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Updated on Friday, June 4, 2021
Geneos Wealth Management is a private wealth management firm that offers financial planning and portfolio management. It has no minimums for two of its three main accounts, and only a $10,000 minimum for its other account, making it accessible for all levels of investors. The firm primarily serves individuals, currently overseeing more than $4.5 billion in assets under management (AUM). Headquartered in Centennial, Colo., it has over 100 offices nationwide.
The bottom line: Geneos Wealth Management is a portfolio management and financial planning firm with no or low minimum investment requirements.
- Offers three main programs for investors
- Fee schedule not entirely transparent until meeting with advisor
- Has a relatively recent disciplinary disclosure on record
|Assets under management: $4,570,894,306|
|Minimum investment: None for VIP or Ultra managed account; $10,000 for an Axiom managed account|
|Individual investor to advisor ratio: 88:1|
|Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, hourly charges, fixed fees|
|Headquarters: 9055 East Mineral Circle, Suite 200 Centennial, CO 80112|
All information included in this profile is accurate as of May 19, 2021. For more information, please consult Fisher Investments’ website.
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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 approximately over 200 employees, all of whom perform investment advisory functions and are registered representatives of a broker-dealer.
Russell Diachok founded the firm with his father, George Diachok, in 2002, after selling their previous firm to ING. Diachok retired as CEO in December 2020 and his nephew, Ryan Diachok, took over as CEO. According to the firm’s Form ADV, GWM Holdings Inc. owns 75% or more of the firm.
Geneos Wealth Management’s pros
- No or low account minimums: For those who want help with financial planning or have a small amount of money to invest, there’s no account minimum required to become a client of Geneos Wealth Management, and just a small minimum account size of $10,000 to establish and maintain an Axiom managed account. 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) seven 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 cons
- Potential conflicts of interest: Most Geneos Wealth Management advisors are also registered insurance agents and/or representatives of 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 its annual rate at 2.50% of assets under management (the minimum fee is 0.50%), which is well above average. MagnifyMoney reported in 2020 that the standard annual fee among investment advisory firms ranges from 0.50% to 1.25%. Keep in mind, however, that wrap fees will always be higher than typical investment management fees, as they include all services bundled into one fee.
- Recent disciplinary disclosures: Geneos Wealth Management was ordered by the SEC in 2018 to pay nearly $2 million in fees after settling a case the SEC described as “breaching fiduciary duties to clients and generating millions of dollars of improper fees in the process.” (More details on this below.)
What types of clients does Geneos Wealth Management serve?
The vast majority 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.
There is no minimum account size required to open a VIP or Ultra VIP managed account at Geneos Wealth Management, though the firm’s Axiom managed accounts do 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 at the firm 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
- 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 several different investment strategies, including short-term and long-term purchases, trading, short sales, 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 firm’s approach to portfolio design differs depending on which program the client enrolls in, but in general it is based on a 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, the advisor creates either a customized portfolio or a portfolio 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 be comprised of a variety of investments, including:
- Mutual funds
- Cash and cash equivalents
- Variable annuities
- Alternative investments held within the account
Fees Geneos Wealth Management charges for its services
Investment advisory fees: 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 0.50% to 2.5% and can be flat or tiered.
The VIP Ultra and Axiom programs use wrap fees, meaning 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 also incur other investment costs imposed by third parties, such as confirmation fees, mutual fund 12b-1 distribution fees and account maintenance fees. A description of these fees and expenses is available in each investment company security’s prospectus.
Financial planning fees: Financial planning rates at Geneos Wealth Management are negotiated directly between clients and their representatives. Fees may be a one-time charge, an hourly rate or a retainer, according to the following limits set by Geneos Wealth Management.
|Geneos Wealth Management Financial Planning Fees|
|Rate structure||Minimum fee||Maximum fee|
|Periodic*||$50 per period||$25,000 per period|
|*Periodic fees may be charged in advance or in arrears on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis. They may also be charged on an annual basis in arrears only.|
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. For more about the firm, you can visit its IAPD page.
Geneos Wealth Management onboarding process
To get started with Geneos Wealth Management, you can do one of the following:
- Call the firm at 888-812-5043
- Fill out the contact form provided on its website, which requests your name, contact information and a brief message
From there, you will work with an advisor to create a financial plan, looking at either 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 will choose the appropriate program (VIP, VIP Ultra or Axiom) at this point. 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.
Where Geneos Wealth Management is located
In addition to its headquarters in Centennial, Colorado, Geneos Wealth Management offices in the following states, according to its Form ADV filings:
- New York
- North Carolina
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 for its VIP accounts, 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 some potential conflicts of interest and an unclear fee schedule, so it’s important to understand the cost of its 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 right advisor for you.
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.