Review of Rockefeller Capital Management

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Reviewed By

Updated on Friday, July 24, 2020

Rockefeller Capital Management is a full-service financial services firm that grew out of the family office for the storied Rockefeller family. It has 74 investment advisors across nine offices, which are located primarily in major metropolitan areas throughout the country. The firm caters to families managing intergenerational wealth, and it specializes in investments selected through an environmental, social and governance (ESG) lens. It currently oversees more than $5.4 billion in assets under management (AUM).

All information included in this profile is accurate as of July 24, 2020. For more information, please consult Rockefeller Capital Management’s website.

Assets under management: $ 5,419,902,221
Minimum investment: None
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM; commissions
Headquarters:45 Rockefeller Plaza
Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10111
https://rcm.rockco.com/
(212) 549-5100

financial advisor

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 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 two 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 116 employees, including 74 of whom serve as investment advisors.

What types of clients does Rockefeller Capital Management serve?

Rockefeller Capital Management 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 nearly two-thirds 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 high net worth individuals as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of over $1.5 million).

Services provided by an investment manager may have a minimum account balance of $250,000 or more, though some services don’t have a minimum account balance requirement at all. The firm may lower minimum account balance requirements for some clients.

In addition to serving wealthy individuals and families as well as family offices, the firm is capable of working with a wide range of institutional investors. The firm’s largest institutional client bases include charitable organizations, pooled investment vehicles and corporations or other businesses.

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 who use the Rockefeller Private Wealth Advisor Platform get paired with a private wealth advisor, who may be a certified financial planner (CFP) or a chartered financial analyst (CFA). Clients may have multiple accounts on the platform with different investment approaches for each account.

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.

  • Investment advisory services
  • Financial planning for family office clients
    • Investment planning
    • Trustee services and estate planning
    • Charitable planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Multi-generational financial planning
    • Bill payment and activity reporting
    • Cash flow management and budgeting
    • Tax planning and preparation
    • Retirement planning
    • Business planning
  • Retirement plan consulting

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.

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.

Clients can invest via several strategies:

  • Separately managed account strategy: Uses separate accounts headed by individual investment managers
  • Fund strategy: Invests mainly in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Discretionary or non-discretionary private wealth advisor strategy: Relies on a personalized wealth advisor for guidance on investment strategies
  • Unified managed accounts (UMA) strategy: Uses a combination of the above strategies in a single account

Fees Rockefeller Capital Management charges for its services

Rockefeller Capital Management gets paid via fixed fees, commissions and a percentage of assets under management, all of which are 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 the firm’s wrap fee program, clients pay a single fee, which includes a client fee of up to 2.00% of assets under management and a management fee of 0.15% to 1.00%.

Family office clients are subject to different rates, paying an open architecture fee schedule for investment advisory services. The maximum investment advisory fee under that structure is 0.50% of assets under management, which clients pay in addition to an investment manager fee of 0.10% to 2.50% of assets under management.

Additional compensation: Rockefeller Capital Management is also a registered broker-dealer. That means that some of its personal wealth advisors may receive a commission for selling certain securities. Separately, while the firm typically uses an asset-based fee model, the firm may occasionally charge performance-based fees, depending on the client’s situation and the investment strategy. This fee may be charged in addition to or instead of an asset-based fee.

Rockefeller Capital Management’s highlights

  • 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 downsides

  • Unclear fees for wealth management: Since the firm’s fees are negotiable, it’s difficult for potential clients to determine how much it will actually cost them to work with Rockefeller Capital Management. With a maximum fee of 2% to 2.50%, in addition to other fees, clients could end up paying more than twice the industry average of 1.17%, according to a 2019 study by RIA in a Box.
  • High fees for financial planning: The firm’s fees for financial planning are significantly higher than what many other firms charge. A 2018 Kitces study found a maximum retainer fee of $17,500 for a financial plan, while Rockefeller Capital Management’s retainer fees start at $50,000. That said, financial planning for multi-generational wealth may require more work than more straightforward plans.
  • Potential conflicts of interest: Since some advisors receive commissions for selling certain securities, they may be financially incentivized to recommend those products, presenting a potential conflict of interest.

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.

Rockefeller Capital Management onboarding process

Potential clients can reach out to local offices to connect with the firm or send an email to [email protected].

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. It’s best to research multiple firms and ask questions of different advisors to make sure you choose the one that’s best for you.

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