Review of Tiedemann Advisors

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Updated on Thursday, June 18, 2020

Tiedemann Advisors and its affiliated brands focus on investment management, wealth planning, trusts and estates and impact investing for wealthy individuals and families, as well as other entities including foundations and endowments. With nine offices around the country, the firm has an investment advisory team of nearly 80 who oversee more than $17 billion in assets under management (AUM). The firm is independently owned and operates on a fee-only basis, meaning it has no financial incentive to push affiliated products or services.

All information included in this profile is accurate as of June 18, 2020. For more information, please consult Tiedemann Advisors’ website.

Assets under management: $17,318,958,800
Minimum investment: No across-the-board threshold, though generally caters to wealthy investors
Fee structure: Typically a percentage of AUM; fixed fees
Headquarters location: 520 Madison Avenue, 26th Floor
New York, NY 10022
tiedemannadvisors.com
(212) 396-5900

financial advisor

Overview of Tiedemann Advisors

Tiedemann Advisors LLC, a subsidiary of Tiedemann Wealth Management Holdings LLC, is a privately owned wealth management firm that caters to the wealthy. The late Carl Tiedemann spent decades on Wall Street in the research, investment banking and hedge fund businesses but found himself unsatisfied with the services available at the time to manage his own family money.

Thus, in 1999, Tiedemann teamed up with his son Michael and Craig Smith, a trust and estates attorney turned wealth advisor, to launch the eponymous firm. It was originally founded as a trust company and later rebranded into a wealth management firm. The founders’ aim was to invest client money with outside independent managers, instead of peddling their own products or proprietary funds. In 2016 and 2017, respectively, the firm combined with Presidio Capital Advisors and Threshold Group, which increased its footprint as well as its expertise around impact investing and multi-generational families.

Today, Tiedemann Advisors has a staff of nearly 80 investment advisory and research employees across nine offices, including its New York headquarters, as well as in Dallas, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Aspen, Colo., Wilmington, Del., Palm Beach, Fla. and the Washington, D.C. metro area. The team includes specialists in law, trusts, accounting and taxes.

What types of clients does Tiedemann Advisors serve?

Tiedemann Advisors works with high net worth individuals and families, which the SEC generally defines as investors with at least $750,000 in assets under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million. It does not currently serve any clients who do not meet this definition.

Tiedemann’s client list also includes foundations, charitable organizations, trusts, endowments and other business or family-related entities. In addition, the team provides advice to private investment funds, which are only available to Tiedemann clients. The minimum needed to invest in those funds varies, but the requirement can be waived or modified by the managers.

Services offered by Tiedemann Advisors

Wealthy clients can enlist Tiedemann Advisors for comprehensive wealth management services, which includes managing their investments and planning their financial lives, including their estate, philanthropy, tax, insurance, succession and cash needs. For clients who want their money to work toward specific causes close to their heart, they can find a broad list of impact investing options, including women entrepreneurship and community-based lending.

The firm generally handles client investment accounts through a discretionary relationship, meaning clients turn over the day-to-day decision making and control of their accounts to the firm and do not sign off on every trade. However, more than a fifth of the firm’s assets under management fall under non-discretionary management, where the client maintains control.

In addition to the above services, Tiedemann provides some services to family offices, including administrative tasks like paying bills, although additional charges may apply.

Here is a full list of services offered:

  • Investment advisory services/portfolio management (separately managed accounts; discretionary and non-discretionary)
  • Financial planning
    • Charitable planning
    • Succession planning
    • Tax planning and management
    • Liquidity planning
    • Insurance/risk management
  • Trusts and estates (administered through the affiliated Delaware Trust Company)
  • Family office services

How Tiedemann Advisors invests your money

As an independent firm, unaffiliated with any big banks or brokerages, the firm has flexibility around its recommended investments. It uses a “manager-of-managers” approach, meaning client money is generally placed with outside managers that the firm sources and monitors. These unaffiliated managers include investment advisors, portfolio managers and investment funds, such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that invest globally across all asset classes. Investments can be made directly with these outside managers, or indirectly through commingled funds managed by Tiedemann.

In addition, advisors can also directly buy individual securities for an account, as well as use options and derivatives. They also may recommend including real estate, private equity or other alternative investments, and can incorporate any existing alternatives already owned into client financial plans.

Advisors tailor their recommendations based on the client’s goals, needs and risk tolerance. When starting a relationship, advisors will help clients determine goals and objectives and create a formal investment policy statement that reflects their individual situation. Clients interested in impact investing can choose from one of three available portfolio-building approaches: values-aligned strategies; environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies; and private impact strategies.

Fees Tiedemann Advisors charges for its services

Clients generally pay an advisory fee calculated as a percentage of assets under management. The fee varies based on a number of factors, including how much money the client invests, the asset classes in which they invest and the strategies being used. The maximum asset-based fee paid to the firm is 1.25%; financial planning is included in that fee.

In addition to this advisory fee paid to Tiedemann, clients also owe fees to the third-party managers used. Clients are also responsible for custodian and brokerage fees, as well as other internal fees for underlying investments, such as mutual fund or ETF fees.

The fees are typically paid quarterly and can be deducted from client accounts.

Tiedemann Advisors’ highlights

  • Fee-only: The firm is typically compensated through an annual fee based on the amount of money the client invests, rather than the specific products sold, which is known as a fee-only model. Thus, advisors are not financially incentivized to recommend one investment over another.
  • Flexible services: Clients can choose how involved they want to be in investing their wealth, since they have the option of discretionary or non-discretionary management. One of the frustrations of the late Carl Tiedemann when he founded the firm was a lack of services available for families who wanted a say in how their wealth was invested.
  • Options to make an impact: The list of investment possibilities at the firm that focus on a specific cause is broader than most: social, environmental, workplace diversity, women entrepreneurship, affordable housing, community based lending, education and more.
  • Industry accolades: Tiedemann has earned many “Best Of” designations from authoritative sources. It has ranked among the top private registered investment advisors in the country on the coveted Barron’s list for 2019. This year, it earned the Best Outsourced CIO, as well as the Best Multi-Family Office with more than $15 billion in assets under management, from the 2020 Family Wealth Report awards. The firm also earned the Best Estate Planning Advisory Service in the industry award, known as the Private Asset Management Awards (PAM), in 2020.
  • Family office services: Certain administrative tasks can be provided for an additional fee, such as paying bills.
  • Clean disciplinary record: The firm discloses no criminal, civil or regulatory issues over the last 10 years.

Tiedemann Advisors’ downsides

  • Caters to the ultra wealthy: Tiedemann focuses on serving high net worth clients — investors with smaller nest eggs will need to look elsewhere.
  • Limited geographic footprint: The firm has only nine offices around the country (although it can work with clients in more than nine states). Clients looking for a nearby, in-person relationship will need to look elsewhere if they do not reside near one of the firm’s offices.
  • No published fee schedule: The firm does not print a standardized fee schedule, so quickly assessing your costs without shopping advisors is difficult. The firm does state that the maximum annual advisory fee a client will pay the firm is 1.25%. Keep in mind that if the fee does approach 1.25%, many other firms charge less than 1% for clients as their portfolios climb into the millions, according to an industry study by RIA in a Box.

Tiedemann Advisors disciplinary disclosures

The SEC requires all registered investment advisors to disclose in their Form ADV any legal or disciplinary actions including criminal, civil or regulatory issues that may be material to a client evaluating the advisor or the integrity of its management team. Tiedemann discloses no such events over the last 10 years, meaning it has a clean disciplinary track record.

Tiedemann Advisors onboarding process

Potential clients can reach out directly to one of Tiedemann Advisors’ nine offices or fill out the Get In Touch With Us form provided on the firm’s website.

If they decide to move forward, clients typically custody their assets with Fidelity or Charles Schwab, but can choose another custodian if they prefer. Clients can expect to receive monthly or quarterly reports from their custodians. Tiedemann reviews client accounts each month.

Is Tiedemann Advisors right for you?

Tiedemann Advisors targets a niche clientele: high net worth individuals, families, institutions or businesses. Wealthy investors looking for financial planning, investment management and trust and estate services grouped together in one place could consider the firm. Philanthropists particularly interested in using their investments to contribute to certain causes close to their hearts, such as diversity or the environment, should inquire about the firm’s impact investing resources. Clients worried about potential conflicts of interest with advisors may appreciate that the firm is independently owned and earns money through a transparent annual fee.

That said, clients with more modest net worths will need to look elsewhere, as will investors who want an in-person relationship with their advisor but do not live near one of Tiedemann Advisors’ nine offices. Whenever you’re shopping for a financial advisor, you want to research at least a few firms and advisors to make sure you land with the option best suited for your individual situation.

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