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Updated on Monday, August 16, 2021
Savant Wealth Management is an independent, fee-only firm headquartered in Illinois that offers wealth management and financial planning. Other services provided by the firm include estate planning and wealth transfer services, as well as retirement plan consulting. Most of the firm’s clients are individuals or high net worth individuals.
The bottom line: Savant Wealth Management is a fee-only firm offering comprehensive wealth management services, including portfolio management, estate planning and tax preparation.
- Asset-based rate higher for those with less than $1 million invested
- Offers several model portfolios to choose from
- Provides a digital advisory option
|Assets under management: $10,317,730,553|
|Minimum investment: $300,000|
|Individual investor to advisor ratio: 76:1|
|Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, hourly charges, fixed fees|
|Headquarters: 190 Buckley Drive|
Rockford, IL 61107
All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 16, 2021. For more information, please consult Savant Wealth Management’s website.
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Overview of Savant Wealth Management
Savant Wealth Management is a largely Illinois-based firm that was launched in its current form in 1993 by Thomas Muldowney and Brent Brodeski. The firm grew out of Savant Planning Group, which was founded by Muldowney in 1986. The founder retired from the firm in 2016, and Brodeski, who remains CEO, recapitalized the firm with his own money along with investments from employees, family offices and other investors.
The firm has been on an acquisition spree since then. Notable purchases include D3 Financial Counselors in 2018, which continues to operate under its own name, and, in 2021, the financial advisory firm AMDG Financial and tax and accounting firm AMDG Business Advisory Services. According to a press release, when the transaction is completed, Savant Capital Wealth Management’s employee base will expand to a total of 500. Currently, Savant Wealth Management has over 200 employees, nearly 90 of whom serve as investment advisors.
Additionally, Savant Wealth Management owns a subsidiary accounting firm, Savant Tax & Consulting, which primarily serves medical and dental practices. The firm also runs the Women’s Wealth Initiative, a series of educational events and services aimed at helping women build their financial future.
A look at the founder of Savant Wealth Management
While Muldowney has retired, Brodeski remains CEO of Savant Wealth Management. Brodeski is also co-founder and past president of Zero Alpha Group, an industry association, and co-founder of the Alliance for RIAs, an industry group that collectively manages close to $50 billion in assets.
Brodeski has been named to the Barron’s Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors list and also appeared in the Forbes’ top 250 wealth advisors rankings.
Savant Wealth Management’s pros
- Fee-only, independent firm: Savant Wealth Management has no financial incentive to recommend specific products or services. Unlike some other advisors, the advisors at Savant Wealth Management get paid solely based on a client’s assets under management, which eliminates many conflicts of interest.
- Digital investment advisor offering: Clients who don’t have enough to invest with in a traditional account can still access Savant’s services through its robo-advisor, offered through Betterment. Savant helps clients create an appropriate asset allocation based on their and then monitors their account.
- Industry recognition: Savant Wealth Management has received many accolades for its work. Among them: inclusion on Barron’s 2020 list of America’s Top RIA Firms, Financial Advisor’s 2020 RIA Ranking and the Financial Times FT 300 list of top investment advisors.
Savant Wealth Management’s cons
- Fee minimum: For comprehensive wealth management services, Savant has a $10,000 minimum fee. This means that clients who hold less than $1 million with the firm will pay a higher fee than the maximum 1% that clients with $1 million or over will pay.
- Limited geographic footprint: While the firm is registered in every state, the bulk of its offices are located in Illinois (there are also offices in Arizona, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin). This may make it harder to meet with your advisor in person if you live outside of a state where the firm has an office.
- Pays for referrals: Savant Wealth Management pays ongoing fees to certain third parties such as TD Ameritrade, SmartAsset and Schwab. When someone recommends the firm to you, make sure to ask why they’re making the recommendation.
What types of clients does Savant Wealth Management serve?
The firm primarily serves individuals, including high net worth individuals (who the SEC defines as someone with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million). However, Savant Wealth Management offers different services depending on the size and complexity of a client’s portfolio. To open an investment portfolio with Savant Wealth Management, clients typically should have $300,000 to invest.
Services offered by Savant Wealth Management
Savant Wealth Management offers investment management and comprehensive wealth management services, as well as financial planning services for non-wealth management clients. The firm also offers standalone estate planning and wealth transfer services, business succession planning, retirement plan services and tax preparation.
Here’s a comprehensive list of Savant Wealth Management’s offerings:
- Asset management
- Digital advisory service
- Financial planning
- Visions and goals planning
- Investment planning
- Retirement planning
- Estate planning and administration
- Charitable planning
- Education planning
- Business planning and succession
- Income tax planning
- Debt management
- Divorce planning
- Insurance/risk management
- Estate and wealth transfer services
- Document preparation and legal services
- Subadvisory services
- Retirement plan consulting services and 401(k) rollovers
- Tax advisory and preparation
- Accounting services
- Workshops and seminars
- Newsletters and publications
How Savant Wealth Management invests your money
Savant Wealth Management uses an investment committee, composed mostly of Savant employees, to create its model portfolios and overall investment strategy. The firm uses several methods to analyze potential investments and portfolios, including computer-based risk-return analysis, statistical analysis and qualitative research.
Savant stresses what it terms the “Evidence-Based Method” of management, in which the team strives to:
- Challenge conventional wisdom
- Ask meaningful questions
- Apply the evidence
- Monitor for effectiveness
The firm uses model portfolios based on asset allocation strategies that take into account risk tolerance and individual client objectives. For example, a client may choose a portfolio that focuses on social and sustainability issues.
Model portfolios typically include mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) across a broad set of equity, fixed income and alternative asset classes. In some cases the firm may use individual fixed-income securities and private placement funds, or use options strategies.
Fees Savant Wealth Management charges for its services
Savant Wealth Management bases its fee structure on the services provided. Note that in addition to the fees clients pay to the firm, clients may also have to cover third-party fees, such as third-party advisory fees or other investment-related costs.
- Comprehensive wealth management: Fees for comprehensive wealth management, which includes financial planning services, range from 0.50% to 1.00% of assets under management. A minimum annual fee of $10,000 per account is required. This means clients who hold less than $1 million with the firm will pay more than the annualized 1.00% rate.
- Asset management: The firm also charges clients based on a percentage of assets under management for standalone investment management. Rates depend on which program the client uses, and also the complexity of a client’s financial situation and their total account balance. Annual rates typically range from 0.75% to 1.25%.
- Financial planning: For standalone financial planning services, the typical fixed fee ranges from $250 to $5,000. The firm also provides financial consulting on specific topics, for which it charges an hourly rate. Hourly rates typically range from $100 to $500 per hour depending on the topic and who is providing the services.
- Digital advisory program: Those in the digital advisory program, in which Betterment acts as a sub-advisor, will pay a fee of 0.75% of assets under management to Savant Wealth Management as well as a sub-advisor fee of 0.25% on assets up to $2 million, and 0.15% on assets over that amount.
The firm also lays out separate fee schedules for its multitude of other services, including estate planning and wealth transfer; tax advisory and preparation; business succession planning; and medical practice accounting and business advisory services, among others. For more information on the firm’s full list of fees, consult the firm’s brochure.
Savant Wealth Management disciplinary disclosures
Savant Wealth Management does not have any disciplinary events to disclose in its Form ADV, a form all registered investment advisory firms must file with the SEC. Disciplinary disclosures include criminal charges and legal or regulatory action against the firm, its advisors or its affiliates from within the last 10 years.
For more information on the firm, visit Savant Capital Management’s IAPD page.
Savant Wealth Management onboarding process
- Contact the firm: Potential clients can get started with Savant Wealth Management by scheduling a free consultation with an advisor. You can do so by visiting the schedule an introductory call page on the firm’s website, or by calling your local office.
- Go through the ‘discovery’ stage: After your introductory call, you will go through the complimentary “discovery” stage. An advisor will tell you more about the firm and how it can help you, and get a better understanding of your values, goals, priorities and financial situation.
- Discuss financial scenarios: Next, the advisor will go through a range of financial scenarios you might face, and will discuss how Savant’s estate planning and tax advisory services might also help you.
- Get a summary: From there, the advisor will provide an overview of your situation and a summary of how they can help you.
- Receive regular updates: Once you are on board, Savant Wealth Management will provide written reports on a quarterly basis.
Where Savant Wealth Management is located
Savant Wealth Management has offices in the following locations:
- Rockford, Illinois
- Wilmette, Illinois
- Freeport, Illinois
- St. Charles, Illinois
- Peoria, Illinois
- Sterling, Illinois
- Downers Grove, Illinois
- Naperville, Illinois
- Hoffman Estates, Illinois
- Lincolnshire, Illinois
- Bloomington, Illinois
- Chicago (2)
- Park Falls, Wisconsin
- Madison, Wisconsin
- McLean, Virginia
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Plymouth, Michigan
Is Savant Wealth Management right for you?
Savant Wealth Management could be a good choice for you if you want independent, fee-only financial advice and investment management brought to you by a dedicated team with an evidence-based focus.
However, investors who don’t have assets of over $300,000 to invest — or $1 million if they don’t want to pay a higher fee for asset management — might be better served by a different firm.
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.