Compass Financial Group Review - MagnifyMoney
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Compass Financial Group Review

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Compass Financial Group Inc. is a small, family-owned financial advisory business with one office, located in Sioux Falls, S.D. The firm employs four financial advisors (three of whom are related) and serves approximately 2,500 clients, most of whom are individuals. Compass Financial Group specializes in comprehensive portfolio management and referrals to third-party money managers, and currently holds $670 million in assets under management (AUM).

The bottom line: Compass Financial Group is a small, independently owned registered investment advisor (RIA) located in Sioux Falls, S.D.

  • Specializes in portfolio management and referrals to third-party money managers
  • Primarily serves individual investors
  • No minimum requirement to open or maintain an account

All information included in this profile is accurate as of October 12, 2021. For more information, please consult Compass Financial Group’s website.

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Overview of Compass Financial Group, Inc.

Compass Financial Group has been in business since 2011 in Sioux Falls, S.D., the site of its sole office location. John Haller, who serves as the firm’s president, owns 34% of the company, while partners Jesse Haller and Jasen Haller each own 33% of the firm.

All three serve as advisors at the firm and hold the designations certified financial planners (CFPs) and chartered financial consultants (ChFCs). John is also a chartered retirement planning counselor (CRPC) and a chartered life underwriter (CLU), while Jesse is also a retirement income certified professional (RICP). The firm employs one other investment advisor, Caleb Shives, a long-time family friend. All of the firm’s advisors hold life, accident and health insurance licenses.

Compass Financial Group’s pros

  • Personal touch: The firm is a small family-owned business that has served the community for decades. The team prefers to meet with clients face-to-face — this could appeal to those who want personal attention and the ability to develop a relationship with their advisor.
  • Easy entry point: There are no minimum investment requirements to open or maintain an account. This makes the firm accessible to those who might not have a ton of money to invest.
  • No disciplinary issues: In paperwork required by the SEC, the firm reports no disciplinary incidents. That means there have been no civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its employees or its affiliates in the past 10 years.

Compass Financial Group’s cons

  • Potential conflict of interest: The firm’s advisors are also registered insurance agents. Since they may earn commissions from selling insurance, there’s a potential conflict of interest as they may be financially incentivized to recommend insurance products to clients.
  • No set fee structure: While the firm charges fees based on a percentage of AUM, it doesn’t clearly define what that percentage is. Rather, the firm states that fees are negotiable, which could be a downside for those who don’t like to negotiate (or feel uncomfortable doing so) or want to know their costs ahead of meeting with an advisor.
  • Limited geographic footprint: While Compass may be a good choice for those in the Sioux Falls, S.D., metro area, that is the firm’s only physical office location. That being said, the firm is registered to serve clients in a handful of other states for those who aren’t concerned about meeting with their advisor face to face.

What types of clients does Compass Financial Group firm serve?

Compass Financial primarily serves individuals. A small portion of their clientele is made up of high net worth individuals (defined by the SEC as those with at least $750,000 managed by an advisor or a net worth of at least $1.5 million), and they also serve a handful of businesses.

There is no minimum account balance required for opening or maintaining an account with the firm.

Services offered by Compass Financial Group

The firm primarily offers comprehensive portfolio management and referrals to third-party money managers. Its services include the following:

  • Portfolio management
  • Financial planning
  • Pension consulting services
  • Insurance
  • Educational seminars/workshops

How Compass Financial Group invests your money

Compass Financial creates customized portfolios for clients after meeting with them to evaluate factors like their goals, current financial situation and risk tolerance. Alternatively, the firm may also refer clients to third-party money managers.

The investment portfolios proposed by the firm typically consist of the following investment types, among other securities:

  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Mutual funds
  • Individual stocks
  • Individual bonds

Compass also typically keeps at least a partial cash balance in client accounts to debit advisory fees. In general, it puts cash balances in the following:

  • Money market funds
  • FDIC-insured certificates of deposit (CDs)
  • High-grade commercial paper and/or government-backed debt instruments

Notably, the firm does not typically allow clients to restrict which types of securities are included in their account, as is the practice at some other firms.

Fees Compass Financial Group charges for its services

The firm charges clients based on a percentage of assets under management. However, it does not disclose specific rates — it instead states that fees are “as negotiated.” Clients are billed quarterly in advance based on the value of their account on the last day of the previous quarter.

Other fees may be charged by various funds, but the firm doesn’t receive any portion of those fees. Whether or not clients are subject to transaction costs per transaction will depend on their participation in a wrap fee program. Wrap fee programs bundle all costs into one rate— as such, those who are not in a wrap fee program will be charged per transaction.

Compass Financial Group disciplinary disclosures

The firm reports no disciplinary disclosures on its Form ADV. As a registered investment advisor, the firm is required by the SEC to disclose any disciplinary incidents, which includes civil, regulatory or criminal actions against the firm, its employees or its affiliates over the last 10 years, that may be material to a client evaluating the firm or the integrity of its management team.

For more information on the firm, visit its IAPD page.

Compass Financial Group onboarding process

  1. Meet with the firm: Compass Financial starts by meeting with clients at least once: Preferably this will be in person, but if that’s not possible, they will hold a telephone conference. During this meeting, the advisor will evaluate factors including the client’s current financial situation, goals and tolerance for risk.
  2. Get a portfolio proposal: Based on the information garnered at the meeting, the advisor will provide a proposed investment portfolio. In some cases, the firm refers clients to third-party money managers.
  3. Decide whether to move forward: If the client agrees to the portfolio proposal, they will then work to establish or transfer their investment accounts.
  4. Get regular account reviews: Once established, accounts are reviewed at least once a year.

Where Compass Financial Group is located

The firm has just one office, located in Sioux Falls, S.D.

However, the firm is registered to serve clients in several states beyond South Dakota. Specifically, Compass Financial Group can work with investors in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota and Texas, alongside South Dakota.

Is Compass Financial Group right for you?

If you live in or near Sioux Falls, S.D., and are looking for a financial advisor, Compass Financial Group could be worth a look. The family-owned business is small and conducts meetings in person, which is great if you want a personal touch. It also may be a good choice for those who don’t have a huge amount of money to invest, as there is no account balance required to open or maintain an account.

If you live outside the Sioux Falls area and want to meet with your advisor in person, you may want to look elsewhere. The firm also may come up short for those who want all of the resources and expanded offerings of larger, national firms with many offices, as Compass Financial Group is just a four-person team.

Before choosing an advisor, make sure you do thorough research to help make sure you find an advisor who is right 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.