Review of Thornburg Investment Management

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Updated on Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Thornburg Investment Management is an investment firm based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It offers a lineup of equity, fixed-income and alternative mutual funds for individuals, which are available exclusively through financial advisors. In addition, Thornburg provides portfolio management services for individual and institutional investors. It does not offer traditional financial planning services.

The bottom line: Thornburg Investment Management is an investment manager that offers a range of active strategies for individuals and institutions but does not provide traditional financial planning.

  • Numerous investment strategies available
  • Portfolio managers stress a collaborative approach
  • Rigorous ESG screening used for investments
Assets under management: $43,583,549,685
Minimum investment: Varies by account and strategy used
Individual investor to advisor ratio: 17:1
Fee structure: A percentage of AUM
Headquarters: 2300 North Ridgetop Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87506
Website: https://www.thornburg.com/
Phone: 800-533-9337

All information included in this profile is accurate as of July 22, 2021. For more information, please consult Thornburg Investment Management’s website.

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Overview of Thornburg Investment Management

Thornburg Investment Management got its start in 1982 with municipal bond funds. In fact, Thornburg only launched its first stock fund in 1995, and waited another three years to open its second. Today, Thornburg Investment Trust, a client of Thornburg Investment Management, has a lineup of publicly available mutual funds covering domestic, global and international equity, as well as taxable and tax-exempt bond funds. The firm also offers separately managed accounts and institutional strategies.

Thornburg has nearly 200 employees, nearly 30 of whom perform investment advisory functions.

A look at the founder of Thornburg Investment Management

Garrett Thornburg is the founder of Thornburg Investment Management. He is currently the firm’s chairman and owns 100% of the firm’s voting shares.

Prior to founding the firm, Thornburg served as a limited partner at global investment bank Bear Stearns & Co., where he was a founding member of the firm’s public finance department. He also served as chief financial officer of New York State’s Urban Development Corporation and a financial advisor to the State of New Mexico’s Board of Finance.

Thornburg Investment Management’s pros

  • Municipal bond expertise: Thornburg has set itself apart with its emphasis on municipal bond investing as a key part of its strategy since its inception, so there is a potential advantage for investors hoping to maximize their tax strategy through municipal bonds.
  • Focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments: Thornburg is focused heavily on investing through a socially conscious lens, which is becoming increasingly important to many investors, both individual and institutional. In an RIA Intel interview with CEO Jason Brady, it was noted that the firm’s ESG screening for all investments is rigorous.
  • Portfolio managers are also research analysts: Portfolio managers work in deep collaboration with each other, and are also research analysts who can work on the discovery of new investment strategies.

Thornburg Investment Management’s cons

  • No financial planning services: Thornburg does not offer traditional financial planning services. People who want to receive financial planning alongside portfolio management will not be able to find those services through Thornburg.
  • Above-average fees for some mutual funds: Individual investors in Thornburg’s mutual funds may pay above-average fees, depending on which fund they choose. Fund research firm Morningstar, for example, has an “above average” to “high” rating for several Thornburg funds, including Thornburg Small/Mid-Cap Core A, Thornburg International Equity A and Thornburg Global Opportunities I.
  • Some performance-based fees: Thornburg does not charge performance-based fees to most clients, but it does note on its Form ADV that certain private investment funds managed by the firm do charge performance fees. When Thornburg charges a performance-based fee, it has an incentive to maximize gains in that account (and, therefore, maximize its performance-based fee), and it could make investments for that account that are riskier or more speculative in an attempt to do so. Thornburg also has an incentive to favor accounts for which it charges a performance-based fee over other types of client accounts, by allocating more profitable investments to performance-based fee accounts or by devoting more resources toward the management of those accounts.

What types of clients does Thornburg Investment Management serve?

Individual clients can access Thornburg’s investments through mutual funds, separately managed accounts and wrap programs. Minimum investment requirements vary by offering:

  • Separately managed accounts: Private client separate accounts have minimums between $100,000 and $500,000 for a Private Client Equity Separate Account, and between $1 million to $25 million for Private Client Fixed Income Separate Account. However, the firm notes that it can waive minimums at its discretion.
  • Wrap programs: Each wrap program sponsor has its own minimum account size, which typically ranges from $100,000 to $500,000 for equity accounts and from $1 million to $25 million for fixed-income accounts. Thornburg has the discretion to waive account minimums.

For institutional separate accounts, minimums range from $1 million to $50 million, depending on the investment strategy.

Services offered by Thornburg Investment Management

Thornburg Investment Management provides investment services covering a broad range of strategies, including municipal bond, taxable bond, domestic stock and international stock categories. The firm provides these investment strategies for its mutual funds, separately managed accounts and investment services for institutions and government entities.

Additionally, Thornburg participates in third-party wrap programs in which investors of some brokerage firms can choose to invest in a mutual fund from a select list for a reduced sales charge. Investors in third-party wrap programs do not pay fees directly to Thornburg. The sponsor pays Thornburg’s fee from the wrap fee paid by investors.

Here is a complete list of the services offered by the firm:

  • Mutual funds
  • Separately managed accounts for individuals
  • Portfolio management for institutional clients
  • Wrap fee programs

How Thornburg Investment Management invests your money

Thornburg Investment Management takes an active approach to managing its equity and fixed-income mutual funds and strategies. These funds and strategies cover both domestic and international markets. In addition, Thornburg has a sizable lineup of tax-exempt funds.

For equity funds, Thornburg employs a bottom-up style, with analysts and portfolio managers constructing the portfolio on a stock-by-stock basis rather than relying on macro calls on sectors, economies or interest rates. Thornburg considers itself a long-term, value-driven investor and likes to keep turnover low. Managers also act as research analysts, and seek out securities that are well-priced relative to the stock’s long-term prospects. Additionally, the firm takes an ESG lens to all investment choices, considering whether it meets standards.

A hallmark of Thornburg’s fixed-income strategy is the bond ladder, which calls for buying bonds at staggered maturities along a “ladder,” so a portion of the portfolio’s assets matures each year. This strategy helps to reduce interest rate and investment risk.

Fees Thornburg Investment Management charges for its services

Private client and institutional client separate account fees: Thornburg generally charges a fee based on a percentage of assets under management for its institutional and private client separate accounts. The fees charged to separate accounts are negotiable and will vary depending on the type of client, the amount of assets under management and whether the client chooses to place restrictions on Thornburg’s discretionary investing authority.

The firm may charge a limited amount of performance-based fees as well, though this fee only applies only to institutional separate account clients and to certain private funds managed by the firm. Performance-based fees are charged when the portfolio manager produces positive returns.

Note that investors participating in institutional or private client programs pay less due to higher initial minimum investment requirements. Rates do not include additional investment-related charges that clients may pay, such as custodial fees, third-party money manager fees, brokerage and exchange fees and fees for certain trades.

Wrap program fees: Clients in Thornburg Investment Management’s wrap programs pay the program’s sponsor an annual fee, typically from 1% to 3% of assets under management. Thornburg receives an annual fee ranging from 0.30% to 0.75% of the assets it manages, depending on the size of the wrap program and the investment strategy. The exact rate will depend on factors including the size of the wrap program and the investment strategies offered.

Wrap program fees generally cover all brokerage commissions on executed trades, though clients will pay additional fees when trades are made with broker-dealers other than the sponsor.

Mutual fund fees: Shareholders in Thornburg Investment Management’s mutual funds pay a percentage of their assets under management. Fees vary depending on the strategy.

Thornburg Investment Management disciplinary disclosures

Thornburg Investment Management reports one disciplinary event in its Form ADV paperwork filed with the SEC. The disclosure stems from allegations from a German regulatory authority, BaFin, that the firm failed to file three voting rights notifications with BaFin and issuers in a timely manner. According to Thornburg, it had filed the voting rights on time but with minor errors, and that by the time it refiled them with the needed corrections they were no longer timely. The firm settled the matter in 2017 by paying a fine of 100,000 euros (approximately $111,000).

For more information, visit Thornburg Investment Management’s IAPD page.

Thornburg Investment Management onboarding process

To learn more about working with Thornburg Investment Management, you can reach out in the following ways:

Thornburg mutual funds are available through financial intermediaries. You can contact your financial advisor if you want to invest in a Thornburg fund.

Once a client is onboarded, Thornburg will offer a quarterly portfolio report that may include:

  • Cash balances
  • Type, name and amount of each security
  • Portfolio weighting of each security
  • Account performance
  • Current market value of the portfolio
  • Transactions made during the report period

Where Thornburg Investment Management is located

Thornburg Investment Management lists just one location in the U.S., in Santa Fe, New Mexico. However, the firm has jurisdictions in all U.S. states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It has international offices in London, Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Is Thornburg Investment Management right for you?

Thornburg Investment Management offers a well-regarded lineup of mutual funds covering major asset classes. With its roots in municipal bond investing, Thornburg remains a leader in this corner of fixed-income investing, and its bond ladder strategy is another way Thornburg makes its mark.

The firm works with individual investors including high net worth individuals, as well as institutional investors. Prospective clients should be aware that the firm does not offer financial planning services. Additionally, clients should note that performance-based fees apply to certain private funds managed by the firm and that fees for certain funds may be above-average compared to comparable funds on Morningstar.

Before choosing a financial advisor, it’s always important to shop around and compare your options. Be sure to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right financial 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.