Review of Rockefeller Capital Management 2021

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Updated on Thursday, September 2, 2021

Rockefeller Capital Management is a full-service financial services firm that grew out of the family office for the storied Rockefeller family. The firm caters to families managing intergenerational wealth, and it specializes in investments selected through an environmental, social and governance (ESG) lens.

The bottom line: Rockefeller Capital Management is a portfolio management firm focused on higher net worth clients who desire family office services.

  • Focus on ESG investing
  • Extensive portfolio strategies offered
  • Fees may be on the high side
Assets under management: $23,782,907,681
Minimum investment: No across-the-board minimum; varies by strategy for separately managed accounts
Individual investor to advisor ratio: 16:1
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, fixed fees, performance-based fees
Headquarters: 45 Rockefeller Plaza, Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10111
Website:www.rockco.com
Phone: 212-549-5100

All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 27, 2021. For more information, please consult Rockefeller Capital Management’s website.

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Overview of Rockefeller Capital Management

Rockefeller Capital Management’s predecessor, Rockefeller & Co., Inc., has roots going back to 1882, when tycoon John D. Rockefeller established the firm to manage his family’s immense wealth. In 2018, Rockefeller & Co. became a subsidiary of Rockefeller Capital Management, a joint venture owned by president and CEO Greg Fleming, a former Morgan Stanley executive; the private equity firm Viking Global Investors; and the Rockefeller Family Trust.

Rockefeller Capital Management, offering portfolio management and family office services, is primarily owned by funds affiliated with Viking Global Investors, as well as by a trust representing the Rockefeller family and by firm management. The firm includes Rockefeller Family Office, which services multi-generational wealthy families, and Rockefeller Asset Management, which offers investment management services to high net worth individuals and families, both directly and via the private wealth advisor platform.

In the years since launching, the firm has grown quickly by aggressively recruiting wirehouse advisors and purchasing established firms, some of which still operate under their own names. The firm has around 330 employees, including about 75 of whom serve as investment advisors.

Rockefeller Capital Management’s pros

  • ESG focus: Rockefeller Capital Management makes it easy for clients concerned about the impact of their investments to ensure that their portfolio aligns with their values through its focus on environmental, social and governance integration.
  • Flexible services: Clients can choose how involved they want to be in the management of their portfolio, since they can choose either discretionary or non-discretionary management services. The firm also offers a broad array of portfolio strategies and an extensive menu of services to family offices.
  • No disciplinary disclosures: Rockefeller Capital Management has not had any legal or disciplinary events (see more information below).

Rockefeller Capital Management’s cons

  • Unclear fees for wealth management: Since the firm’s fees for general investment advisory services are negotiable and fall somewhere within a certain range specified in the firm’s brochure, it’s difficult for some potential clients to determine exactly how much it will actually cost them to work with Rockefeller Capital Management. With a maximum fee of 2.50%, in addition to other fees that can include performance fees in some cases, clients could end up paying well above the industry average, which generally falls between 0.50% to 1.25% of assets under management.
  • High fees for financial planning: The firm’s fees for financial planning are significantly higher than what many other firms charge. A Kitces study published in 2021 found a median retainer fee of $4,000 per year for advisors, while Rockefeller Capital Management’s retainer fees start at $50,000 and can go all the way up to $500,000. That said, financial planning for multi-generational wealth may require more work than more straightforward plans.
  • Potential conflicts of interest: Since some advisors at Rockefeller Capital Management receive commissions for selling certain securities, they may be financially incentivized to recommend those products, presenting a potential conflict of interest.

What types of clients does Rockefeller Capital Management serve?

The firm still counts the Rockefeller family as a client, and it aims to offer similar services to other families managing intergenerational wealth. However, while high net worth individuals make up well over half of the firm’s individual investor clientele, the remainder are individual investors who do not have a high net worth. For reference, the SEC defines a high net worth individual as someone who has at least $750,000 under management with an advisor, or a net worth of at least $1.5 million.

There is no across-the-board minimum at Rockefeller Capital Management, though services provided by an investment manager may have a minimum account balance requirement.

Services offered by Rockefeller Capital Management

Rockefeller Capital Management offers comprehensive financial planning as well as investment advisory services to clients, with services tailored for family offices and long-term investors, as well as those who want to align their portfolios with their values.

Clients can receive investment advisory services either on a discretionary basis, meaning the firm can make investment decisions without prior authorization from the client, or on a non-discretionary basis. Rockefeller Capital Management also offers investment consulting services, providing advice to clients who are responsible for deciding whether to execute the trades.

Here’s a comprehensive list of services offered by Rockefeller Capital Management:

  • Investment advisory services
  • Financial planning for family office clients
    • Investment planning
    • Trustee services and estate planning
    • Charitable planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Multi-generational planning
    • Bill payment and activity reporting
    • Cash flow management and budgeting
    • Tax planning and preparation
    • Business planning
    • Mergers and acquisitions
    • Transaction structuring
    • Capital market advisory
  • Retirement plan consulting
  • Selection of other advisors

How Rockefeller Capital Management invests your money

Rockefeller Capital Management uses an environmental, social and governance (ESG) lens when selecting equity investment opportunities for its clients. The firm believes that equities that score well on ESG factors are not only good for the broader world, but also tend to outperform the market over the long term. The firm also employs a long/short equities strategy with its investments, which entails a commitment to short selling using the firm’s research in order to balance risk and return while generating higher alpha.

On the fixed-income side, the firm uses macroeconomic analysis and fundamental credit research to select potential securities, including ESG offerings. It uses both tax-exempt and taxable strategies with an eye toward preserving income.

The firm’s investment strategies may als include long-only equity strategies, multi-asset class strategies and an ocean engagement strategy. It can also create customized investment strategies that are tailored to a particular client.

Fees Rockefeller Capital Management charges for its services

Rockefeller Capital Management gets paid via fixed fees, commissions and a percentage of assets under management, with rates for all of its fee types negotiable. The fee schedule depends on the service provided.

Financial planning and family office service fees: For ongoing, comprehensive financial planning, available to family offices, clients pay an annual retainer fee that ranges from $50,000 to $500,000, depending on the complexity of their financial situation and the firm’s analysis.

For more limited Wealth Strategy Planning Report and Analysis over a six-month period, clients may pay a one-time fee of $15,000 to $25,000. The firm charges hourly fees for unbundled family office services, such as bill pay or tax preparation.

Investment management fees: In general, fees charged by investment managers range from 0.10% to 2.50% of assets under management. However, fees charged on alternative asset classes and more complex investment strategies may be higher. In some cases, investment managers also charge performance-based fees in addition to an investment management fee. Existing clients may have different fee schedules than new clients.

Fund fees: There are also affiliated fund fees laid out in each fund’s prospectus. Investment advisory fees charged by funds typically range between 0.45% and 1.50% annually, depending on the investment strategy.

Other costs: Other investment fees that clients may incur include brokerage and trading fees; third-party custody fees; fees related to certain investments; fees (including commissions) associated with certain fixed-income or variable annuity products; processing fees; and currency conversion fees.

Rockefeller Capital Management disciplinary disclosures

Rockefeller Capital Management has no disclosures, meaning it has a clean disciplinary track record. The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal actions related to the firm, its employees or its affiliates that may be material to a client’s evaluation of the firm on their Form ADV paperwork.

For more information on the firm, you can go to its IAPD page.

Where Rockefeller Capital Management is located

Rockefeller Capital Management has seven offices in total across the U.S. Its offices are in the following locations:

  • New York
  • Mountain View, California
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Oak Brook, Illinois
  • Saratoga Springs, New York
  • Boston
  • Conshohocken, Pennsylvania

Rockefeller Capital Management onboarding process

Potential clients get in touch with Rockefeller Capital Management in the following ways:

New clients can expect to work with a personal wealth advisor to discuss their financial goals and risk tolerance to find an investment approach that works for them. Advisors will share portfolio performance details with clients at least on a quarterly basis.

Is Rockefeller Capital Management right for you?

Rockefeller Capital Management may be a good choice for those looking for help managing intergenerational family wealth or interested in impact investing. Investors concerned about fee transparency and keeping a lid on costs, however, might be better served by a different firm.

As always, when choosing financial services, it’s important to understand the approach of the provider and how much you’re paying for services. Before you make your decision, be sure 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.