Review of Ritholtz Wealth Management 2021

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Updated on Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Ritholtz Wealth Management specializes in portfolio management for individuals and institutions, offering a goals-based approach to portfolio management. The firm also provides financial planning services. Ritholz currently has more than $1.8 billion in assets under management (AUM). It is headquartered in New York City, with five additional office locations throughout the U.S.

The bottom line: Ritholtz Wealth Management’s minimum investment requirement is a bit high for beginning investors, though there are options for those with less.

  • Generally requires a minimum investment of $1 million.
  • Specializes in portfolio management, along with financial planning.
  • Offers a goals-based approach to portfolio management.
Assets under management: $1,806,283,367
Minimum investment: $1 million
Individual investor to advisor ratio: 86:1
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, hourly charges, fixed fees
Headquarters: 24 West 40th Street, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10018
Website: www.RitholtzWealth.com
Phone: 212-625-1200

All information included in this profile is accurate as of June 21, 2021. For more information, please consult Ritholtz Wealth Management’s website.

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Overview of Ritholtz Wealth Management

Ritholtz Wealth Management has been a registered investment advisor (RIA) since 2013. The firm has approximately 33 employees on staff, around 16 of whom perform investment advisory functions. A number of directors at the firm hold advanced credentials, including the certified financial planner (CFP) and chartered financial analyst (CFA) designations.

The firm focuses on portfolio management for individuals and institutions, and also offers financial planning and consulting.

A look at the founders of Ritholtz Wealth Management

The firm is privately owned, with co-founder Barry Ritholtz owning 42.2% of the firm and co-founder Josh Brown owning 28.1%. Other partners at the firm own the remaining stakes.

The firm’s co-founders are well-known financial advisors with longtime followings in the industry. Barry Ritholtz, who currently serves as the firm’s chairman and chief investment officer, is the author of the financial blog “The Big Picture” and the host of Bloomberg’s “Masters in Business” podcast. Josh Brown, the firm’s CEO, is the author of the blog “The Reformed Broker” and the host of CNBC’s “The Halftime Report.”

Ritholtz Wealth Management’s pros

  • Goal-based investment planning based on individual needs: While the firm relies on some model portfolios to create the basis for investment management, Ritholtz Wealth Management personalizes its approach based on each client’s goals. Additionally, the firm offers socially responsible investing options for clients who want their investments to reflect their values.
  • Credentialed professionals on staff: The directors of different services at Ritholtz and many of the firm’s advisors have earned industry-recognized advanced certifications, such as the CFP, CFA and accredited investment fiduciary (AIF) designations.
  • Assistance setting up and managing employer retirement plans: If you’re a business owner and want help setting up a retirement plan, Ritholtz offers plan consulting. The firm can help establish, manage and monitor retirement plans.
  • One of the top 300 advisors according to the Financial Times: Every year, the Financial Times compiles a list of the top 300 RIAs in the U.S. Ritholtz has been included on this list multiple times since its founding, including most recently in 2020.
  • No disciplinary disclosures: The firm has a clean disciplinary record, and reports no civil, criminal or regulatory disclosures in its SEC filings. See more on this below.

Ritholtz Wealth Management’s cons

  • High minimum investment requirement: For those looking for personalized portfolio management, the firm typically requires a minimum investment of $1 million, although exceptions are made. This might make working with the firm out of reach for some, especially those who are just starting out.
  • Top fee rate slightly above industry average: The maximum annual rate charged by Ritholtz for portfolio management is 1.25% of assets under management. This is on the higher side, as MagnifyMoney reported in 2020 that the standard annual fee ranges from 0.50% to 1.25%. However, Ritholtz Wealth Management’s rates do drop as the amount of assets under management rises. To get the firm’s lowest rate of 0.35%, however, you need to have a hefty $20 million invested.
  • Liftoff is managed by Betterment, which has lower fees: Liftoff, the automated investment service offered by Ritholtz, is ultimately managed by the online investment company Betterment. The service charges a maximum of 0.50% of assets under management. If you want a robo-advisor, it might make more sense to go straight to Betterment, as it offers basic investment advice for a lower fee of 0.25%, and premium services for 0.40%.

What types of clients does Ritholtz Wealth Management serve?

The minimum account balance required for Ritholtz’s comprehensive portfolio management services is $1 million. However, the company does offer a robo-advisor platform, Liftoff, that is provided by Betterment for investors who cannot meet that minimum threshold. The minimum account size for a Liftoff account is negotiable.

The firm’s Form ADV shows that it does have more clients who are not high net worth investors than those who are (for reference, the SEC defines high net worth individuals as those who have at least $750,000 invested or a net worth of at least $1.5 million). Those high net worth investors, however, have over $1.2 billion invested with the firm, while assets under management for non-high net worth individuals total approximately $312 million.

Services offered by Ritholtz Wealth Management

Ritholtz focuses on portfolio management while also offering financial planning and consulting as part of its services. The firm also offers assistance with company retirement plans and institutional asset management, including 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, cash balance plans, defined benefit pension plans and profit-sharing plans.

Discretionary portfolio management is done on a personalized basis. Portfolios are based on core asset allocation and tactical models, with adjustments made for individual client goals. Portfolio rebalancing can be done regularly.

Additionally, you can access the company’s robo-advisor, Liftoff, which features more generalized investing advice and doesn’t come with the same level of individualization that a client would receive with the firm’s portfolio management service. That said, it can also come with lower fees and a lower minimum to invest.

Here’s a full list of services you can expect to see offered by Ritholtz:

  • Portfolio management
  • Financial planning and consulting
  • Retirement plan consulting

How Ritholtz Wealth Management invests your money

Personalized portfolio management: Ritholtz Wealth Management offers a personalized approach to portfolio management. It meets with its clients to understand their goals, risk tolerance and other relevant items. Using that information, an advisor then comes up with a recommended investment approach.

In general, the firm focuses on capital preservation and risk management when investing, and is more focused on asset allocation than stock picking.

The firm’s website features five key portfolios, each with proprietary asset allocation strategies, that it offers to clients. Each is named for a historic NASA mission:

  • Viking: The firm’s most conservative strategy, this portfolio consists of 75% fixed-income assets and 25% global stocks, preferred stocks and real estate investment trusts (REITs).
  • Mariner: This portfolio has a 50% fixed income and 50% stock allocation.
  • Explorer: This portfolio is 60% stocks and 40% fixed income, and it aims to allow for risk while controlling for volatility.
  • Pioneer: This portfolio is 70% stocks and 30% fixed income, and is designed for long-term growth.
  • Voyager: This is the firm’s most aggressive portfolio, at 80% stocks and 20% fixed income.

Additionally, the firm’s Goaltender model is used with all of the firm’s portfolios. Goaltender is a tactical asset allocation strategy that aims not to beat the market but rather to manage risk and help clients weather major market downturns.

Automated investment service: Clients who use the firm’s automatic management platform, Liftoff, will receive more generalized investment advice compared to the personalized advice provided through Ritholtz’s portfolio management services.

The firm includes the following investments in client portfolios, among other securities:

  • Exchange-traded securities
  • Non exchange-traded securities
  • U.S. state and local bonds
  • Securities issued by registered investment companies

Fees Ritholtz Wealth Management charges for its services

Ritholtz Wealth Management charges fees based on a percentage of assets under management for its comprehensive portfolio management services. Fees are charged quarterly on a pro-rata, annualized basis.

Here is the firm’s standard fee schedule:

Ritholtz Wealth Management Fee Schedule for Comprehensive Portfolio Management
Assets under management Maximum annual percentage of assets charged
$1,000,000-$1,999,999 1.25%
$2,000,000-$2,999,999 1.00%
$3,000,000-$4,999,999 0.75%
$5,000,000-$9,999,999 0.60%
10,000,000-$20,000,000 0.50%
More than $20,000,000 0.35%

The firm also has a loyalty program, called Milestone Rewards, that offers a discount of 16% on management fees once a client has been with the firm for three years, as long as they have at least $1 million in assets. Milestone isn’t applicable to 403(b) plans, 401(k) plans or Liftoff accounts.

For Liftoff, the automated advisory service, the firm charges an annual fee of up to 0.50% of assets under management. Retirement plan consulting fees won’t exceed 1%, though it’s important to note that this fee estimate doesn’t include fees charged by custodians or other administrators where assets are held.

Ritholtz Wealth Management’s disciplinary disclosures

Ritholtz Wealth Management has no disciplinary disclosures to report. This means it has a clean record with no legal or regulatory issues within the last 10 years involving either the company or its employees or affiliates.

Firms that are registered with the SEC must report any criminal charges, regulatory actions or legal actions like liens or civil judgments against them. These are called disclosures and must be listed on a firm’s Form ADV filed with the SEC.

For more information, visit the firm’s IAPD page.

Ritholtz Wealth Management onboarding process

To get started, Ritholtz offers a form on its website that you can fill out to get more information about the firm and provide details about yourself. After you submit the form, an advisor will reach out to schedule a time to speak. The form requests information such as:

  • Your name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • ZIP code
  • Whether you’ve worked as a financial advisor
  • Your level of familiarity with the Ritholtz philosophy
  • Level of investable assets
  • How you heard about the firm
  • Preferred method of contact

Your advisor will try to meet with you in person to get started, or at least talk to you over the phone. This will give you an opportunity to share your goals and to make recommendations.

After you’re onboarded, your portfolio will be reviewed at least quarterly.

Where Ritholtz Wealth Management is located

Ritholtz Wealth Management is headquartered in New York City. It also has offices in:

  • Newport Beach, California
  • Chicago
  • Northbrook, Illinois
  • Lafayette, Louisiana
  • Hilton Head, South Carolina

Is Ritholtz Wealth Management right for you?

Ritholtz Wealth Management is most likely to benefit high net worth individuals who want a more personal touch to portfolio management. Because the minimum for assets under management is $1 million, many investors with less won’t qualify to have their money managed by Ritholtz, unless they’re open to exploring the firm’s automated advisory platform, Liftoff, which offers less personalized advice.

Additionally, those with a higher amount of assets can benefit from the fact that management fees become lower as assets under management increase. For those who want individualized management and financial consulting, Ritholtz offers options that can be attractive. However it’s important to research multiple firms to ensure you 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.