Review of Johnson Financial Group

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Updated on Friday, August 7, 2020

Johnson Financial Group is a wealth management firm that specializes in advising high net worth individuals and their families. The firm typically only accepts clients with a minimum account size of at least $30 million. For this high-end market, Johnson Financial Group offers investment management, financial planning and family office services.

Johnson Financial Group has only one location in Denver. The firm has 14 employees who work in an advisory capacity, and as a firm, they oversee a little over $1.1 billion in assets under management (AUM).

All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 7, 2020. For more information, please consult Johnson Financial Group’s website.

Assets under management: $ 1,122,349,597
Minimum investment: $30 million, though can be waived at the firm’s discretion
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM; fixed fees
Headquarters: 1144 Fifteenth Street, Suite 3950
Denver, CO 80202
https://www.jfgllc.net/
(720) 475-1195

Overview of Johnson Financial Group

Brandon Johnson launched Johnson Financial Group in 2002 to manage his family’s fortune. His grandfather had built a conglomerate of different companies including 80 manufacturing companies, an insurance company, an airline and a railroad, so Johnson set up this firm to manage the complex needs of his family’s extensive wealth. In 2010, Johnson opened the practice to serve other wealthy families. Johnson remains as the firm’s president and CEO as well as its principal owner.

Johnson Financial Group works with the ultrahigh net worth, requiring an account size of at least $30 million. The firm has 27 employees, of which 14 perform investment advisory functions. It currently has fewer than 50 clients.

What types of clients does Johnson Financial Group serve?

Johnson Financial Group primarily works with extremely high net worth individuals and families. The SEC defines a high net worth individual as someone with at least $750,000 in assets managed by an advisor or a net worth over $1.5 million. However, at Johnson Financial Group, the limits are event higher as the firm’s account minimum is $30 million.

The firm’s brochure notes that it could waive this account minimum at its discretion. As a result, the firm does have a small number of clients who are not high net worth. However, the majority of its client base and AUM comes from high net worth individuals. In particular, the firm specializes in working with wealthy families who need estate planning and other complicated family office services.

Besides individuals, Johnson Financial Group also works with trusts, charitable organizations and small businesses.

Services offered by Johnson Financial Group

Johnson Financial Group offers three main services: investment management, financial planning and family office services. For investment management, the firm works both on a discretionary basis, where the advisor can make trades on a client’s behalf, and on a non-discretionary basis, where a client must approve all trades. The firm also offers a third-party wrap fee program, where part of a client’s portfolio is managed by an outside investment manager.

For financial planning, Johnson Financial Group can design comprehensive financial plans covering all topics or just one or two specific areas. Finally, the firm’s family office service covers the specialized needs of the ultra wealthy, such as bookkeeping, coordinating with other advisors and private foundation administration.

Here is a full list of services offered by Johnson Financial Group:

  • Investment management (separately managed and wrap fee accounts; discretionary and non-discretionary)
  • Financial planning
    • Estate planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Education planning
    • Tax planning
    • Cash flow planning
  • Family office services

How Johnson Financial Group invests your money

Johnson Financial Group creates customized investment portfolios for its clients. The firm looks at factors such as a client’s investment experience, risk tolerance, time horizon and liquidity needs to create its recommendation.

Portfolios can include a wide range of assets including domestic and foreign equities, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), certificates of deposit (CDs), alternative assets and private placements. While designing the portfolio, Johnson Financial Group also could recommend that a client invest some of their money with an outside asset manager through a wrap fee program if they determine that would be a better fit for their goals.

Fees Johnson Financial Group charges for its services

For investment management services, Johnson Financial Group charges clients based on the size of their portfolio. For clients with portfolios below $30 million, Johnson Financial Group charges a flat fee of $250,000 per year. If a client has more than $30 million, Johnson Financial Group charges based on a percentage of assets under management, with a minimum fee of $250,000 per year.

Johnson Financial Group Fee Schedule
Total Assets Under Management Annual Fee
Assets up to $30 million $250,000
Assets over $30 million 0.35% (minimum of $250,000 per year)

Clients could also be responsible for covering the costs of managing their portfolio, including brokerage and transaction fees, wrap fees, private placement expenses and separately managed account fees.

If a client would like family office services, Johnson Financial Group charges a minimum fee of at least $250,000 per year.

Johnson Financial Group’s highlights

  • Experience working with high net worth families: Given that Johnson Financial Group started as a family office for a very wealthy family, the firm has demonstrated experience dealing with the more complex financial issues of the high net worth. The firm offers a suite of family office services to meet these clients’ unique needs, such as expense management and private foundation administration.
  • Customized investment portfolios: Johnson Financial Group does not offer one-size-fits-all portfolios but rather customizes its investment recommendations for each client based on their past investment experience, current financial situation and future goals and needs.
  • Wide selection of investments: For client portfolios, Johnson Financial Group could consider a wide range of potential investments including equities, fixed income, alternative assets and private placements. The firm also can set up wrap fee programs to have third-party investment advisors manage part of a client’s portfolio.

Johnson Financial Group’s downsides

  • Extremely high account minimums: Johnson Financial Group typically requires a minimum account size of $30 million, making this firm unattainable for all but the ultra wealthy. Additionally, the firm charges a minimum annual fee of $250,000 for portfolios of all sizes.
  • Additional fees for family office services: Johnson Financial Group clients need to pay separately to cover the costs of family office services if they desire them. The minimum annual fee for this service is $250,000, meaning a client’s all-in minimum costs if they want both investment advisory and family office services would be at least $500,000.
  • Only one location: The Johnson Financial Group’s only office is located in Denver. Clients who don’t live nearby won’t be able to have face-to-face visits as easily.

Johnson Financial Group disciplinary disclosures

Johnson Financial Group does not have any disciplinary disclosures from the past 10 years. This is a sign that the firm and its representatives have operated in an ethical, compliant manner.

The SEC requires that registered investment advisors report any instances of misconduct over the past 10 years on their Form ADV filing. This includes any criminal, civil or regulatory allegations against the firm, its employees or its affiliates.

Johnson Financial Group onboarding process

To learn more about working with Johnson Financial Group, call the firm’s office directly to schedule an appointment.

During your initial consultation, a Johnson Financial Group advisor will get to know your financial situation including your investment history, risk tolerance, time horizon and objectives. This information is used to create your customized portfolio recommendation.

If you are happy with the recommendation, you can sign on as a client. Once you launch your portfolio, the manager will continue overseeing your portfolio and update it as needed. Advisors typically review portfolios once a quarter to make sure everything is on track and to determine whether they should make any changes.

Is Johnson Financial Group right for you?

If you are a very high net worth individual looking for sophisticated investment management, Johnson Financial Group could be a good choice. The firm offers an impressive selection of strategies for its customized portfolios, alongside comprehensive financial planning and a suite of family office services.

For investors with smaller portfolios and budgets, however, Johnson Financial Group will most likely not be an option. You need at least $30 million to join as a client, and the firm charges a minimum fee of $250,000 per year for investment management services. Investors still looking to build their wealth or who want a simpler, low-cost approach should look elsewhere.

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