Review of AssetMark 2021

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Reviewed By

Updated on Wednesday, October 20, 2021

AssetMark is an asset management platform, predominantly supporting independent financial advisors. It rarely works directly with investors — rather, it provides asset fund management, which individual advisors can use to build client portfolios. Aside from a select number of high net worth individuals, individuals cannot independently access AssetMark. Through its network, the firm has almost $47 billion assets under management (AUM), overseen by a team of nearly 140 advisors.

The bottom line: AssetMark is an asset management firm that individual investors can access through their independent financial advisors for portfolio management services.

  • “Turnkey” and customized portfolios available
  • Leadership team holds high-end certifications, including the CPA and CFA designations
  • Pension consulting and advisor selection available
Assets under management: $46,986,821,006
Minimum investment: Varies by account type
Individual investor to advisor ratio: 1,804:1
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, fixed fees
Headquarters: 1655 Grant St, 10th Floor
Concord, California 94520
Website: www.assetmark.com
Phone: 800-664-5345

All information included in this profile is accurate as of October 5, 2021. For more information, please consult AssetMark’s website.

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Overview of AssetMark

Founded in 1996 as an independent company, AssetMark is an indirect subsidiary of Huatai Securities, a financial services and brokerage firm based in China. AssetMark itself owns two investment divisions, Investment Strategies Group and Savos Investments. The firm’s headquarters are in Concord, Calif., and has four other offices in three additional states.

Besides providing portfolio management, AssetMark aims to help independent advisors grow their practices. It has a network of over 680 individuals — either advisory firms or single advisors — who find and advise clients on the firm’s behalf. Through their advisor, an individual investor could access pension consulting, investment management, investment due diligence and a digital platform called eWealthManager, which lets clients monitor their portfolio and stay in touch with their advisor.

AssetMark’s pros

  • Available to non-high net worth investors: AssetMark’s partnered advisors mostly serve individuals who don’t qualify as high net worth, meaning the firm has experience working with investors other than the wealthy. In addition, the minimum required amount to invest in one of AssetMark’s funds is $10,000, which is lower than many other firms.
  • Customization available: Through their advisors, clients can set up a turnkey portfolio or customize a portfolio with funds from AssetMark in accordance with their risk tolerance and long-term goals.
  • Awards for customer service, asset management and social responsibility: In April 2021, the firm won a silver Stevie® Award for customer service; two of its executives also won Stevie® Awards in 2020. In 2018 and 2019, the company won industry awards from WealthManagement.com for its turnkey asset management platform (TAMP) as well as its corporate social responsibility and diversity initiatives.

AssetMark’s cons

  • Generally doesn’t directly advise investors: Rather, AssetMark generally offers its services through independent financial advisors and then manages the funds. The exception is when high net worth clients request additional customization of individual stock portfolios.
  • Potential conflicts of interest: Advisors at AssetMark can receive financial incentives when clients invest in specific funds. Because of this, advisors may be incentivized to make recommendations that will earn them the most money.
  • Limited investor services: AssetMark does not offer comprehensive financial planning services directly to investors. Clients interested in getting help with a specific topic like retirement or estate planning will likely need to look elsewhere.

What types of clients does AssetMark serve?

The firm’s largest client group is individuals, who invest through their independent financial advisors; this client group accounts for the lion’s share of the firm’s AUM. The next-largest client group — in terms of both the number of clients and the level of assets — is high net worth individuals. AssetMark can make a rare exception and offer direct financial advising to high net worth individuals who desire a detailed portfolio customization. (For reference, a high net worth individual is defined by the SEC as a person or a married couple who has at least $750,000 managed by an advisor, or whose net worth exceeds $1.5 million.)

To add one of AssetMark’s funds to your portfolio, you’ll need to meet the investment minimum of that fund. The minimums vary largely based on the type of assets in the portfolio, as you can see in the table below:

AssetMark Investment Minimums
Portfolio type Minimum investment requirement
Administrative accounts/third-party mutual funds $10,000
Strategies $10,000 to $25,000
Guided portfolios $10,000 to $250,000
Individually managed accounts – fixed income $25,000 to $250,000
Savos brand portfolio $25,000 to $250,000
Custom individually managed account $250,000 to $1 million
Retirement funds $15,000, but subject to negotiation

Services offered by AssetMark

Again, AssetMark specializes in providing services to independent financial advisors, not directly to investors. It manages the investment funds as a third-party to which advisors outsource.

AssetMark also provides administrative support, consulting services, due diligence research and a technology platform to the advisors who partner with the company.

For reference, here is a complete list of services that the firm can provide to these advisors:

  • Consulting support for business service and sales
    • Professional development
  • Digital platform for client management and account administration
  • Business administration services
  • Investment research and management
    • Turnkey and customizable portfolio options
  • Financial planning services
    • Financial education
  • Business retirement planning services

While AssetMark’s services are aimed at the businesses providing financial management, high net worth individuals who desire a further layer of portfolio customization could work directly with AssetMark in special cases.

How AssetMark invests your money

AssetMark focuses on offering a diverse set of asset classes and investment philosophies that the advisors it works with can in turn offer to their clients.

Based on a client’s needs, goals and risk tolerance, the advisor will guide their client on which AssetMark funds are most suitable for their portfolio. The advisor and the client will consider how well a strategy aligns with the client’s objectives before investing.

AssetMark offers a number of investment strategies that an advisor and client could choose from. This includes a strategy focused on achieving enhanced returns and limiting loss and an option that incorporates equity alternatives, bonds and bond alternatives. The firm also offers custom portfolio options that can include socially responsible investments, faith-based investments and others.

Fees AssetMark charges for its services

AssetMark charges investor fees that are based on the assets they manage for a particular investor. A client investing in the firm’s mutual funds could pay a maximum wrap fee that ranges from 0.35% to 0.70% of their assets managed. (A wrap fee is an all-inclusive payment for an investment, including commissions, trading, advising, administration and miscellaneous fees involving investment expenses.) Generally, the more assets you invest, the lower your rate.

Here are the fee ranges for other investment assets, including third-party mutual funds that AssetMark doesn’t manage. Specific assets within these fund types may be subject to supplemental fees due to their asset class or a more hands-on investing strategy.

AssetMark Investment Fees
Fund Type Fee Possible supplemental fee
Administrative accounts 0.00% to 0.25% N/A
Investment Strategies Group brand 0.10% to 0.50% 0.10% to 0.60%
Guided Portfolios 0.00% to 0.65% 0.10% to 0.40%
Individually managed accounts — fixed income 0.15% to 0.31% 0.20% – 0.35%
Savos Investment brand accounts 0.55% to 1.00% NA
Separately managed accounts 0.50% to 0.70% 0.05% to 0.10%
Custom individually managed accounts 0.60% to 1.10% 0.05%

While these are the fees an individual investor would pay for the firm’s offerings, AssetMark also charges financial advisors for any provided business services. This would apply to offerings like administrative services, sales consulting and its client management and account administration platform available to advisors.

AssetMark disciplinary disclosures

AssetMark reports one disciplinary disclosure. For reference, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires registered investment advisors to disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions that occurred within the last 10 years that could impact a client’s evaluation of the business or management on their Form ADV paperwork.

AssetMark’s disciplinary event was settled in August 2016 with the SEC, which alleged that AssetMark staff circulated incorrect performance advertisements of an account service offered by the company F-Squared. AssetMark paid a penalty of $500,000.

For further information, visit the firm’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.

AssetMark onboarding process

As an individual investor, it is unlikely that you could directly invest with AssetMark, as it is primarily a platform designed to support advisors. AssetMark discourages direct investors from contacting the firm and instead directs investors to speak with their advisors. The onboarding and orientation process you’ll have with your advisor depends on the specific advisor and their company.

Where AssetMark is located

AssetMark has five offices in the following locations:

  • Concord, California
  • Encino, California
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Phoenix

Additionally, AssetMark is registered to serve investors in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, for investors who aren’t worried about meeting in person.

Is AssetMark right for you?

AssetMark provides asset management and business tools to independent financial advisors. If you would like to invest in funds managed by AssetMark, you could do so through your advisor. The firm may also be suitable if you’re a high net worth individual who desires detailed portfolio customization. However, investors who prefer speaking directly with the person making the asset management decisions and don’t have a high net worth may want to look elsewhere.

If you’re interested in exploring additional options, try our financial advisor tool, which could help you find an advisor who checks all the boxes on your list.

The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.