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Best Financial Advisors in Richmond, VA 2021: Fees and Services

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 may not have not been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners or the Investment company.

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Choosing a financial advisor in Richmond, Va., may feel like a challenge, given the number of financial advisors in the River City. Finding the right advisor in the Old Dominion’s capital is possible, however, by taking the time to do your research and consider the proper fit, which means understanding your financial needs and goals, and how much you’re willing to spend.

To expedite the research process, we compiled the most pertinent information on Richmond’s top advisory firms to help you more easily compare your choices and their data points. We determined the best advisors in Richmond by first narrowing down the list to only firms that manage individual accounts and offer financial planning services. From there, we ranked those firms based on assets under management (AUM), which acts as a general metric for the firm’s size, and client-to-advisor ratio, which indicates how much attention you may receive as a client.

Our ranking can’t predict which firm will be the right fit for you, but it can make it easier for you to make that determination. Read on for our list of the top firms in Richmond and their highlights:

7 best financial advisors in Richmond

Methodology and criteria

For our search, we looked at firms across the city of Richmond. All of the firms considered are bound by fiduciary duty, registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and offer individual account management and financial planning services.

The firms that met this criteria were ranked based on their AUM and client-to-advisor ratio. These criteria are weighted equally in our scoring metrics. Firms with a higher AUM and lower client-to-advisor ratios garner higher scores. Our ranking system is designed to help compare firms but does not indicate which firm may be best for you.

In our reviews, we’ve listed several other key features that will help you determine which financial advisor is most fitting for your investing style and financial needs. It is important to note that we did not include disciplinary disclosures as a metric for our ranking. We have listed any disciplinary disclosures current as of April 19, 2021, but urge you to evaluate these firms on https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/.

1. Heritage Wealth Advisors

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  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $2,668,745,096
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 30:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 804-643-4080
  • Headquarters address:
    919 E. Main St., Suite 950
    Richmond, VA 23219

About Heritage Wealth Advisors

After a career at the accounting firm KPMG, Dee Ann Remo launched Heritage Wealth Advisors in 2005. She remains the firm’s CEO and managing director, and owns it along with four other employees. The firm operates out of its headquarters in Richmond, Va.

Heritage Wealth Advisors offers investment management, financial planning, tax planning and preparation and charitable giving planning. The firm works with individual investors who both are and are not considered high net worth individuals, defined by the SEC as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. Its clients also include pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and businesses.

Heritage Wealth Advisors investing strategy

Heritage Wealth Advisors creates a personalized target asset allocation model for each client, based on their time horizon, risk tolerance and other criteria. Portfolios created by the firm may include mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), separately managed accounts, individual equities and private investments.

When selecting individual stocks, Heritage Wealth Advisors takes a long-term approach and primarily relies on fundamental analysis, which looks at factors such as industry dynamics, competitive positioning and profitability. When choosing mutual funds or separately managed accounts, the firm uses various screens, interviews fund managers and runs hypothetical scenarios to determine potential performance and risk.

Heritage Wealth Advisors disciplinary disclosures

Heritage Wealth Advisors reports no disciplinary disclosures. All registered investment advisors are required by the SEC to disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its advisors or its affiliates on its Form ADV, public documents filed with the SEC.
For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

2. Cary Street Partners

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  • Minimum assets required: Varies by program
  • AUM: $3,254,677,385
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 143:1
  • Fee structure: 
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
    • Commissions
  • Firm phone number: 804-340-8100
  • Headquarters address:
    901 E. Byrd St., Suite 1001
    Richmond, VA 23219

About Cary Street Partners

Finance veterans Mark Gambill and Thomas H. Tullidge, Jr., founded Cary Street Partners in 2003. Tullidge serves as the firm’s chief strategy officer, while Gambill is chairman emeritus. The firm is owned by Cary Street Partners Financial LLC, an independent financial services firm formerly known as Luxon Financial LLC.

Cary Street Partners offers financial planning, research and portfolio advisory services, asset management, estate and life insurance management and retirement services. The firm works primarily with individual investors, including those who are considered high net worth individuals. Clients of the firm also include pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations, insurance companies and businesses.

In addition to its Richmond headquarters, Cary Street Partners has 11 other offices, primarily located elsewhere in the commonwealth of Virginia (the other offices are located in Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey and North Carolina).

Cary Street Partners investing strategy

Cary Street Partners creates portfolios for clients that focus on growth, income or both growth and income, with a conservative, moderate or long-term approach. Portfolios include a range of investments in public and private companies and alternative investments, as well as with third-party managers.

The firm either provides investment programs directly, or connects clients to a third-party platform where they work with sub-managers, such as Wells Fargo Advisors.

Cary Street Partners disciplinary disclosures

Cary Street Partners has no disclosures, meaning it has a clean disciplinary record, free of any civil, criminal or regulatory actions against the firm, its advisors and its affiliates over the past 10 years. The SEC requires that all registered investment advisors disclose such events on their Form ADV paperwork.

For more information about Cary Street Partners, visit its IAPD page.

3. WealthCare Capital Management LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: None
  • AUM: $2,314,462,705
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 118:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 804-644-4711
  • Headquarters address:
    2 James Center, 1021 E. Cary St.
    Richmond, VA 23219

About WealthCare Capital Management LLC

With roots as a software company launched in 1999 that offered a financial planning tool for advisors, WealthCare Capital Management LLC registered as an investment advisor in 2003. Today, it’s owned by fintech firms VMS Intermediate Inc. and Financeware LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Financeware Holdings LLC.

WealthCare Capital Management offers financial planning and asset management to individuals through its proprietary GDX360 Platform, which uses simulated market return analysis. Third-party financial advisors and firms also use Wealthcare Capital Management’s web-based software in their own practices. And while it doesn’t have a minimum account size requirement, the firm does charge a minimum fee of $500.

In addition to its Richmond headquarters, WealthCare Capital Management has a small office in West Chester, Pa., and a handful of single-advisor offices throughout the country.

WealthCare Capital Management LLC investing strategy

Typically offered in conjunction with financial planning, WealthCare Capital Management’s investment services rely on algorithms to choose investments. It makes its selections based on clients’ preferences in the following criteria:

  • Risk allocation
  • Asset allocation
  • Exclusive passive management exclusively or some active management
  • Allocation at a household or account level

Based on client’s responses, WealthCare Capital Management aims to create a cost-effective portfolio that maximizes tax efficiency, using a model portfolio that may include mutual funds, ETFs and alternative investments. In some instances, the firm will also include individual stocks and bonds, if an advisor believes they would help a client meet their goals.

WealthCare Capital Management LLC disciplinary disclosures

WealthCare Capital Management has no disciplinary disclosures on its record. That means that neither the firm, nor its employees or affiliates have faced any civil, regulatory or criminal issues over the past decade.

Visit WealthCare Capital Management’s IAPD page for more information.

4. Kanawha Capital Management, LLC

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  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $1,225,096,466
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 105:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 804-359-3900
  • Headquarters address:
    7201 Glen Forest Drive, Suite 200
    Richmond, VA, 23226

About Kanawha Capital Management, LLC

Kanawha Capital Management began in 1982 as a subsidiary of a Richmond brokerage firm, and in 1989 it formally became Kanawha Capital Management. The firm is now owned by Hightower Advisors, an advisor network backed by private equity.

Kanawha Capital Management provides financial planning and investment management services. With a minimum account size requirement of $500,000, the firm works with individuals (including high net worth individuals), as well as pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations and businesses.

The firm has a single office location in Richmond, Va.

Kanawha Capital Management, LLC investing strategy

Kanawha Capital Management creates custom portfolios for its clients based on their goals, risk tolerance, time horizon and tax considerations. All portfolios the firm creates seek to find a balance between risk and return, using individual stocks to diversify across industries while also investing in ETFs and bonds.

To select stocks, the firm follows a “Growth at a Reasonable Price” approach, focused mainly on large-cap, established companies with both growth and value characteristics. Its fixed income investments typically include high-quality, taxable and tax-free securities, with a maturity that suits the client’s goals and the firm’s perspective on economic and interest rate trends.

Kanawha Capital Management, LLC disciplinary disclosures

Kanawha Capital Management has no disciplinary disclosures on its record. For reference, all registered investment advisors must disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its advisors or its affiliates on their Form ADV filed with the SEC.

You can learn more about Kanawha Capital Management by visiting its IAPD page.

5. Godsey & Gibb Wealth Management

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  • Minimum assets required: $500,000
  • AUM: $1,073,379,597
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 66:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Other (financial planning fees, tax preparation fees)
  • Firm phone number: 804-285-7333
  • Headquarters address:
    6806 Paragon Place, Suite 230
    Richmond, VA 23230

About Godsey & Gibb Wealth Management

Frank B. Gibb III and Joseph C. Godsey Jr, founded Godsey & Gibb Wealth Management in 1985. Gibb remains as chairman emeritus and a consultant to the firm, which is primarily owned by the Gibb Family Stock Trust.

Godsey & Gibb offers investment management, financial planning and tax services, primarily to individuals and high net worth individuals. In addition, the firm also works with a range of institutional investors. A minimum of $500,000 is required for investment management services.

In addition to its Richmond headquarters, Godsey & Gibbs has two South Carolina offices, in Greenville and Columbia.

Godsey & Gibb Wealth Management investing strategy

Godsey & Gibb Wealth Management actively manages investments for its clients, taking a moderately conservative approach that emphasizes capital preservation. Strategies used by the firm include long-term purchases (securities held for a year or longer), short-term purchases (securities bought and sold within a year) and option writing (a contract that gives the right to buy or sell an asset on or before a specified date).

The firm invests client portfolios gradually after establishing their goals and investment objectives, based on current market conditions and the client’s existing portfolio structure. After a client’s funds are invested, Godsey & Gibb monitors their portfolio and makes adjustments as needed to ensure that it continues to meet the client’s objectives.

Godsey & Gibb disciplinary disclosures

Godsey & Gibb has no disciplinary disclosures on its record. All registered investment advisors must disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its advisors or its affiliates that may be material to a client evaluating the company or the integrity of its management team.

For more information on Godsey & Gibb, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

6. Alpha Omega Investment Advisors

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  • Minimum assets required: Not specified
  • AUM: $1,116,377,691
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 42:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
    • Fixed fees
  • Firm phone number: 804-955-1600
  • Headquarters address:
    7202 Glen Forest Drive, Suite 300
    Richmond, VA 23226

About Alpha Omega Investment Advisors

Portfolio managers W. Arthur Washburn and Craig T. Forbes founded Alpha Omega Investment Advisors in 2009, along with another former colleague, LeAnn Mitchell. Mitchell remains the firm’s chief compliance officer and director of client services, while Forbes is chairman emeritus and the principal owner of the firm.

Alpha Omega Investment Advisors provides financial planning and investment management services to individuals and families, as well as to businesses and nonprofits. In addition to its Richmond headquarters, the firm also has an office in Staunton, Va.

Alpha Omega Investment Advisors investing strategy

Client portfolios built by Omega Investment advisors emphasize asset allocation, diversification and security selection. Typically, portfolios include a mix of stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds chosen by a six-member investment committee that meets biweekly to discuss strategy.

The firm uses several methods of analysis to determine which investments to include in client portfolios, including the following:

  • Charting: Looking for patterns to identify trends and forecast price direction
  • Fundamental analysis: Analyzing historical and present data
  • Technical analysis: Evaluating data with a focus on price and trade volume

Alpha Omega Investment Advisors may implement its advice to clients via long-term purchases, short-term purchases and option writing.

Alpha Omega Investment Advisors disciplinary disclosures

Alpha Omega Investment Advisors does not disclose any disciplinary issues. This means that neither the firm nor its employees or affiliates have faced any issues within the last 10 years that a prospective client may find relevant when evaluating the firm or its management.

You can learn more about Alpha Omega Investment Advisors by visiting its IAPD page.

7. Salomon and Ludwin

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  • Minimum assets required: $2 million recommended but not required
  • AUM: $1,069,403,560
  • Individual investor to advisor ratio: 102:1
  • Fee structure:
    • A percentage of AUM
    • Hourly charges
  • Firm phone number: 804-592-4999
  • Headquarters address:
    1401 Gaskins Road
    Richmond VA 23238

About Salomon and Ludwin

After decades working in financial services, Dalal Salomon and Daniel Ludwin launched Salomon and Ludwin in 2009. Salomon is the firm’s CEO, while Ludwin serves as president. They are the firm’s primary owners.

The firm provides financial planning and investment management services to both individuals and high net worth individuals, and touts an affluent clientele that includes entrepreneurs, doctors and business executives. Though Salomon and Ludwin does not technically have an account minimum requirement, it recommends that clients have at least $2 million in total manageable assets with the firm, in order to get the most out of the relationship. However, the number of high net worth individuals the firm currently serves is only slightly higher than that of individuals who are not considered high net worth.

Salomon and Ludwin’s sole office location is in Richmond.

Salomon and Ludwin investing strategy

Salomon Ludwin has a patented strategy called “TriggerPoint,” which it customizes based on each client’s income needs and risk appetite. With this strategy, the firm aims to maintain an investment process that it describes as “unemotional” and “systematic” — it bases decisions on the information it has about markets’ current state and past performance, rather than attempting to predict where they may head.

The firm aims to use low-cost, tax-efficient investments. In general, its portfolios generally include mutual funds, ETFs, stocks, bonds, real estate and insurance, as well as other types of securities. Salomon and Ludwin also typically aims to limit investments in individual stocks in order to avoid unnecessary investment risk, due to over-concentration.

Salomon and Ludwin disciplinary disclosures

Salomon and Ludwin does not disclose any disciplinary actions on its Form ADV. This means that neither the firm nor its employees or affiliates have faced any civil, criminal or regulatory actions in the past decade.

For more information about Salomon and Ludwin, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

Financial advisors in Richmond: FAQ

The best financial advisor in Richmond for you will depend on the type of services you want, your budget to pay for those services and whether your account balances meet an advisor’s minimum requirements. Start your search by getting referrals from family or friends, or by using our advisor search tool. Then, interview potential candidates to find the one with whom you feel most comfortable.

Financial advisors can earn money from a variety of different fee arrangements, but the most popular method is to charge clients a percentage of their assets under management. Others charge by the hour or a flat rate per project. Some advisors may also earn commissions for products sold, which can pose potential conflicts of interest.

No. While many financial advisors offer retirement planning services, it’s not a focus for every firm. If you’re interested in getting help with a specific area of your finances, including retirement planning, ask potential advisors whether it’s an emphasis for their firm.

Virginia has a graduated state income tax that begins at 2% on the first $3,000 earned and goes up to 5.75% on earnings over $17,000. The state does not have an estate or an inheritance tax — however, residents may be subject to federal estate taxes depending on the size of the estate.

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Fundrise Review 2021

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 may not have not been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners or the Investment company.

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Reviewed By

Fundrise is an online platform that makes private real estate investments accessible to everyday people. With a Fundrise account, you can add commercial and residential real estate holdings to your portfolio, and with a low minimum investment.

The platform aims to offer property investments once reserved for institutional investors to the rest of us, and with competitively priced annual advisory and management fees. Fundrise may suit individuals who are interested in real estate investing and are comfortable exchanging a longer holding period for potentially higher returns.

Fundrise LLC
Visit Fundrise Secured
on Fundrise’s secure website
The bottom line: Fundrise makes it possible to diversify your portfolio by investing in commercial and residential real estate using small amounts of money.

  • Create a Starter portfolio with just $500
  • Earn returns via quarterly dividends and appreciation
  • Minimum holding period of approximately 5 years

Minimum deposit$500 for a Starter portfolio
$1,000 for a Basic portfolio
$5,000 for a Core portfolio
$10,000 for an Advanced portfolio
$100,000 for a Premium portfolio
Account types
  • Starter
  • Basic
  • Core
  • Advanced
  • Premium
Tradable securitiesFundrise offers commercial and residential real estate investments located throughout the U.S. through proprietary eREITs and eFunds, including:

  • Income eREIT
  • Growth eREIT
  • East Coast eREIT
  • Heartland eREIT
  • West Coast eREIT
  • Income eREIT II
  • Growth eREIT II
  • Income eREIT III
  • Growth eREIT III
  • Income eREIT 2019
  • Growth eREIT 2019
  • Income eREIT V
  • Growth eREIT V
  • eREIT XIV
  • Growth eREIT VI
  • Balanced eREIT
  • Fundrise eFund
  • Growth eREIT VII
  • Balanced eREIT II

Fees
  • Annual investment advisory fee: 0.15%
  • Annual management fee: 0.85%
  • Commission/transaction fee: None
Sign-up bonusNone currently available, though investors can earn ongoing referral bonuses

What Fundrise offers and who it’s for

Fundrise is not a traditional brokerage account. Instead, Fundrise serves both accredited and nonaccredited investors who are interested in adding private real estate investments to their portfolios. An accredited investor is someone who meets net worth and/or income standards established by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or has certain professional credentials or certifications. For example, if you have a net worth over $1 million you may qualify for accredited investor status.

There are five account types to choose from, depending on how much money you have to invest. It’s possible to open a Starter portfolio and begin investing in real estate with as little as $500.

Similar to buying shares of stock, Fundrise allows you to buy shares of property, specifically residential and commercial real estate. You can earn returns through dividends and asset appreciation. Fundrise investments have a minimum holding period of five years, making them more illiquid than stocks, mutual funds or other types of securities.

Pros

  • Low minimum investment: Fundrise requires just $500 to create a Starter portfolio. By comparison, some online real estate investment platforms require $1,000 or even $10,000 to get started.
  • No accreditation requirement: Fundrise is open to both accredited and nonaccredited investors. That means you don’t have to worry about meeting income or net worth requirements to open an account.
  • 90-day introductory period: Fundrise offers a 90-day window in which you can avoid redemption penalties or advisory fees if you choose to withdraw your investment. This allows you time to decide if the platform is right for you.
  • Diversification: Real estate has low correlation to stocks and can act as a hedge against inflation. By investing with Fundrise, you can add real estate to your portfolio without having to carry the burdens of owning property directly.

Cons

  • Liquidity: Real estate investments are by nature less liquid than other investments. When you invest with Fundrise, you should expect a minimum holding period of at least five years.
  • Fees: While Fundrise charges no commission or transaction fees, it’s not fee-free. You’ll still pay a 0.15% advisory fee and a 0.85% management fee to maintain your account.
  • Account tiers: Fundrise makes it easy to start investing in real estate with as little as $500. But if you want to unlock additional features and benefits, such as dividend reinvestment, exposure to private eREIT funds or priority access to the Fundrise investments team, you’ll need to upgrade your account to a higher tier by investing more money.
  • The “new” factor: Founded in 2012, Fundrise is still a relatively new company so it doesn’t have a lengthy track record yet. And the real estate crowdfunding space in general is still in its infancy.

Fundrise fees and costs

Annual advisory fee0.15%
Annual account management fee0.85%
Commission/transaction feeNone

Fundrise uses a simplified fee structure, charging investors an annual advisory fee and an annual account management fee. The 0.15% advisory fee covers things like ongoing reporting, automated distributions, rebalancing and composite tax management. The 0.85% account management fee covers the ongoing operation and managing of the real estate properties included in your portfolio.

Fundrise doesn’t charge commission or transaction fees for its accounts. According to the platform’s fee analysis, Fundrise saves its investors 0.37% to 5.45% on advisory and management fees annually, compared with traditional investments from full-service brokers. The platform estimates that it also saves investors 23% to 40% in upfront costs associated with asset acquisition. This refers to the costs involved in selecting and vetting real estate investments, which can be much higher with a traditional real estate investment trust (REIT).

Fundrise investing tools and research

Fundrise doesn’t offer the traditional investment analysis and research tools that you might expect with an online brokerage. For example, there are no tickers or stock screeners, since the platform doesn’t offer publicly traded investments.

Instead, Fundrise does the research for you. The platform evaluates and vets each property that’s presented for investment. This is done using proprietary technology to identify investment opportunities that may provide the greatest return to investors while minimizing fees.

Once Fundrise chooses which offerings to make available to investors, you can then review them on the platform and choose the best fit for your portfolio. It’s worth noting that on average, Fundrise accepts less than 1% of the investment deals presented to it each year.

Fundrise user experience

Fundrise offers access to investment accounts online and through a mobile app. The Fundrise app is available in the Google Play store and the Apple store.

The mobile app is designed to provide the same functionality and account access that investors enjoy when they log in on desktop. That includes being able to:

  • Monitor your portfolio’s performance
  • Check your transaction history
  • Review your portfolio’s composition
  • Get the latest real estate investment news
  • Compare investment options
  • Manage your account settings

Fundrise customer support can be reached by sending a secure message online. You can also reach out to the platform via its social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Live chat and phone support are not mentioned on the website.

Fundrise investor education

Fundrise offers two resources for investors. The first is a Help and FAQs page. This page includes answers to a variety of questions about investing with Fundrise related to account minimums, fees and investment offerings.

The Education page is a library of articles that covers investing in real estate in general and investing with Fundrise specifically. At this time, the platform doesn’t offer additional educational resources, such as webinars, virtual workshops or video training.

Fundrise security

  • Bank-level security: Fundrise utilizes bank-level security measures to protect customer information. That includes encryption with an AES bit symmetric key, which is the same level of security used by large commercial banks.
  • Data encryption: Fundrise also uses encryption to ensure the safe transmission of account data. Connections to the platform are encrypted over HTTPS with Transport Layer Security (TLS). Fundrise also uses Amazon Web Services as its host for added security and stores applications and data in multiple secure data centers.
  • Two-factor authentication: Fundrise users have the option to enable two-factor authentication to secure their account login information. This feature can be enabled in the settings section of your account when you login on desktop or through the mobile app.

While Fundrise is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, it is not registered with the SIPC or the FDIC. The SIPC insures eligible investor deposits while the FDIC offers protections to banking customers. The platform includes a disclaimer on its website, which specifically states that “All securities involve risk and may result in partial or total loss.”

Alternatives to Fundrise to consider

Investing with Fundrise could be an attractive option if you’re a nonaccredited investor or you’d like to own real estate without making a large upfront investment. The platform offers a wide selection of property investments to choose from, with compact and transparent pricing.

On the other hand, you may consider a different platform for real estate investing if you’re looking for a more established company or you want to diversify beyond just property investments. For instance, you may want to compare online stock brokers if you’re also interested in adding stocks, mutual funds, ETFs or other securities to your portfolio.

To better understand how Fundrise measures up, we’ve selected Vanguard and Yieldstreet for comparison. Vanguard is one of the best-known brokerages around, and Yieldstreet is one of the largest real estate investment platforms, with $1.3 billion invested to date.

 Average CostMinimum DepositBest for...
Fundrise1% (0.15% advisory fee + 0.85% management fee)$500 for a Starter portfolioInvestors who want to own real estate with a low minimum investment and low fees
VanguardPay $0 commissions to trade stocks, Vanguard mutual funds and ETFs online; $20 annual account service feeOpen an account with as little as $1,000 , though you may need to meet a higher minimum to invest in certain Vanguard real estate fundsInvestors who want to build a well-rounded portfolio that includes Vanguard real estate funds as well as other securities
YieldstreetManagement fee ranging between 1% and 4% annuallyInvestment minimums typically begin at $10,000, though the Yieldstreet Prism Fund starts at $5,000Accredited investors who can afford to make a larger minimum investment

Fundrise vs. Vanguard

Vanguard offers online brokerage services to those interested in low-cost investing. You can open an individual or joint brokerage account and Vanguard also offers Individual Retirement Accounts as well.

This platform is not exclusively real estate focused, though you can invest in Vanguard‘s selection of real estate mutual funds and ETFs. Stocks, ETFs and Vanguard funds trade commission-free. You may choose this platform over Fundrise if you’re looking for a more complete approach to diversification.

Open a Vanguard account Secured
on Vanguard’s secure website

Fundrise vs. Yieldstreet

Yieldstreet is another online real estate investment platform, but it differs from Fundrise in several key ways. First, Yieldstreet is primarily designed for accredited investors. While nonaccredited investors can also open an account here, they’re limited to just one investment option: the Yieldstreet Prism Fund.

Second, Yieldstreet investments require a much higher minimum, typically around $10,000 or more. That could put it out of reach for someone who’s just beginning to dip their toes in real estate investing. In terms of fees, Yieldstreet‘s annual management fee is also significantly higher than what you’ll pay with Fundrise.

Open a Yieldstreet account Secured
on Yieldstreet’s secure website

All rates and fees mentioned in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.

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Review of Valic Financial Advisors

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 may not have not been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners or the Investment company.

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Valic Financial Advisors, Inc. (VFA) is a large, national retirement plan provider headquartered in Houston that also does business under the name AIG Retirement Services. The company has over $21 billion in assets under management (AUM) and more than 2,100 employees.

The firm provides both investment advisory and broker-dealer services. It serves clients in employee-sponsored retirement plans as well as individual clients (including high net worth individuals), offering several investment plans from which to choose.

All information included in this profile is accurate as of April 12, 2021. For more information, please consult Valic Financial Advisors’ website.

Assets under management: $21,116,994,032
Minimum investment: Varies by program, some with no minimum
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM; fixed fees
Headquarters: 2929 Allen Parkway, L7-20
Houston, TX 77019
https://www.aigrs.com/
866-544-4968

Overview of Valic Financial Advisors

Valic Financial Advisors, also known as AIG Retirement Services, was founded in 1996. Its name, Valic, is an acronym of the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, which is the company that owns it. Both the firm and the company that owns it are members of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), a large finance and insurance corporation.

VFA currently has over 1,300 employees who serve in investment advisory roles. Its team also includes licensed agents of an insurance company or agency and representatives of broker-dealers. In addition to Valic Financial Advisors’ headquarters in Houston, the firm has 185 other offices across the country. It is registered across all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.

What types of clients does Valic Financial Advisors serve?

Valic Financial Advisors primarily provides its services to individual investors. This includes high net worth individuals, who the SEC defines as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million, and those in employer-sponsored retirement plans. In some cases, the firm may also work with trusts, charitable organizations and businesses.

Valic Financial Advisors offers four primary programs, each of which has a different minimum account balance requirement. The programs offered are as follows:

  • Managed Investment Program (MIP): Available to individuals, trusts, corporations and other business entities. The minimum initial account balance required ranges from $5,000 to $250,000, depending on the portfolio.
  • Guided Portfolio Services (GPS) Program: Available to individual participants in a retirement plan account with VALIC or VALIC Retirement Services Company (VRSCO), both of which are affiliates of the firm. No minimum account balance is required.
  • Guided Portfolio Advantage (GPA) Program: Available to individuals, trusts, corporations and other business entities. No minimum account balance is required, but you must purchase a PD Freedom Advisor contract, which has a minimum initial premium payment of $25,000.
  • Financial planning: The firm’s financial planning services are limited to individuals. There is no minimum balance requirement for a mutual fund brokerage account, though one may be required for some securities, including annuities and mutual funds issued by the firm’s affiliates as well as unaffiliated mutual funds.

Services offered by Valic Financial Advisors

Valic Financial Advisors provides services for participants of retirement plans and health reimbursement arrangements, including enrollment, education, plan-related services and customer service. The firm also provides brokerage services, such as recommending mutual funds, variable annuity and life insurance products, as well as investment advisory services to retirement plan participants and others. Additionally, VFA provides certain retirement or financial planning services to clients or prospective clients as a one-time investment advisory service.

More specifically, the firm’s services include the following:

  • Investment advisory services
  • Financial planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Charitable planning
    • Education planning
    • Tax analysis
    • Cash flow forecasting
    • Spending analysis and budgeting
    • Debt management
    • Determination of pension and distribution options
  • Insurance/risk management
  • Employee benefit plan services and 401(k) consulting
  • Webinars, educational materials and tools
  • Brokerage services

How Valic Financial Advisors invests your money

Valic Financial Advisors offers three managed account advisory programs to its clients, each of which takes a different approach to investing. Which program a client uses will depend on whether they are a retirement plan participant or have purchased an annuity contract through VALIC, or if they are simply interested in having Valic Financial Advisors manage their investments.

Guided Portfolio Services (GPS) Program: This is a plan offered to those who are participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans provided by VALIC or VALIC Retirement Services Company. It includes both an online, automated service that provides non-discretionary investment advice (GPS Portfolio Advisor), as well as a program that provides discretionary investment advice, meaning advisors can make the final decisions about whether to buy or sell investments (GPS Portfolio Manager).

Guided Portfolio Advantage (GPA) Program: This asset management program is available to clients who purchased fixed and variable annuity contracts, whether through the VALIC Portfolio Director Advantage fixed and variable annuity contract (PD Advantage), which is no longer available, or the VALIC Portfolio Director Freedom Advisor fixed and variable annuity contracts (PD Freedom Advisor).

Managed Investment Program (MIP): This is Valic Financial Advisors’ asset management program, which is based on 19 portfolio models that are designed and managed by various investment managers from five companies: BlackRock Investment Management, Envestnet Portfolio Solutions, Inc., Russell Investment Management, LLC, CLS Investments, LLC, and the Vanguard Group.

Portfolios are selected for clients based on a profile questionnaire that evaluates their risk tolerance, goals, objectives and time horizon. Portfolios are also categorized based on how aggressive they are, ranging from one focused on low-cost investing using passively managed index mutual funds to one that invests in mutual funds, ETFs and separately managed accounts.

Fees Valic Financial Services charges for its services

The fees that Valic Financial Advisors charges vary by program and by portfolio type. The firm typically charges clients based on a percentage of assets under management. Rates are tiered for each program, with rates decreasing the higher the account balance. For example, under the Integrated Managed Investor Account Portfolios in the MIP Program, rates start at 1.83% for the first $250,000 and drop to 0.82% for assets over $5 million.

Depending on the program in which they are enrolled, clients may also owe additional investment-related costs. This may include costs such as fund fees or separate account charges, among other expenses.

Valic Financial Advisors highlights

  • Large number of portfolio options: Valic Financial Advisors’ MIP program offers 19 model portfolios with various investment philosophies to meet a variety of needs.
  • Low minimum account balances: While some portfolios offered by VFA require a minimum account balance of $100,000 or more, some only require $5,000, which makes the firm in reach for a wide range of investors.
  • National presence: With offices across the country, VFA’s services are widely available. In total, the firm has 186 locations throughout the U.S.
  • Awards for user experience: Valic Financial Advisors’ website has consistently won awards for best participant website. The firm has also received numerous awards for its sales literature and education communications.

Valic Financial Advisors downsides

  • Numerous disciplinary disclosures: VFA has had a number of disciplinary actions related to various allegations. Learn more about the firm’s disciplinary history below.
  • Potential conflicts of interest: Because Valic Financial Advisors is dually registered as broker-dealer, the potential for conflicts for interest may arise. For example, because their advisors receive compensation for various products and services, they may be financially incentivized to make certain recommendations. VFA is also owned by a large insurance company, which means there is potential for bias when advising and referring clients in matters related to insurance.
  • Limited customization: While Valic Financial Advisors has a large selection of portfolios to choose from, it only offers model portfolios. If you’re looking for customized options, you won’t find that here.

Valic Financial Advisors disciplinary disclosures

Valic Financial Services has a number of disciplinary disclosures on its record. As a registered investment advisor, the firm is required by the SEC to disclose any disciplinary incidents, which includes civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its employees or its affiliates over the last 10 years, that may be material to a client evaluating the firm or the integrity of its management team.

Some of the most significant events listed on the firm’s most recent Form ADV filings are listed below, ordered according to the date on which the matter was settled:

  • Nov. 28, 2016: VFA was censured and fined $1.75 million for alleged rule violations regarding its systems, processes and procedures, including allegedly failing to “have a reasonable system or process/procedures designed to address, analyze or review the conflicts of interest in its compensation program.”
  • June 3, 2019: VFA paid a $10,000 fine after the Securities Enforcement Branch of the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs alleged that the firm “failed to supervise a registered representative who had submitted a transaction without proper customer authorization.”
  • July 28, 2020: In response to SEC findings that VFA didn’t properly disclose some conflicts of interest and didn’t have proper written compliance policies and procedures in place, the firm consented to a cease-and-desist order and a censure. It was ordered to pay affected investors disgorgement of $13.2 million and prejudgment interest of $2.2 million, as well as a $4.5 million civil monetary penalty. Additionally, VFA agreed to review and correct as necessary all relevant disclosure documents.
  • July 28, 2020: VFA consented to a cease-and-desist order and a censure, and agreed to pay a civil monetary penalty of $20 million in response to SEC Findings that the firm didn’t inform Florida teachers that its parent company, VALIC, paid a for-profit company to refer teachers to its products and services. The firm was also found to have insufficient written compliance policies and procedures in place. As part of the settlement, VFA enacted rate caps for the program management fees for plans offered by Florida K-12 schools.
  • Jan. 8, 2021: VFA was censured and fined $350,000 in response to alleged FINRA rule violations regarding the firm’s failure to have processes and procedures in place to monitor rates of variable annuity exchanges and correct any that were inappropriate.

For more information on these and other disclosures, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

Valic Financial Advisors onboarding process

To enroll in one of AIG’s employer-sponsored retirement plans or to access your account online, you will need to get a code from your employer that you can use to complete the enrollment process. To inquire about other services, representatives can be reached Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time at 1-800-448-2542.

Clients in all programs receive quarterly reports, though those in the GPS Program don’t receive written reports like those in the MIP and GPA programs. Instead, GPS offers online advice and reports to clients.

Is Valic Financial Advisors right for you?

If you’re looking for a large, national firm to help with your retirement needs, Valic Financial Advisors may be worth considering, particularly for those in employee-sponsored plans that work with the firm. The firm’s numerous disciplinary disclosures, however, may raise red flags for some. There is also the potential for conflicts of interest, as VFA acts as a broker-dealer and is owned by an insurance company.

Still, the firm is widely accessible to investors with a wide range of investable asset levels, as well as those in a number of locations, as VFA has numerous offices throughout the country.

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