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What Are Equities and Should I Invest in Them?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone and is not intended to be a source of investment advice. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Equities are shares of ownership in a company. Equity is just another way to describe stock — you’ll hear people use the terms “equity markets” and “stock markets” interchangeably. Investing in equities can be one of the best ways to build your long-term savings. This article covers the basics of what are equities, how do they work and what else you should know about investing in this market.

Equities are how you invest in the stock market

The broad equities definition is the value of a property or a business to the owners after subtracting debts. When you buy a house and begin making mortgage payments, you build home equity, which is the value of your property that you own outright.

Publicly traded companies, like Nike and Tesla, sell shares of their equity to investors to raise money. When you buy a company’s equity — aka its stock — you become a partial owner of the company. This comes with several benefits, including dividends.

Equities pay dividends

As an equity shareholder in a company, you are entitled to a share of its profits based on how much of the company’s stock you own. Companies from time to time will send their shareholders a cash payment called a dividend. The frequency of it depends on the company’s strategy.

Newer growing companies like Uber typically do not pay much in dividends because they reinvest their cash in operations to keep growing. On the other hand, established companies like Coca-Cola focus on paying more dividends to shareholders. So how do you start buying equities as an investor?

The equity market

Investors buy and sell equities from each other through the equity market. When you watch financial news and hear people talking about stock markets, this is what they mean. Some of the larger equity markets in the United States include the New York Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq.

If investors believe a company is doing well and will earn higher profits in the future, the price of its equities will go up. On the other hand, when a company runs into financial trouble, the price of its equities will fall. To access the equity markets, you sign up for a broker who will process your buy and sell trades. We list some of the best online brokers on our site you can use.

Common equity vs. preferred equity

A company can sell two types of equity to investors: common and preferred. With common equity, you earn money when the stock price goes up and when the company issues dividends. You also get the right to vote on certain company matters, like picking the board of directors.

Preferred equity has a few differences. First, preferred stock typically pays a fixed dividend rate, so you get money each year. On common stock, the company can choose when to pay dividends and it might not be every year.

Another difference is if the company ends up going bankrupt, they legally have to pay out preferred equity shareholders first — before they distribute whatever’s left of their remaining money to common shareholders. The downside of preferred equity is that it does not have voting rights. It’s also rarer. While you may be able to buy preferred stock for some companies, most shares on equity markets are common equity.

Why should you invest in equities?

Equities can be one of the most effective ways to build wealth and save for retirement. Over the past few decades, they have posted one of the highest average annual returns, better than other investments like bonds or gold.

By regularly saving money and investing in equities, your savings will benefit from compounding, which is simply where your money makes money. A dollar you put aside now could double, triple and possibly become more valuable in the future thanks to your investment gains.

On the other hand, if you just kept your savings in cash or a bank account with no interest, they won’t grow. This actually decreases your future buying power because of inflation, as prices go up over time. By growing your money with equities, you put yourself in a stronger position in the future while also generating income for today with dividends.

Finally, you can receive tax benefits by investing in equities using a retirement plan, like a 401(k) or a traditional IRA. You can deduct the amount you contribute to these accounts. You save on taxes today while putting aside money for the future. These accounts also delay taxes on your gains, so you don’t owe tax until you take money out.

What is an equity fund?

As a beginner investor, it can feel intimidating figuring out which equities to buy. One way to make things easier is by buying into an equity fund, which is a mutual fund that invests in stocks. Equity funds are mutual funds that combine the money from many small investors to build a large portfolio of different equities. The portfolio is then managed by a professional to meet the fund goals. Some common types of equity funds include:

  • Index fund: Index funds look to mimic the performance of an equity market, like the S&P 500. Rather than trying to guess the top performers, they buy shares of all the companies listed to keep costs low and track the average market return.
  • Active equity fund: In an active equity fund, the manager tries to find and buy the best equity shares in a market to hopefully earn a higher return. Fees can be higher on these funds though versus index funds.
  • Growth equity fund: These funds invest in companies focused on growth, meaning they aren’t paying as much in dividends with the long-term goal to grow their stock price by more.
  • Dividend equity fund: In comparison, dividend equity funds focus more on companies that generate income. Their share price may not grow as much long-term, but they generate more consistent dividend payments.
  • Sector-focused equity fund: Equity funds can also target companies in a specific part of the economy, like energy companies or health care companies.

How does shareholders’ equity work?

Shareholders’ equity shows how much value would be left for a company’s shareholders if it used all its assets (everything it owns) to pay off everything it owes (debts/liabilities). If the company had to shut down today, they would distribute this remaining money to their shareholders.

When a company has high shareholders’ equity, it means that it has more than enough assets to cover its debts. This could be a sign that the company is profitable, shown by a high level of retained earnings on the balance sheet. On the other hand, it could also mean that the company has raised a lot of money from investors. However, if a company has negative shareholders’ equity, it is running into financial trouble because it doesn’t have enough assets to pay off its debts.

How to calculate shareholder equity

Publicly traded companies release their financial statements so investors can check their performance before buying. They list their total shareholders’ equity on the balance sheet so you can look it up there.

You can also do the calculation yourself by adding up all the listed assets, then subtracting all the company liabilities on the balance sheet. If a company has $200 million in assets and $150 million in liabilities, its shareholder equity is $50 million.

You might get equity from your employer

Besides buying shares on the markets, you could also receive equity from your employer. Sometimes they just give shares directly through an equity grant. You could also receive equity stock options, where you are guaranteed to buy shares of a company’s equity at a set price.

If the market price goes higher than that, your options make money. For example, if your employer gives you the option to buy shares at $50, then if the market price goes to $80, you could cash in your option for a $30 per share profit.

When employers offer equity in a compensation package, they usually do so to reward loyal employees. You may need to work a minimum number of years to receive all your equity grants — for example, an employer may offer 1,000 shares, but you only get 20% for every year worked, so you’d need to stay on for five years to earn it all.

If you have any more questions about what are equities, which ones you should pick or your company’s compensation package, consider speaking with a financial advisor. They can help you plan your investments and figure out what role equities should play in reaching your long-term goals.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Review of SurePath Wealth Management

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone and is not intended to be a source of investment advice. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

SurePath Wealth Management is a registered investment advisor (RIA) that is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with an additional office in Columbus, Ohio. The firm is fairly new, as it’s only been in business since 2016. It currently has more than $65 million in assets under management (AUM), with six employees handling investment advisory services. SurePath specializes in investment management and financial planning for individual investors, and it also partners with online roboadvisor Betterment for some clients.

All information included in this profile is accurate as of March 6, 2020. For more information, please consult SurePath Wealth Management’s website.

Assets under management: $65,886,191
Minimum investment: No minimum account size requirement
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, up to 1.50%; hourly fees; fixed fees
Headquarters: 508 W. 12th Street
Austin, Texas 78701
www.surepathwealth.com/
(512)-994-0766

Overview of SurePath Wealth Management

SurePath Wealth Management was launched in March 2016 out of Texas by Patrick Brewer, who remains the firm’s chief investment officer. Brewer and two of the firm’s main financial advisors, Jason Mirabella and Ryan Mannen, own the firm, while several of the other advisors at the firm are also partners. Per the most recent SEC filings, the firm has nine employees, of which six perform investment advisory services.

The SurePath Wealth Management investment team has a solid mix of certifications and specialties, including certified financial planners (CFP), chartered financial analysts (CFA), tax experts and insurance specialists. While the firm is relatively new, its investment team has over six decades of combined experience from working at other financial institutions.

What types of clients does SurePath Wealth Management serve?

Nearly all of SurePath Wealth Management’s clients are individual investors. About 70% of the firm’s clients are non-high net worth individuals, while virtually all of the rest are high net worth individuals. (For reference, the SEC defines a high net worth individual as someone who has at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.)

SurePath Wealth Management also works with a few pension and profit-sharing plans. The firm’s brochure states that it’s also open to working with business development companies, corporations and charitable organizations, though its SEC filings show the firm does not currently have any of these clients.

SurePath Wealth Management does not have a minimum account size requirement for new clients, which could make the firm an option for non-wealthy investors who may get blocked out of other RIAs due to their account minimum requirements.

Services offered by SurePath Wealth Management

SurePath Wealth Management offers two main services: investment and portfolio management and financial planning. On the investment management side, the firm creates individually tailored portfolios for each client based on their objectives, time horizon, risk tolerance and liquidity needs. After the firm has created the portfolio, the advisors typically follow a discretionary management system, where they can make trades on a client’s behalf to achieve the determined goals.

Depending on the client’s needs and account size, the SurePath Wealth Management advisors may recommend that they set up their portfolio through roboadvisor Betterment. In this arrangement, Betterment will primarily run the client’s portfolio, while SurePath Wealth Management works as a consultant to monitor performance.

For financial planning services through SurePath, a client can either purchase a one-time financial plan to follow on their own, or they can engage in an ongoing relationship where they meet with the SurePath Wealth Management advisors to track their progress. If a client brings at least $500,000 in investable assets, SurePath Wealth Management will include financial planning services for free alongside portfolio management.

Here is a full list of services provided by SurePath Wealth Management?

  • Investment advisory services and portfolio management (mostly discretionary)
  • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Trust and estate planning
    • Education planning
    • Business planning
    • Tax planning and management
    • Cash flow forecasting
    • Budgeting
    • Long-term care planning
    • Debt management
    • Employee benefits optimization
  • Insurance/risk management
  • Collaboration with clients’ lawyers, accountants, etc.

How SurePath Wealth Management invests your money

SurePath Wealth Management creates a customized portfolio for each client based on their goals and financial plan. In terms of picking the actual investments, the SurePath Wealth Management advisors follow two main strategies: fundamental analysis and passive management.

With fundamental analysis, they try to find stocks and other investments that are incorrectly priced. They do so by researching their financial statements, product line, management team and future outlook to estimate the actual underlying value of an investment, then seeing how that value compares against the market price. By finding discrepancies and taking advantage of them, the advisors hope to earn higher returns for their clients.

This is balanced out by an overall passive management strategy. The advisors at SurePath Wealth Management use index funds and ETFs to keep costs low and create more tax-efficient portfolios for their clients. Their goal is to set up a base portfolio with the correct asset mix and then avoid frequent trading, which can drive up fees.

Fees SurePath Wealth Management charges for its services

For investment services, SurePath Wealth Management charges a fee based on a percentage of asset under management, with the rate dependent on portfolio size. The firm’s brochure does not list the exact fee range, just that its asset-based fee can go up to 1.50% per year and is negotiable based on a client’s account size and services needed.

If a client ends up partnering with Betterment instead, SurePath Wealth Management will charge 0.60% of the assets under management, unless the client has more than $10 million invested, at which point the rate is negotiable. On top of that, Betterment will charge an additional 0.25% per year, for a total asset-based fee of 0.85% per year for clients with portfolios up to $10 million.

Clients will also need to cover any brokerage fees, commissions, transaction fees and other common investment expenses that come up as the result of their portfolio recommendations. This applies to both clients who only work with SurePath Wealth Management and those who work with Betterment as well.

For financial planning services, SurePath Wealth Management charges between $500 to $20,000 to design the initial plan. If the client would like ongoing advice, SurePath Wealth Management then charges between $79 to $1,000 per month. Alternatively, SurePath Wealth Management can charge an hourly rate of between $250 to $500 for financial planning. If an investment client has a portfolio of at least $500,000 with SurePath Wealth Management, they receive financial planning for free.

Investment agreement Asset-based fee
Portfolios only with SurePath Wealth Management Up to 1.50% per year
Portfolios up to $10 million with SurePath Wealth Management and Betterment 0.85% per year (0.60% to SurePath Wealth Management and 0.25% to Betterment)
Portfolios over $10 million with SurePath Wealth Management and Betterment Negotiable (Negotiable with SurePath Wealth Management and 0.25% per year to Betterment)

SurePath Wealth Management’s highlights

  • Customized investment portfolios. Each client at SurePath Wealth Management receives a unique investment recommendation based on their personal goals and objectives.
  • No investment account minimums. SurePath Wealth Management accepts accounts of any size, making the firm a viable option for non-high net worth investors.
  • Strong credentials. The investment professionals at SurePath Wealth Management hold the prestigious CFP and CFA designations. The firm also has tax, insurance and college planning experts in-house.
  • Free financial planning services for larger accounts. Clients who invest at least $500,000 with SurePath receive financial planning at no extra charge.
  • A tech-savvy approach. The SurePath Wealth Management website could be considered very modern, as compared to a more traditional RIA. In addition, the firm partners with Betterment, a leading roboadvisor, for some of its clients.

SurePath Wealth Management’s downsides

  • High investment fees. SurePath Wealth Management’s asset-based fee can go all the way up to 1.50% per year. In comparison, the typical fee for accounts below $1 million is 1%, according to Kitces, a blog for financial advisors. Even for accounts below $250,000, the median fee is around 1.25%, so SurePath Wealth Management looks costly in comparison to industry averages. Additionally, the firm does not publish a set fee schedule, so it’s hard to predict how much you may pay until you engage with the firm.
  • Less service with Betterment. Clients who partner with Betterment will pay less than clients who exclusively work with SurePath, but also will receive less investment advice. The SurePath Wealth Management advisors will only consult on the portfolio while the roboadvisor handles day-to-day management.
  • Small accounts must pay for financial planning. Investors with portfolios below $500,000 need to pay for financial planning, which requires a fixed fee of $500 to $20,000 to start followed by a monthly payments.
  • There may be other RIAs that could offer more sophisticated strategies for the same fee. The SurePath Wealth Management investment strategy is based on fundamental analysis and passive management — while these aren’t bad strategies, they’re pretty basic. Other RIAs charging the same fee could offer more sophisticated strategies, like taking defensive positions and investing in alternative or international markets for higher returns.
  • Potential conflicts of interest. Several of the SurePath Wealth Management advisors are also licensed agents for various insurance providers and earn compensation for selling their products. The firm’s brochure acknowledges that this is a potential conflict of interest, as the advisors could make extra money by recommending these products as part of a financial plan.

SurePath Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures

SurePath Wealth Management does not have any disciplinary disclosures. If an RIA runs into some form of misconduct, like a criminal charge, regulatory fine or civil lawsuit, it must report that in its Form ADV, paperwork filed with the SEC. SurePath Wealth Management has not run into any of these issues since the firm launched in 2016.

SurePath Wealth Management onboarding process

If someone wants to learn more about working with SurePath Wealth Management, they should start by contacting the firm by phone at (512)-994-0766 or through the submission form on its website, which asks for contact information. From there, a SurePath Wealth Management advisor will schedule a 15-minute consultation to see whether the firm is a good fit.

If the client is interested in signing up, the advisor will then design their customized portfolio based on their goals, time horizon, risk tolerance and other factors. The firm will also negotiate the client’s asset-based fee depending on their portfolio size. If the client is happy with the terms, they can sign a contract to launch the agreement. From there, the advisors will oversee the portfolio and meet with the client regularly to discuss performance.

Is SurePath Wealth Management right for you?

If you have a smaller portfolio, but still want the hands-on advice of an experienced investment team, SurePath Wealth Management could be worth considering — the firm is willing to take on clients with any account size. In addition, it has a management team with strong credentials and works with Betterment, one of the leading online roboadvisors.

But if you’re concerned about fees, SurePath Wealth Management may not be a great fit. The firm’s asset-based fee can be far above the industry average, and it also charges extra for financial planning services unless you invest at least $500,000. If you have this kind of large portfolio, you may want to compare your options before signing up, as other RIAs may offer more sophisticated investment advice at a lower cost than SurePath Wealth Management.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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Review of Congress Wealth Management

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone and is not intended to be a source of investment advice. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Congress Wealth Management is a registered investment advisor (RIA) headquartered in Boston with additional locations in Arizona, Connecticut and California. The firm, which oversees nearly $1.8 billion in assets under management (AUM), has 12 employees performing investment advisory services.

These advisors work to create customized portfolios for their clients, who must have at least $500,000 in investable assets. The firm describes itself as a “manager of managers,” as it often builds portfolios using funds run by other investment managers.

All information included in this profile is accurate as of March 5, 2020. For more information, please consult Congress Wealth Management’s website.

Assets under management: $1,794,294,014
Minimum investment: $500,000
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, ranging from 0.50% to 1.25%; hourly fees; fixed fees
Headquarters: 155 Seaport Blvd.
3rd Floor
Boston, MA 02210
www.congresswealth.com
(617) 428-7600

Overview of Congress Wealth Management

Congress Wealth Management launched in March 2009. The firm is run by a team of financial professionals, and its management team has majority ownership of the firm, which they hold through two LLCs for legal purposes.

Congress Wealth Management has a total of 22 employees, 12 of which provide investment advisory functions. The firm’s employees hold a mix of certifications, including the chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified financial planner (CFP) designations, as well as JD, master’s and other advanced degrees.

What types of clients does Congress Wealth Management serve?

The vast majority of the firm’s AUM currently comes from serving high net worth individuals. However, Congress Wealth Management also works with a number of non-high net worth individuals as well as a handful of charitable organizations, pension and profit-sharing plans, corporations and other business entities, trusts and estates. The firm has clients from a variety of industries including technology, medicine, higher education, entertainment and finance. Congress Wealth Management takes clients from a range of backgrounds and ages.

To work with Congress Wealth Management, a client must have at least $500,000 in liquid, investable assets. One of the firm’s representatives told us Congress Wealth Management used to require new clients to have at least $1 million in investable assets and would only accept clients with $500,000 if they were referred by Fidelity. The firm is changing that policy, however, and now accepts clients with at least $500,000, even without a referral.

Congress Wealth Management can also make exceptions at its discretion based on factors like a long-standing relationship with the firm, expectations that the client will grow their AUM and the type of strategy and investment advisor selected.

Services offered by Congress Wealth Management

Congress Wealth Management’s main service is providing investment and wealth management. Nearly all of the firm’s clients use a discretionary management system, meaning Congress Wealth Management has the authority to make trading decisions on their behalf. Only a small number of the firm’s accounts are non-discretionary, which means the client must approve all trades.

Congress Wealth Management often works as a “manager of managers” for its clients, meaning it builds a portfolio of funds run by outside advisors and then supervises the arrangement to make sure it meets their clients’ goals.

Additionally, Congress Wealth Management offers financial planning services, both as part of one of its investment management agreements or as a standalone service. For extremely high net worth clients, Congress Wealth Management also offers a family office service to help with more complex issues like estate planning, charitable giving and wealth distribution.

Here is a full list of services offered by Congress Wealth Management:

  • Investment advisory services and portfolio management
  • Financial planning
    • Trust and estate planning
    • Charitable planning
    • Tax planning and management
    • Cash flow forecasting
    • Spending analysis and budgeting
  • Pension consulting services
  • Seminars and publications
  • Collaboration with clients’ lawyers, accountants, etc.

How Congress Wealth Management invests your money

Congress Wealth Management creates a customized portfolio for each client based on their goals, risk tolerance, time horizon, cash flow needs and other factors. The firm’s investment philosophy centers on the belief that returns come from a portfolio’s overall asset allocation. Rather than trying to pick individual stocks, bonds and other investments that might generate higher returns, Congress Wealth Management focuses more on finding the right balance of different assets for its clients instead.

The firm does this by dividing client portfolios into two parts, known as a Core and Satellite approach. The first part focuses on core strategies and invests in more traditional assets like stocks, bonds and mutual funds. The second part goes toward satellite strategies, which invest in more exotic and riskier but potentially higher-earning assets like commodities, private equity, real estate investment trusts (REITs) and emerging market securities. With this approach, Congress Wealth Management believes it can create portfolios for individuals that match the results of much larger institutional investors.

Since the firm often uses funds from outside investment managers for these strategies, it performs due diligence on each outside advisor to make sure they can meet a client’s goals. Congress Wealth Management then reviews the arrangement at least once a year to make sure the outside manager continues to be a good fit.

Fees Congress Wealth Management charges for its services

Congress Wealth Management primarily charges for its portfolio management services based on a fixed percentage of a client’s assets under management. When someone signs up, the firm will set their rate based on the size of their portfolio, the complexity of their account and the strategies and managers they want to use.

The client’s rate will also depend on whether they only hire Congress Wealth Management, in a single contract agreement, or if they work with an outside investment manager recommended by Congress Wealth Management under a dual contract agreement. Congress Wealth Management charges between 0.50% to 0.90% per year for dual contract agreements and between 0.65% to 1.25% for single contract agreements. The firm charges a lower fee for dual contracts because the outside investment manager will charge its own fee in addition to the fee charged by Congress Wealth Management.

Contract agreement Annual asset-based fee
Dual contact agreement (Congress Wealth Management plus an outside investment manager) Between 0.50% to 0.90%, plus the outside manager’s fees
Single contact agreement (Only Congress Wealth Management) Between 0.65% to 1.25%

For additional financial planning and other services that go beyond the scope of the firm’s wealth management program, Congress Wealth Management could charge an asset-based fee, a fixed fee and/or an hourly fee, depending on the situation. The firm will discuss the terms when a client signs up.

Finally, clients will cover the expenses for making the investments in their portfolio, though that money will not go to Congress Wealth Management.

Congress Wealth Management’s highlights

  • Customized portfolios for each client. Every client receives a unique portfolio tailored to their personal situation and goals. The advisors at Congress Wealth Management then supervise the investments over time and update the portfolio when a client’s needs change.
  • Goes beyond basic investments to increase returns. Besides standard stocks and bonds, Congress Wealth Management also integrates more sophisticated assets into its portfolios, such as private equity, commodities and REITs. This adds diversification and can potentially increase returns.
  • Highly-credentialed investment management team. The investment team at Congress Wealth Management holds a mix of high-end credentials, including CFA and CFP designations, as well as JD and master’s degrees.
  • Services for extremely-wealthy clients. For ultra-high net worth clients, who are investors with millions of dollars, Congress Wealth Management offers a family office division to handle more complex needs like estate planning and multi-generational wealth planning.

Congress Wealth Management’s downsides

  • Above-average asset management fees. Congress Wealth Management’s asset-based fee can range up to 1.25% for single contract agreements. In comparison, the median fee for portfolios over $1 million is 0.85%, according to Kitces, a blog for financial advisors. While Congress Wealth Management charges less for dual contract arrangements, clients are then paying an additional fee to the outside investment manager.
  • Fee schedule not publicly available. Since Congress Wealth Management’s asset-based fee varies on a case-by-case basis, clients won’t know exactly how much they may pay without first meeting with a representative.
  • Only available for wealthy investors. Someone must have at least $500,000 in liquid investable assets to sign up. Though this is below the threshold for a high net worth individual as defined by the SEC, it is still a significant investment.
  • Use of outside investment managers can increase risk. Even though Congress Wealth Management performs due diligence on its outside investment managers, this still means the firm is trusting a third-party to behave responsibly. Congress Wealth Management once faced a disciplinary disclosure because it trusted the wrong investment manager (see next section).

Congress Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures

If an SEC-registered firm faces some sort of serious disciplinary action, whether a criminal charge, a government sanction or a lawsuit, the firm must report what happened on its Form ADV, paperwork that all registered firms must file with the SEC. Congress Wealth Management had one such issue to report in its Form ADV.

The disciplinary disclosure was the result of an SEC fraud case brought against another investment manager, F-Squared Investments, Inc., in Dec. 2014. F-Squared admitted to making false claims about its AlphaSector Index strategy and its performance.

Congress Wealth Management invested some of its client assets in this strategy from May 2009 to Oct. 2013 and repeated F-Squared’s claims about investment performance in its marketing materials. In Dec. 2013, Congress Wealth Management began to question the accuracy of F-Squared’s claims and terminated the relationship.

Still, the SEC believed that Congress Wealth Management was negligent by publishing this inaccurate information in its materials. Congress Wealth Management did not admit to any wrongdoing but agreed to pay a $100,000 fine to settle the matter.

Congress Wealth Management onboarding process

Anyone interested in working with Congress Wealth Management can reach out using the contact form on the firm’s website, which requests your name, email address and what type of investor you are (individual, financial or institutional). Interested investors can also call the closest Congress Wealth Management office for an appointment; the firm has offices in Boston; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Westport, Conn.; and Orange City, Calif.

During the first consultation, Congress Wealth Management advisors will get to know the potential client’s goals, as well as their income and time horizon. From there, the firm will recommend a portfolio. If the client likes the recommendation, they’ll sign a contract with both Congress Wealth Management and with the outside investment advisors managing the funds (only if they sign up for a dual contract agreement).

Whether it’s a single or dual contract agreement, the Congress Wealth Management team will design and supervise the overall portfolio. From there, the firm will schedule quarterly check-ins to make sure the investments are still appropriate for the client’s needs and to make any necessary updates.

The bottom line: Is Congress Wealth Management right for you?

If you can meet the $500,000 investment minimum and want a customized, sophisticated portfolio, Congress Wealth Management could be a good fit. The firm’s highly-credentialed team goes beyond using the standard asset classes of stocks and bonds and instead uses more sophisticated products in an attempt to increase returns. Since Congress Wealth Management partners with outside investment managers, this also provides more options for designing portfolios.

But this approach does have its downsides. Fees can be higher than average at Congress Wealth Management, and you won’t know exactly how much you may end up paying until you meet with a representative.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.