Churchill Management Group Review 2023 - MagnifyMoney
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Churchill Management Group Review

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Based in Los Angeles, Churchill Management Group has acquired decades of experience managing clients’ investments since its founding in the early 1960s. Not only does this sizable advisory firm offer investment management and financial planning, but Churchill may help you access private investment funds and invest in real estate through limited partnerships.

Churchill Management Group might be best suited for:

  • Clients looking for multiple coordinated investment strategies, including tactical management
  • Investors seeking exposure to real estate or private funds

All information included in this profile is accurate as of Sept. 28, 2022. For more information, please consult Churchill Management Group’s website.

Firm overview

Churchill Management Group prides itself on the wisdom it has gained navigating a wide range of financial markets since opening its doors in 1963. Today, the firm’s team of over 40 advisors manages nearly $8 billion in assets for roughly 6,000 individual clients.

Founder Fred Fern remains Churchill’s CEO and chairman of the board. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records indicate that a trust controlled by president Randy C. Conner acquired a majority stake in the business in August 2022.

Though the firm is headquartered in Los Angeles, you won’t need to call SoCal home to become a client. The firm has advisory teams assigned to every region of the country and offers dozens of satellite offices across 28 states and the District of Columbia for your convenience.

Churchill Management Group’s ideal clients

While the firm works with clients across the wealth spectrum, its ideal clients likely include:

  • Affluent investors. The firm prefers clients with at least $750,000 to invest.
  • Investors who understand market cycles. The firm seeks to identify cycles and pick the best investments for them.

Churchill Management Group’s fees

Unlike some of the firms we come across, Churchill doesn’t charge flat or fixed fees for financial planning. Instead, you’ll pay an assets under management (AUM) fee for investment management and financial planning.

Your AUM fee varies depending on your ideal portfolio strategy. The firm calculates fees for eight of its nine equity strategies using this tiered schedule:

Churchill Management Group AUM fees by account size

Churchill Management Group AUM fees by account size
Under $2.5 million1%
Next $2.5 million0.80%
Next $5 million0.70%
Over $10 million0.60%

However, the firm’s Maximum Growth Tactical Strategy is the one outlier. You’ll pay a flat rate of 1.25% on all assets invested in this strategy.

For example, suppose you invest $2.5 million with the firm — $500,000 in the Maximum Growth Tactical Strategy and $2 million in another strategy above. In that case, you’d pay $6,250 and $20,000 for a total annual asset-based fee of $26,250.

Lastly, please note that Churchill charges a $1,000 fee if you close your account within six months of opening it. Therefore, we recommend doing some additional due diligence to ensure Churchill is the best fit for your business.

Services offered

Churchill Management Group specializes in investment management and basic financial planning services.

While the firm can analyze your tax exposure or estate plan, Churchill doesn’t specifically provide advice on these two important areas. Ultra-high net worth clients and others seeking these specific services may need to look elsewhere for a firm offering more comprehensive wealth management services.

Some of the services Churchill offers include

  • Wealth management
  • Retirement planning
  • Net worth analysis
  • Insurance needs analysis
  • Education savings planning
  • Social Security analysis

Churchill Management Group’s pros and cons

Pros

Cons

  • No family office services
  • Lacks ESG strategies
  • Doesn’t offer tax, insurance or estate planning advice

Investment strategy

While many firms use cliches or offer little to no detail on how they’ll invest your assets, it’s refreshing to see Churchill’s transparency surrounding its investment strategy throughout its website and marketing materials.

The firm has a pool of proprietary strategies that it separates into two categories: tactical and fully invested. However, you won’t be limited to one or the other. The firm can build your portfolio using a combination of the two strategies and manage your assets on a discretionary basis.

Tactical strategies

When you invest in one of Churchill’s four active tactical strategies, your advisor moves your assets out of equities and into cash or cash equivalents during times of heightened risk. This general approach seeks to generate wealth when market conditions are strong and preserve it when economic headwinds tend to increase risk.

For example, the Premier Wealth Tactical approach allocates your assets among stocks, American Depository Receipts (ADRs), exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds. Your advisor will increase your equity exposure when strong market conditions exist but shift exposure toward fixed-income investments or cash equivalents when equities markets trend downward.

Meanwhile, the firm’s Maximum Growth Tactical strategy seeks long-term growth investments during bull markets and short-term trading opportunities during extended bear markets.

Fully invested strategies

If you’re less concerned with capital preservation or have a higher risk tolerance, you may opt for one of Churchill’s fully invested strategies to maximize your long-term gains. All four strategies keep you invested in equities at all times.

The firm’s Equity Growth and Value strategy targets individual stocks within various sectors of the S&P 500 that outperform during certain market cycles. The firm generally holds these stocks for more than a year to minimize your short-term capital gains.

The firm’s Equity Dividend Income strategy may be appealing if you’re an income investor. When using this strategy, the firm will buy stocks that pay higher dividends than the S&P 500 average.

Private funds and real estate

If you have $1 million to invest, the firm may recommend one of the private investment funds it manages. These funds, known as Chartwell Family Funds, are typically more aggressive than the firm’s Premier Wealth Tactical strategy. However, we wish Churchill would share more details about these funds’ underlying investments and processes.

As with many private funds, investors become limited partners of Chartwell and are subject to monthly management fees between 0.07% to 0.09% (or 0.84% to 1.08% per year) — which are above and beyond your AUM fee with Churchill.

However, Churchill’s access to real estate investments is another reason this firm stands out. Your advisor may recommend limited partnerships in shopping centers, office buildings and other retail venues. However, be aware that Fern — the firm’s founder — also owns an affiliated real estate company that receives property management fees, leasing commissions and construction fees from the firm’s proprietary real estate limited partnerships.

Disciplinary disclosures

None reported in the past 10 years.

Locations

  • Alpharetta, Ga.
  • Austin, Texas
  • Beachwood, Ohio
  • Beavercreek, Ohio
  • Beaverton, Ore.
  • Birmingham, Ala.
  • Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
  • Bluffton, S.C.
  • Boca Raton, Fla.
  • Boston
  • Cary, N.C.
  • Charlotte, N.C.
  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Eagen, Minn.
  • Henderson, Nev.
  • Houston
  • Indianapolis
  • Irvine, Calif.
  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Kansas City, Mo.
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Louisville, Ky.
  • Melville, N.Y.
  • Milwaukee
  • Mission Viejo, Calif.
  • Naples, Fla.
  • Nashville, Tenn.
  • New York
  • North Tustin, Calif.
  • Palm Desert, Calif.
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Richmond, Va.
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Sarasota, Fla.
  • Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Seattle
  • Short Hills, N.J.
  • South Bend, Ind.
  • St. Louis
  • Tampa, Fla.
  • Vancouver, Wash.
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Westerville, Ohio
  • Westport, Conn.
  • Windermere, Fla.

Is Churchill Management Group right for you?

Churchill Management Group may be a contender if you’re looking for a firm with deep experience building and managing investment portfolios through various market cycles. While it lacks some standard wealth management capabilities like family office services, you’ll still likely find an array of holistic and highly coordinated strategies to optimize your financial life.

But, even if Churchill isn’t the right fit, your search doesn’t have to end here. Let MagnifyMoney help you find a firm that may better suit your needs.

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