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Valic Financial Advisors, Inc. (VFA) is a large, national retirement plan provider headquartered in Houston that also does business under the name AIG Retirement Services. The company has over $23 billion in assets under management (AUM) and more than 2,000 employees.
The firm provides both investment advisory and broker-dealer services. It serves clients in employee-sponsored retirement plans as well as individual clients (including high net worth individuals), offering several investment plans from which to choose.
The bottom line: Valic Financial Advisors is a large national firm that’s part of the insurance company AIG.
|Assets under management: $23,332,836,027|
|Minimum investment: Varies by program, some with no minimum|
|Individual investor to advisor ratio: 223:1|
|Fee structure: A percentage of AUM, fixed fees|
|Headquarters: 2929 Allen Parkway, L7-20
Houston, TX 77019
All information included in this profile is accurate as of January 24, 2022. For more information, please consult Valic Financial Advisors’ website.
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Valic Financial Advisors, also known as AIG Retirement Services, was founded in 1996. Its name, Valic, is an acronym of the Variable Annuity Life Insurance Company, which is the company that owns it. Both the firm and the company that owns it are members of American International Group, Inc. (AIG), a large finance and insurance corporation.
VFA currently has over 1,400 employees who serve in investment advisory roles. Its team also includes licensed agents of an insurance company or agency and representatives of broker-dealers.
However, Valic Financial Advisors primarily provides its services to individual investors. This includes high net worth individuals, who the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines as those with at least $750,000 under management or a net worth of at least $1.5 million, and those in employer-sponsored retirement plans. In some cases, the firm may also work with trusts, charitable organizations and businesses.
Valic Financial Advisors offers four primary programs, each of which has a different minimum account balance requirement. The programs offered are as follows:
Valic Financial Advisors provides services for participants of retirement plans and health reimbursement arrangements, including enrollment, education, plan-related services and customer service. The firm also provides brokerage services, such as recommending mutual funds, variable annuity and life insurance products, as well as investment advisory services to retirement plan participants and others. Additionally, VFA provides certain retirement or financial planning services to clients or prospective clients as a one-time investment advisory service.
More specifically, the firm’s services include the following:
Valic Financial Advisors offers three managed account advisory programs to its clients, each of which takes a different approach to investing. Which program a client uses will depend on whether they are a retirement plan participant or have purchased an annuity contract through VALIC, or if they are simply interested in having Valic Financial Advisors manage their investments.
Guided Portfolio Services (GPS) Program: This is a plan offered to those who are participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans provided by VALIC or VALIC Retirement Services Company. It includes both an online, automated service that provides non-discretionary investment advice (GPS Portfolio Advisor), as well as a program that provides discretionary investment advice, meaning advisors can make the final decisions about whether to buy or sell investments (GPS Portfolio Manager).
Guided Portfolio Advantage (GPA) Program: This asset management program is available to clients who purchased fixed and variable annuity contracts, whether through the VALIC Portfolio Director Advantage fixed and variable annuity contract (PD Advantage), which is no longer available, or the VALIC Portfolio Director Freedom Advisor fixed and variable annuity contracts (PD Freedom Advisor).
Managed Investment Program (MIP): This is Valic Financial Advisors’ asset management program, which is based on 19 portfolio models that are designed and managed by various investment managers from five companies: BlackRock Investment Management, Envestnet Portfolio Solutions, Inc., Russell Investment Management, LLC, CLS Investments, LLC, and the Vanguard Group.
Portfolios are selected for clients based on a profile questionnaire that evaluates their risk tolerance, goals, objectives and time horizon. Portfolios are also categorized based on how aggressive they are, ranging from one focused on low-cost investing using passively managed index mutual funds to one that invests in mutual funds, ETFs and separately managed accounts.
The fees that Valic Financial Advisors charges vary by program and by portfolio type. The firm typically charges clients based on a percentage of assets under management. Rates are tiered for each program, with percentage charged decreasing the higher the account balance. For example, for the firm’s Managed Investor Account Portfolios, one of its 19 available model portfolios, you’ll pay a rate of 1.25% for the first $250,00, which decreases to 1.03% for the next $250,000, and so on as the amount of assets under management goes up.
Depending on the program in which they are enrolled, clients may also owe additional investment-related costs. This may include costs such as fund fees or separate account charges, among other expenses.
The firm does not charge for the creation of a financial plan. However, once the plan is presented, the firm has no obligation to provide further guidance on its recommendations.
Valic Financial Services has a number of disciplinary disclosures on its record. 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.
Some of the most significant events listed on the firm’s most recent Form ADV filings are listed below, ordered according to the date on which the matter was settled:
For more information on these and other disclosures, visit the firm’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure (IAPD) page.
In addition to Valic Financial Advisors’ headquarters in Houston, the firm has 161 other offices across the country. In its Form ADV, the firm lists that its largest offices are in the following states, though note that this is not necessarily a comprehensive list of its locations. You can confirm whether or not there is a location near you by contacting the firm.
Additionally, Valic Financial Advisors is registered across all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia.
If you’re looking for a large, national firm to help with your retirement needs, Valic Financial Advisors may be worth considering, particularly for those in employee-sponsored plans that work with the firm. The firm’s numerous disciplinary disclosures, however, may raise red flags for some. There is also the potential for conflicts of interest, as VFA acts as a broker-dealer and is owned by an insurance company.
Still, the firm is widely accessible to investors with a wide range of investable asset levels, as well as those in a number of locations, as VFA has numerous offices throughout the country. As you search for a financial advisor, it’s always important to consider and compare a few options to help find the right financial advisor for your unique situation.
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.