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Cerity Partners, LLC is a registered investment advisory firm that provides investment management, financial planning, tax preparation and planning and other services for couples, family offices and business owners. It caters largely to high net worth investors, although it does count non-high net worth individuals and various institutional investors as clients.
The bottom line: Cerity Partners is a New York-based wealth management firm that offers services targeted towards high net worth individuals.
|Assets under management: $26,709,486,918|
|Minimum investment: Typically $2 million|
|Individual investor to advisor ratio: 29:1|
|Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, fixed fees, hourly charges, performance-based fees|
|Headquarters: 335 Madison Avenue, 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10017
All information included in this profile is accurate as of August 17, 2021. For more information, please consult Cerity Partners’ website.
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Cerity Partners is a private-equity backed, full-service wealth management firm headquartered in New York City. Current firm president Kurt Miscinski co-founded Cerity Partners — then called HPM Partners — in 2009, with backing from Emigrant Bank and its chairman Howard P. Milstein.
In 2018, the private equity firm Lightyear Capital purchased Emigrant Bank’s majority stake in the wealth management firm, and the following year HPM Partners changed its name to Cerity Partners. In recent years, the firm has grown quickly via acquisitions.
Cerity Partners now has close to 250 employees, over 120 of whom serve in investment advisory roles.
Co-founder Howard Milstein has impressive roots: He is the grandson of Morris Milstein, who founded the Circle Floor Company, and the son of luxury real estate magnate Paul Milstein. Howard now heads up Milstein Properties, as well as New York’s oldest savings bank, Emigrant. He is a leading figure in finance and economics, and is chairman of multiple philanthropic ventures.
Kurt Miscinski was a managing director and executive committee member at Deutsche Bank before co-founding Cerity Partners. Prior to his time at Deutsche Bank, he was the chief operating officer for Scudder Private Investment Counsel, an asset management division that served family offices, wealthy individuals and nonprofits.
The firm typically requires a minimum portfolio balance of $2 million, but it counts both individuals and high net worth individuals as clients, with its current individual client base fairly evenly divided between the two groups. (For reference, the SEC defines a high net worth individual as someone with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth believed to be at least $1.5 million).
That said, Cerity Partners’ website and brochure also focus on high net worth individuals when outlining its services, and the firm’s $20,000 minimum annual fee may also generally leave out those with less to invest. Still, the firm does also note that it may waive its minimums at its discretion.
Cerity Partners offers a breadth of services to the individuals investors it serves, who include corporate executives, family offices, business owners and couples.
Cerity Partners is a full-service firm, offering investment advisory services, wealth planning, tax preparation and planning, executive financial counseling and retirement plan services. The firm takes a holistic approach to financial planning, examining a client’s entire financial picture and goals to create an individualized plan and a customized investment strategy that complements it.
Here is a full list of services the firm can provide:
Cerity Partners uses modern portfolio theory, which focuses more on asset allocation than on individual investments, to craft individualized portfolios for its clients. Portfolios are created based on an investment profile — ranging from conservative to aggressive — created for each client.
Client portfolios can contain a mix of asset classes and sub-asset classes, including:
In addition, the firm offers a supplemental Special Opportunities strategy, which may include frequent trading to take advantage of time-sensitive, short-term opportunities in stocks, business development companies and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), including macroeconomic opportunities, market technical opportunities and stock-specific opportunities.
Cerity Partner’s fee for its wealth management services for high net worth clients generally begins at 1.50% of assets under management, with a minimum annual fee of $20,000 typically required. This fee includes all of the Cerity Partners’ services, though occasionally the firm also charges a fixed retainer for financial planning, taxes or other services, depending on the extent of the services provided.
Clients will be separately responsible for third-party charges, such as transaction fees via custodians or brokers. Those who participate in other programs offered by the firm may also be subject to additional fees.
In some cases, Cerity Partners will charge performance-based fees as well. Those fees reflect individual negotiations with the clients who will pay them.
Cerity Partners does not have any disciplinary disclosures on its record. All registered investment advisors must disclose any civil, regulatory or criminal events related to the firm, its employees or its affiliates in its Form ADV, paperwork filed with the SEC.
For more information on the firm, you can go to its IAPD page.
Cerity Partners has offices in the following locations:
Cerity Partners may be a good choice for you if you have at least $2 million to invest and want additional services, such as estate and gift planning or tax preparation. Business owners, multi-generational family offices and couples in transition may also benefit from the expertise that Cerity Partners has working with clients like them.
Those with lower account balances may be better served by another firm, although the firm does currently have a roster that includes slightly more non-high net worth investors than high net worth individuals. That said, the firm’s typical $20,000 minimum annual fee may mean you are paying relatively high fees for a balance under $2 million.
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.