Review of Orgel Wealth Management

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Updated on Monday, February 24, 2020

Orgel Wealth Management is a financial advisory firm that works with individual investors and families to manage their investment portfolios and provide financial planning guidance. The firm’s 45-person team, based in Altoona, Wis., also works with institutional investors, among others, and offers services to manage employer-sponsored retirement plans. Overall, Orgel has nearly $4.2 billion in assets under management (AUM).

All information included in this profile is accurate as of February 24, 2020. For more information, please consult Orgel Wealth Management’s website.

Assets under management: $4,191,363,849
Minimum investment: Generally $1 million, though exceptions exist
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, ranging from 0.10% to 0.50%, depending on portfolio size; fixed fees
Headquarters:2420 Rivers Edge Drive
Altoona, WI 54720

Overview of Orgel Wealth Management

The firm’s founder, Mark Orgel, began his investment career at financial services firm R.W Baird in 1984. Five years later, he created the eponymous Mark Orgel Investment Group, initially affiliated with the firm Dain Bosworth. By 2013, Orgel’s organization was managing more than $3 billion and changed its name to Orgel Wealth Management. Today, the firm is wholly owned by its principals, with company documents noting that Mark owns a share of at least 25%.

Orgel currently has 45 employees in its Altoona, Wis., office, with 18 of those team members performing investment advisory and research roles. Four of the firm’s principals hold the chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation and two are certified financial planners (CFP).

What types of clients does Orgel Wealth Management serve?

The firm’s more than 2,800 clients include individuals, high net worth individuals, pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities. However, Orgel’s clients are predominantly individual investors, with nearly 70% of those investors who do not qualify as high net worth individuals (the SEC defines as someone who has at least $750,000 in assets under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million).

While Orgel generally requires new clients to invest a minimum of $1 million, it may accept smaller accounts at its discretion, as indicated by its large portion of individual investors without a high net worth. Additionally, families can combine all of their accounts to reach the firm’s $1 million threshold.

Services offered by Orgel Wealth Management

Most clients tap Orgel to manage their investment portfolios. The firm’s team will conduct a lengthy conversation with clients to determine their goals, risk tolerance and time horizon, and then craft a portfolio tailored specifically to them. Most trades are placed on a discretionary basis, meaning the firm does not first need the client’s approval. Rather, clients give their advisor broad discretion to choose what, and how much, to buy and sell on a daily basis, although clients can provide some parameters.

Clients also enlist the firm to help plan for their financial future and goals, either alongside the management of their accounts or on a stand-alone basis. Orgel may provide guidance on a myriad of situations, such as saving for retirement, paying for education, selling a business, taking out a home loan and other financial issues that arise. Additionally, the firm can make recommendations for insurance and estate plans, but it does not actually sell insurance products, draft estate plans or file tax returns, and instead refers clients to outside professionals for these tasks.

For employers, Orgel offers assistance with the management of employer-sponsored retirement plans, including plan design, fees, recordkeeping, participant education and investment advice.

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

  • Investment advisory services/portfolio management
  • Financial planning and consulting services
    • Investment planning
    • Budget planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Charitable planning
    • Education expense planning
    • Business consulting and transition services
    • IRA and 401(k) rollovers
  • Retirement plan management and consulting services

How Orgel Wealth Management invests your money

Orgel Wealth Management crafts each client’s portfolio based on their specific needs, goals and objectives, risk tolerance and time horizon. The client’s funds are then primarily invested in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and individual stocks and bonds, with the occasional use of some private investments, such as private debt and equity, hedge funds and real estate investment trusts. The firm places a particular emphasis on reducing risk, as well as achieving tax efficiency.

When deciding which investments to use, Orgel relies on an approach that combines fundamental and technical analysis. On the fundamental side, the firm considers details like the strength of the company’s management team, competitive positioning and financial condition. Technical factors analyzed include past market patterns, moving averages and price correlations, with the goal of identifying trends that likely have more to do with investor sentiment than the fundamentals of the investment.

Fees Orgel Wealth Management charges for its services

Orgel Wealth Management generally bundles its services under a wrap fee, which includes portfolio management, as well as any financial planning or consulting services you’ve requested. The combined fee is calculated as a percentage of your total assets under management. Most new clients will pay an annual fee of 0.50% for the first $5 million invested, and that rate drops as you invest more money.

Assets under managementAnnual rate
First $5 million0.50%
Next $5 million0.40%
Next $15 million0.50%
Next $25 million0.25%
Over $50 million0.10%

Investors who have accounts that consist of only short-duration fixed income investments may adhere to an amended fee schedule, which may have lower rates than those listed above.

The wrap fee rate above also covers your custodian fees if you use Pershing, LLC as your custodian, which the firm recommends. If you choose a firm other than Pershing, however, you’ll owe additional brokerage and transaction costs.

If you’re looking for standalone financial planning services, you can negotiate a fee, perhaps fixed, based on the complexity of your needs.

Fees are owed on a monthly basis and are directly deducted from the client’s account.

Orgel Wealth Management’s highlights

  • Lower than average fees. You will pay an annual fee of only 0.50% on the first $5 million you and your family invest with Orgel, compared to a national average of about 1.17%. What’s more, Orgel’s fee includes some financial planning services and consulting; many other firms charge extra for those services. The fee also includes brokerage and custodian fees if you use Pershing LLC as your custodian.
  • Clearly disclosed fees and sources of income. Many financial advisors earn additional income beyond what you pay them, such as through compensation for selling certain investment or insurance products or referring clients to certain outside professionals. Orgel is a fee-only advisor, meaning its only source of compensation is the fees that its clients pay for its services, reducing potential conflicts of interest where advisors may recommend the investment that pays them the largest commission.
  • Clean disciplinary record. The firm has had no disciplinary issues in the last 10 years.

Orgel Wealth Management’s downsides

  • Only one office location. Although Orgel is registered to work with clients in many states, the firm has just one office in Altoona, Wis., in the western part of the state next to Eau Claire. Unless you live in the area, you may want to find another firm if you prefer to meet with your advisor in person to discuss your finances.
  • A high minimum investment requirement. The firm’s brochure states that it generally requires a minimum portfolio size of $1 million for new clients, which may be out of reach for many investors. That said, the firm may accept clients with smaller portfolios at its discretion — in fact, according to the firm’s Form ADV, the bulk of its clients are individuals not considered to be high net worth — so you may still consider reaching out to the firm to learn if you can make the cut.
  • Higher fees to use your preferred custodian. Orgel recommends clients use Pershing, LLC as their custodian. If you opt against the firm’s recommendation, you’ll pay additional brokerage and transaction costs.

Orgel Wealth Management’s disciplinary disclosures

All registered investment advisors are required to disclose any legal, regulatory or criminal event that is material to how a client evaluates the business or the integrity of the management team in their Form ADV, paperwork filed with the SEC. Orgel Wealth Management has a clean disciplinary record, disclosing no such events over the last 10 years.

Orgel Wealth Management’s onboarding process

To learn more about Orgel Wealth Management, you can contact the firm toll-free at (855) 674-3596 or by emailing [email protected]. Prior to establishing a formal relationship, you will receive and sign a document that specifically lays out the services to be provided as well as your fees. It is your responsibility to notify the firm if your financial situation changes.

Once an established client with Orgel, you can expect to receive quarterly reports detailing your holdings and performance. If you’ve enlisted the firm for financial planning or consulting services, you’ll receive a written report of recommendations.

Is Orgel Wealth Management right for you?

If you are looking for a smaller, more intimate advisory practice where you know exactly how much you’ll pay and how much the firm will earn off your accounts, Orgel Wealth Management could suit your needs. The firm’s fees are lower than industry averages, and the firm’s rate includes additional services like retirement and education planning. Although the firm generally requires new clients to invest a minimum of $1 million, it will at its discretion waive that minimum requirement. In fact, the bulk of its current clients do not formally qualify as high net worth, according to the SEC.

The firm’s single office in western Wisconsin, however, limits clients to those who are local to the area or willing to have a long-distance relationship with their financial advisor. Clients who do not want to custody their funds at Pershing, LLC should be prepared to pay additional fees than what the company publishes in its brochures.

Any time you are looking for a financial advisor, you must do your homework to understand the benefits and costs, and then determine if you’re comfortable with the balance.