Mariner Wealth Advisors Review 2023 - MagnifyMoney
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Mariner Wealth Advisors Review

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Mariner Wealth Advisors is an investment advisor that also offers financial planning, business consulting, tax preparation and other services. The firm is headquartered in Overland Park, Kan., but has a number of additional locations throughout the country. The firm caters largely to non-high net worth individuals, and offers customized portfolios based on each client’s unique needs.

The bottom line: Mariner Wealth Advisors is a portfolio management and financial planning firm with a wide range of investment choices.

  • Includes alternative investment options
  • Offers a robo-advisor program
  • Fees may be on the high side

All information included in this profile is accurate as of May 23, 2022. For more information, please consult Mariner Wealth Advisors’ website.

Overview of Mariner Wealth Advisors

The firm was founded in 2006 and offers portfolio management and financial planning services to individuals, high net worth individuals and other clients. The firm is wholly owned by Mariner Wealth Advisors, LLC, which is in turn wholly owned and managed by 1248 Holdings, LLC, a family-owned private investment company formerly known as Bicknell Family Holding Company, LLC.

Mariner Wealth Advisors has approximately 900 employees, of which almost 500 perform investment advisory services. Many of the firm’s advisors — especially those in leadership positions —have financial certifications such as the certified financial planner (CFP), chartered financial analyst (CFA) and certified personal accountant (CPA) designations.

A look at the founder

Marty Bicknell founded the firm in 2006 along with seven other colleagues. The founders’ goal was to improve the client experience by offering multiple financial services in one location.

Bicknell continues to serve as the firm’s CEO. In 2016, Bicknell was named one of the top 25 most influential people in the investment/financial industry by Investment Advisor magazine. He was on the Kansas City Business Journal’s Power 100 List from 2014 to 2019.

Mariner Wealth Advisors’ pros

  • Customized portfolios: The firm customizes its portfolio recommendations for each client based on their unique goals, risk tolerance and investment preferences. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.
  • Large geographic footprint: This firm has physical offices across several states, so there is ample opportunity for clients to have face-to-face interactions with advisors if that is what they prefer.
  • Robo-advisor option for clients with fewer assets: Clients with less money than the typical $100,000 minimum for managed accounts have the option to open an account for just $5,000 through the firm’s Institutional Intelligent Portfolios program.

Mariner Wealth Advisors’ cons

  • Potentially high fees: Mariner’s fees can be as high as 2.50% of assets under management (AUM), higher than the industry average.
  • Fee-related conflict of interest: Advisors at the firm may have an incentive to recommend products and investments that generate higher revenue for the firm. Some representatives of the firm are also licensed insurance agents and are compensated for the sale of such products.
  • Disciplinary disclosures: Mariner Wealth Advisor reports disciplinary disclosures for two of its employees on its Form ADV. Learn more below.

Types of clients

The firm works primarily with individual investors who do not have a high net worth. High net worth individuals are defined as those who have invested at least $750,000 with an advisor or have a net worth over $1.5 million, per the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

It takes a minimum investment of $100,000 to launch a managed account, where the firm designs a custom portfolio. An automated investment platform offered by the firm called Institutional Intelligent Portfolios is available to clients with less than $100,000.

Services offered

Mariner Wealth Advisors provides investment advice and portfolio management for clients. The firm usually works in a discretionary fashion, meaning its advisors can make trades on behalf of a client. However, the advisors can accept restrictions and limitations depending on the client’s goals.

For clients with at least $100,000, the firm runs a managed account program where it builds customized portfolios of equity and fixed-income investments. For clients with less than $100,000, they offer a robo-advisor.

Additionally, Mariner Wealth Advisors offers financial planning, tax preparation, retirement plan consulting and family office services. To expand its offerings, they allow clients to sign up with third parties to access a wider range of investments.

Here is a full list of services that the firm offers its clients:

  • Investment advisory services/portfolio management
  • Financial planning
    • Trust and estate planning
    • Insurance planning
    • Education planning
    • Tax consulting and preparation
    • Divorce planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Business planning
    • IRA and 401(k) rollovers
  • Robo-advisor
  • Retirement plan consulting and management services
  • Selection of other advisors
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Newsletters and publications

Investment strategy

Mariner Wealth Advisors doesn’t offer standardized portfolios for everyone. Instead, the firm customizes its investment recommendations based on each client’s goals, risk tolerance, timeline and other factors. In general, portfolios typically contain a diverse mix of assets including:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Exchange-traded notes (ETNs)
  • Mutual funds
  • Closed-end funds
  • Private pooled investment vehicles
  • Structured notes
  • Managed futures
  • Master Limited Partnerships
  • Real estate investment trusts (REITs)

The firm’s portfolio recommendations tend to have a long-term focus for goals of at least a year, but they can design shorter-term plans depending on a client’s needs. The firm is open to both active and passive strategies, and its brochure lists a range of possibilities depending on the type of portfolio. For instance, the firm may use options strategies.

For stock-focused portfolios, the firm’s primary goal is usually capital appreciation, and can also include dividend-focused strategies, GARP (growth at a reasonable price) and socially conscious investing as secondary goals. For bond fixed-income portfolios, the firm’s top priority is capital preservation followed by secondary goals of capital appreciation and steady, tax-efficient revenue.

Mariner Wealth Advisors has an Investment Committee led by its chief investment officer, overseeing this process. The committee performs due diligence on potential investment strategies, managers and products before they are available for client portfolios. When the Investment Committee approves strategies and products, they go on an approved list so that their advisors know they could potentially recommend them to clients.

Fees Mariner Wealth Advisors charges for its services

Investment advisory services fees: For its investment advisory services, the firm charges clients based on a percentage of assets under management (AUM). The maximum rate varies depending on which program clients use, as shown in the table below.

Mariner Wealth Advisors Investment Advisory Fee Schedule
Program Annual asset-based fee
Managed investment advisory program Up to 2.50%
Options strategies Up to 1.50%
Institutional Intelligent Portfolios® through Charles Schwab Up to 1.00%

Besides the asset-based fee, clients could also be responsible for trading costs such as administrative expenses, brokerage commissions and fund expenses.

Financial planning services fees: The firm could include basic financial planning for investment advisory clients. If a client needs more sophisticated financial planning or tax preparation work, they may need to pay an additional fee, which could be based on the client’s net worth, a flat or hourly rate or a percentage of assets under advisement, up to 0.25%. Clients will negotiate their fee structure when signing up.

Tax compliance and consulting fees: Tax clients are typically billed on either a fixed fee or hourly rate basis, or based on a percentage of AUM, with the rate ranging up to 0.25%.

Disciplinary disclosures

Mariner Wealth Advisor reports one disciplinary disclosure in the past 10 years.

According to the SEC, one violation took place when an employee conducted business within the state of Florida without proper authorization due to an administrative error. Another employee was found to have sold securities to an Arkansas resident without being registered with the Arkansas Securities Department before he joined Mariner Wealth Advisors.

Becoming a client

  1. Contact the firm: They offer a quick submission form on its website that you can fill out to request a meeting. You will be asked to provide your name, location, contact information and a summary of what you’re looking for. You can also use the firm’s website to search through advisors on staff and reach out directly to one who you think is a good fit. You can also search on the site for a local advisor at one of the firm’s office locations.
  2. Have an initial meeting: Once you’ve reached out to the firm, an advisor will schedule an initial meeting to learn more about your goals, portfolio size, risk tolerance and desired investment strategy.
  3. Get a customized portfolio and fee schedule: With the information discussed in your meeting, the advisor will design your customized portfolio and set the fees. Mariner Wealth Advisors’ Investment Committee oversees each manager’s decisions to make sure that what they recommend is appropriate for your portfolio.
  4. Accept the plan: If you like the firm’s proposed arrangement, you can accept the plan to join as a formal client.
  5. Receive regular reviews: The firm will contact investment advisory clients at least annually for review. Reviews are conducted on an “as needed” basis for financial planning and consulting clients.


The firm has approximately 70 offices in total, with locations in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Is Mariner Wealth Advisors right for you?

If you’re looking for an advisor that can handle multiple parts of your financial plan, then Mariner Wealth Advisors may be a good option, thanks to all of its different services. The firm could also be a good option for investors with smaller portfolios. Mariner Wealth Advisors’ investment minimum is $100,000 for its managed portfolios, and it only takes $5,000 to invest through the firm’s robo-advisor.

If you’re trying to minimize expenses in your portfolio, however, the firm might not be the best fit. Their maximum asset-based fee can run quite high. In addition, as detailed earlier in our review, there are instances in which the firm can monetarily benefit from recommending particular products, investments and third-party managers. Before you make your decision, be sure to research multiple firms to ensure you find the right financial advisor for you.

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