Review of TAG Associates

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Reviewed By

Updated on Friday, August 7, 2020

TAG Associates is a boutique independent investment advisory firm headquartered in New York City. The firm has 67 employees on staff and oversees more than $8.3 billion in assets under management (AUM). TAG Associates primarily caters to high net worth individuals and families, offering portfolio management and family office services. The firm also offers its services to institutional investors, such as trusts, estates, endowments, and pension and profit-sharing plans.

All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 7, 2020. For more information, please consult TAG Associates’ website.

Assets under management: $8,349,620,000
Minimum investment: No stated minimum investment, but requires a minimum annual fee of at least $100,000
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, fixed fees and performance-based fees
Headquarters: 810 Seventh Avenue
7th Floor
New York, NY 10019?5890
https://tagassoc.com/
(212) 275?1500

Overview of TAG Associates

Founded in 1983, TAG Associates is focused on serving the family office and investment needs of wealthy individuals. The independent investment advisory firm is privately owned by TAG Associates Holding LLC, which is owned by the firm’s current chairman. The firm operates out of New York City.

TAG Associates has 67 employees, 25 of whom perform investment advisory functions. The firm’s team manages close to 100 individual client accounts as well as a handful of pooled investment vehicles and pension and profit-sharing plans.

What types of clients does TAG Associates serve?

TAG Associates serves high net worth clients almost exclusively, aside from a small number of institutional clients. Per the SEC’s definition, a high net worth individual is someone who has at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. The firm does not currently serve any individual investors who do not meet this threshold. On its website, TAG Associates describes its typical clients as “successful entrepreneurs, corporate executives, endowments, foundations and multigenerational families.”

Though TAG Associates does not have a stated minimum investment requirement, it does list a minimum annual fee. Clients must pay a fee of at least $100,000 per year, which translates to a minimum account size of $10 million, according to the firm’s published fee schedules.

Services offered by TAG Associates

Clients of TAG Associates have the choice of standalone portfolio management or a comprehensive package of services.

For standalone portfolio management, TAG Associates acts as an overall portfolio manager. Advisors from the firm will evaluate a client’s financial situations and needs and discuss their investment goals and objectives to formulate an asset allocation strategy. Once that is determined, the firm will select and oversee investment managers and monitor the client’s strategies.

Comprehensive wealth management, or family office services, includes a broad range of services alongside portfolio management, including financial management, tax-related services, administrative and controllership services; and various financial planning services.

The following is a list of what services the firm offers:

  • Portfolio management
  • Family office services
    • Financial management
    • Administrative services
    • Tax planning
    • Philanthropic giving
    • Estate and trust services
    • Consolidated reporting

How TAG Associates invests your money

As a client of TAG Associates, your portfolio’s asset allocation will be determined based on your discussions about your financial situation with an advisor. This process includes taking inventory of existing assets, identifying goals, setting objectives, considering risk tolerance and gaining a clear understanding of cash flow needs.

TAG Associate’s investment philosophy includes active and passive portfolio management. Active portfolio management is where an investment manager makes decisions in an effort to outperform the market, while passive management attempts to match the performance of an index rather than beat it. The firm also touts using opportunistic and tactical ideas when investing, and aiming for absolute return, which means seeking a positive return regardless of market fluctuations. Tax impacts are taken into account as well as the potential of illiquid (less easily convertible to cash) investments to achieve a higher return.

The firm considers and uses separate accounts, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, alternative investments and direct investments when building client accounts. It specifically uses alternative investments in an attempt to generate additional return, smooth volatility, hedge risk and deliver better returns on investment through investing in assets that may not reflect true market value (read: inefficient markets).

Fees TAG Associates charges for its services

How TAG Associates charges clients for their services depends on whether the client opts for standalone portfolio management or comprehensive wealth management.

For comprehensive wealth management services, which includes portfolio management, tax-related services and/or financial planning, the minimum annual fee is $150,000. For some clients, a fixed fee is negotiated for all services, while others may pay an annual retainer plus an asset-based fee. Your rate and the manner in which your fees are calculated and charged is established in your written agreement with the firm.

Clients who engage the firm for standalone portfolio management services pay a fee that’s based on a percentage of assets under management; the minimum annual fee for this service is $100,000. Below is the firm’s fee schedule for standalone portfolio management clients, though note that rates may vary from what is stated and are subject to negotiation at the firm’s discretion.

TAG Associates Fee Schedule for Portfolio Management
Assets Under Management Annual Fee*
First $10 million 1.00%
Next $10 million 0.75%
Assets above $20 million 0.50%
*Minimum annual fee is $100,000.

Clients of both categories of service also are subject to additional investment fees, including investment advisory fees to investment managers, as well as brokerage costs and other related fees.

TAG Associates’ highlights

  • Offers a wide range of family office services: As a firm that was founded as a multi-family office, the mission of the firm is centered around serving those needs. TAG Associates also — by a huge majority — primarily serves high net worth individuals rather than institutional clients, which speaks to the firm’s focus.
  • Lower than industry average rates for portfolio management: TAG Associates’ annual fees for portfolio management are below 1.17%, the industry average according to a 2019 study by RIA in a Box. In comparison, TAG Associate’s highest rate is 1.00% and drops down to 0.50% for portfolios above $20 million. That being said, the firm does require a minimum annual fee of at least $100,000, making it suitable only for larger portfolios.
  • No disclosures: The firm has operated since 1983 and has not incurred a reportable disciplinary, legal or criminal action. See more information on this below.

TAG Associates’ downsides

  • High minimum annual fees: The firm doesn’t hide that it’s aimed at wealthy clients. However, rather than giving a minimum account size requirement, the firm offers minimum account fees that are exorbitantly high if one does not have at least $10 million to invest or extensive family office needs. For instance, the minimum annual fee for comprehensive wealth management is $150,000.
  • One active office location: As a New York-based institution, clients from the rest of the country might be better served with an investment advisory firm with offices in their area for ease of in-person meetings or communication.

TAG Associates disciplinary disclosures

TAG Associates does not have any disciplinary disclosures to report, meaning the firm has a clean record. Financial advisory firms registered with the SEC are required to report their disciplinary history — including any criminal, regulatory and civil actions related to the firm, its employees or its affiliates — on their Form ADV paperwork to provide transparency for prospective or current clients evaluating the firm.

TAG Associates onboarding process

Potential clients can contact TAG Associates through the contact form provided on its site, or by calling or emailing the director of business development whose contact information is listed on the site.

As a new client of TAG Associates, you’ll meet with an advisor to discuss your financial needs. This conversation typically includes taking inventory of your existing assets, identifying your financial goals, setting objectives and understanding your cash flow needs. Other considerations taken into account by your advisor include your risk tolerance and time horizon, as well as any constraints you might have, such as prohibiting investments in certain securities or industries. For comprehensive wealth management clients, the discussion might also include special needs, such as art inventory and property management services.

Both comprehensive wealth management clients and portfolio management clients receive monthly or quarterly reports. Comprehensive wealth management clients also receive balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements and tax projections as well as portfolio reporting.

Is TAG Associates right for you?

As a firm that was founded to serve the needs of wealthy individuals and families, clients who fit the bill — those who have significant wealth and are in need of comprehensive family office services and portfolio management — are the best match for TAG Associates. With a low client-to-advisory ratio and services that range from property management to tax planning, to bill paying (alongside the standard fare of financial planning and portfolio management), clients seeking a financial advisory firm as a one-stop-shop might be well-served here.

That said, TAG Associates operates out of New York City. Potential clients who wish to regularly visit their advisors in person but who aren’t East Coast-based might be better served by a financial advisory firm with an office in their area. The firm’s high minimum fees are also a potential drawback, as it eliminates potential clients who don’t have significant funds to invest.

Before choosing a financial advisor, it’s always important to ask questions to make sure you understand the costs involved and compare a few options to ensure you find the right fit for you.

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