Review of Geneos Wealth Management

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Updated on Thursday, January 23, 2020

Geneos Wealth Management is a private wealth management firm based in Centennial, Colo. The firm offers financial planning and portfolio creation and management, primarily to individuals, without requiring a minimum account balance. It currently has about $3.3 billion in assets under management (AUM), overseen by a staff of 230 investment managers, nearly all of whom are registered broker-dealers and insurance agents.

All information included in this profile is accurate as of January 21st, 2020. For more information, please consult Geneos Wealth Management’s website.

Assets under management: $3,294,334,641
Minimum investment: None required
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, hourly charges, fixed fees
Headquarters: 9055 East Mineral Circle
Suite 200
Centennial, CO 80112

Overview of Geneos Wealth Management

Geneos Wealth Management is a privately held wealth management firm that offers financial planning and wealth management services. The firm has 230 investment advisors, the vast majority of whom are registered representatives of broker-dealers and licensed insurance agents.

Geneos Wealth Management currently has nearly $3.3 billion in assets under management. CEO Russell Diachok founded the firm with his father in 2002, after selling their previous firm to ING. Diachok’s nephew, Ryan Diachok, is the president of Geneos Wealth Management.

What types of clients does Geneos Wealth Management serve?

The vast majority (more than 97%) of Generos Wealth Management’s clients are individual investors, although the firm has some clients who are high net worth individuals. The SEC defines high net worth individuals as those with at least $750,000 in assets under management, or a net worth believed to be above $1.5 million. In addition, Geneos works with some charitable organizations and businesses.

There is no minimum account size required to open a VIP or Ultra VIP managed account at Geneos, though their Axiom managed accounts have a $10,000 account minimum. However, the firm notes that it may allow exceptions to these requirements at its discretion.

Services offered by Geneos Wealth Management

Geneos Wealth Management provides financial planning and asset management services to clients and also refers clients to third-party money managers. Most advisors are also insurance agents who may make insurance product recommendations and sales.

The firm’s financial planning services range from holistic planning covering all aspects of a client’s financial situation to modular plans that focus on a specific area, such as retirement planning or asset allocation.

For asset management services, Geneos Wealth Management has three programs available:

  • VIP Program: This is the firm’s traditional portfolio management program. The client invests their money with a referred custodian and makes investments based on recommendations by their Geneos Wealth Management representative. Clients are charged separately for advisory services and transactions.
  • VIP Ultra: This is one of the firm’s two wrap fee programs, which is when a firm bundles services under a single fee. Clients in the VIP Ultra program invest with a Geneos-approved custodian, and their Geneos Wealth Management representative will make trades within the portfolio on their behalf. Rather than paying per transaction, the client pays a wrap fee that covers both advisory services and transaction costs.
  • Axiom: The Axiom program, the firm’s second wrap fee program, has a minimum investment requirement of $10,000. Clients in this program work with their advisors to select an investment model or models that makes sense for their financial situation and invest their money with custodians with whom the firm has a relationship. Their Geneos Wealth Management representative will then manage that portfolio on their behalf. Like with VIP Ultra, clients pay a single wrap fee that bundles advisory services and transaction costs.

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

  • Investment advisory services/ portfolio management (separately managed/wrap fee accounts; discretionary/non-discretionary)
  • Financial planning
    • Tax planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Asset allocation
    • Risk management
    • College planning
    • Estate planning
  • Pension consulting
  • Educational seminars and workshops
  • Brokerage services
  • Selection of other advisors

How Geneos Wealth Management invests your money

Geneos Wealth Management uses a variety of securities analysis approaches to create portfolios for clients. Among them: charting (looking at historical patterns), cyclical analysis (looking at recurring periods), fundamental analysis (looking at company characteristics) and technical analysis (looking at market data for price trends and movements).

The firm uses several different investment strategies, including short-term and long-term purchases, trading, making short sales and margin transactions, option writing, market timing and strategic asset allocation. Geneos Wealth Management may refer clients to third-party managers who have different investment philosophies.

The approach that Geneos Wealth Management takes to program design differs depending on which program the client enrolls in, but is generally based on the client’s individual goals and objectives. In the VIP program, representatives work with clients to design a portfolio based on a third-party custodian’s platform. In the VIP Ultra program, they design either a customized portfolio or one based on the representative’s model. Clients in the Axiom program invest in one or more models created by third-party portfolio strategists.

The portfolios may include a variety of investments, including mutual funds, stocks, bonds, options and cash, as well as alternative investments such as real estate investment trusts and limited partnerships.

Fees Geneos Wealth Management charges for its services

Fees for investment advisory services at Geneos Wealth Management are negotiated directly between the client and their representative, and rates are based on a percentage of assets under management. Rates can range from 0.5% to 2.5% and can be flat or tiered. The VIP Ultra and Axiom programs use wrap fees, meaning that there are no additional fees for individual transactions, which are bundled with the advisory fee into a single charge. The firm also offers a VIP program, in which the client pays for individual transactions and a separate management fee. Depending on the volume of trades in the account, this fee arrangement can be more or less expensive for clients.

Clients may have to pay additional fees to outside firms for fund management, sales charges, annuity fees or other charges, depending on the investments used in their account. VIP clients may also have to pay separate fees to third-party managers to which they are referred by Geneos Wealth Management.

Financial planning rates at Geneos Wealth Management are negotiated directly between clients and their representatives as a one-time charge, an hourly rate or a retainer, according to the following limits set by Geneos Wealth Management.

Rate structure Minimum fee Maximum fee
One-time charge $125 $25,000
Hourly fee $35/hour $300/hour
Retainer (monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis) $50 per period $25,000 per period

Geneos Wealth Management’s highlights

  • No account minimums: For those who want help with financial planning or have a small amount of money that they want to invest, there’s no account minimum required to become a Geneos Wealth Management Client. This makes the firm accessible to all levels of investors.
  • Industry recognition: Investment Advisor has named the firm broker-dealer of the year (among brokers with 200-499 representatives) six times, based on advisor votes.
  • Customized guidance: If you work with a Geneos Wealth Management advisor, they’ll take your specific goals and risk tolerance into account when advising on your portfolio and creating a financial plan. Then, you can decide whether to implement the plan, and whether to purchase investments through the firm or elsewhere.

Geneos Wealth Management’s downsides

  • Potential conflicts of interest: Most Geneos Wealth Management advisors are also registered insurance agents and/or broker-dealers, which means they can earn commissions for selling specific insurance or investment products. The firm also earns commissions for referring clients to other investment advisors’ management programs, and it generates fees from client money that is awaiting reinvestment. These financial arrangements could pose potential conflicts of interest as an advisor may be incentivized to make certain recommendations or referrals.
  • Lack of fee transparency: Since each advisor sets their own fees, it can be difficult to predict the cost of working with the firm before having a meeting. Additionally, Geneos Wealth Management caps fees at 2.50% of assets under management, which is more than double the 1.17% national average for RIAs, according to RIA in a Box.
  • Recent disciplinary disclosures: Geneos Wealth Management recently had to pay a nearly $2 million fine due to an alleged breach of fiduciary duty. (More details below.)

Geneos Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures

Geneos Wealth Management has disciplinary disclosures on its record. All SEC-registered firms are required to note any disclosures, which include any past criminal, regulatory or civil penalties, in their Form ADV, paperwork that they must file with the SEC.

In 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ordered Geneos Wealth Management to pay a fine of more than $1.8 million following charges that the firm had breached its fiduciary duty to clients. The settlement stemmed from allegations that from 2012 to 2017 the firm had profited by putting some advisory clients’ assets into higher-fee share classes of mutual funds even though the clients were eligible for shares with lower fees. The SEC also alleged that Geneos Wealth Management had not properly disclosed the compensation it received for referring clients to some third-party broker-dealers.

Geneos Wealth Management has since revised its policies to prevent such issues in the future.

Geneos Wealth Management onboarding process

To get started with Geneos Wealth Management, you can call the firm at 888-812-5043 or fill out the contact form provided on its website. The form requests your name, contact information and a brief message.

An advisor at Geneos will then work with you to create a financial plan, either holistically looking at your entire financial picture, or focusing on a specific issue like saving for retirement or your child’s college education. While Geneos Wealth Management creates the plans with the intention that you’ll implement them, there is no requirement to do so.

If you opt to use Geneos Wealth Management’s asset management services, you’ll choose the appropriate program (VIP, VIP Ultra or Axiom). Your representatives will work with you to implement the portfolio you’ve designed and manage it on your behalf.

Clients who pay for ongoing consultation will receive an annual review to determine their progress toward their goals. Representatives will also review managed accounts on an ongoing basis and advisory accounts on request to make sure they continue to meet the client’s needs.

The bottom line: Is Geneos Wealth Management firm right for you?

Geneos Wealth Management may be a good choice for clients looking for financial planning and help with their investments. The firm primarily works with individual investors and has no minimum account balance, making it a viable option for many investors who may be shut out of other firms that focus on wealthier investors.

However, the firm has multiple potential conflicts of interest and an unclear fee schedule, so it’s important to understand the cost of services and why advisors are making a specific recommendation. As is the case before making any financial decision, it’s important to do your research and compare multiple options to find the best fit for you.