Morgan Stanley, or a UBS, for the most part, you’re getting paid for selling products, and you don’t have a fiduciary standard of care for your clients. The way the SEC defines us is we get paid for investment advice. Period. The SEC gives us fiduciary liability over the assets that we manage. If you’re in charge of someone’s nest egg, how can you not be a fiduciary for that person? We don’t try to shy away from that. We embrace it. We try to be our clients’ financial quarterback. Not that we’re the only advisors they have. Our clients have estate attorneys, and they typically have an accountant here that we work with. We hold everything together and make sure everyone’s on the same page. When we started in 2000, we had no clients and no assets. Today, we manage over $317 million in assets for about 150 families.

LIFESTYLE: Who are your clients?

Matt Reynolds: Our clients are closely-held business owners and high-net-worth families. We also refer to those closely-held businesses as entrepreneurs.

Tom Reynolds: Our target market is [people with] investment assets of a million dollars or more. We manage their portfolios. Our other firm might provide accounting services, yet the individual shareholders of a business might have their personal investments with CRA.

Matt Reynolds: It’s the idea that clients can get everything taken care of without having to go to different vendors for everything. They don’t need one vendor for their 401(k), one vendor for their personal finances, one vendor for their business accounting, and one vendor for their personal accounting. We do it all. We don’t have custody of people’s assets. We custody at two the two largest custodians in the country, Charles Schwab and Fidelity Institutional.

Tom Reynolds: The money is not here. It’s with an independent third party.

Matt Reynolds: That’s the biggest thing for our clients from a safety standpoint. We have trading authority on their money at Schwab and Fidelity, but they receive statements directly from Schwab and Fidelity. If you look at the big scams, the Bernie Madoffs of the world, they were all custodying their own money.

LIFESTYLE: What other services do you provide?

Tom Reynolds: We invest in our clients. In December, we took our best clients to the Barnes Foundation museum in Philadelphia for a private tour, at our expense. Then we had dinner in a well-known Philadelphia restaurant, where economist Joel Naroff spoke about the economy. That’s a person we secure for private consultation with our clients. It’s not that we just take one percent of our clients’ assets [and manage their money]. We provide a good value.

Matt Reynolds: We also do financial planning. We’ll do a retirement plan. If they have kids, we’ll do an education plan for them. For the high-net-worth individuals and business owners, we’ll work with their attorney on an estate plan. These are all things we do for our clients, but they don’t get a separate bill for it. It’s a service we provide. We’ll even look at all their insurances — life insurance, liability insurance — so they’re protected. And not least, is the tax planning. You can enhance your returns significantly over time by doing proper tax planning.

LIFESTYLE: Matt, you worked at Arthur Andersen. What did you gain from that experience?

Matt Reynolds: After graduating, I worked for three years at Arthur Andersen in their financial services practice. I learned a lot about investments. I audited Meridian Bank’s mutual fund, and also audited Cape Savings. Now, I’m on the board of directors at Cape Bank. I joined Tom and my dad in the company in 1995.

LIFESTYLE: How did your clients do in the stock market crash of 2008?

Matt Reynolds: If there’s a bad market, everybody loses money. When the market is down, if you’re not losing money, you should ask some questions.

Tom Reynolds: In the crisis of 2008, we coached our clients to stay in the market. They benefitted, and they bought in at very low prices. Most of our clients are much better off than they were going into it.

Matt Reynolds: We make sure people have balanced portfolios in good times and bad.

LIFESTYLE: What is your company’s philosophy?

Matt Reynolds: Our motto is, “Putting clients as the first priority.” We learned that from our dad. If you take care of your clients, they’ll take care of you.