The Private Advisor Group is a network of more than 300 financial advisory practices across the country. The assets under their management total in the billions. The network has several hundred advisors, most of whom are also broker representatives and insurance agents. The main office of the firm is in Morristown, New Jersey.
Private Advisor Group Background
After founding a practice together called Morristown Financial Group, Patrick Sullivan and John Hyland saw the need for a simple and seamless compliance solution for advisories like theirs. So they started Private Advisor Group, which provides a proprietary compliance technology program to other independent firms. Today, the co-founders are the principal owners (along with a few other individuals) and managing directors of the “firm of firms” - and serve as financial advisors, too.
Private Advisor Group Types of Clients and Minimum Account Sizes
Private Advisor Group works with both clients who are high-net-worth individuals as well as with clients who aren't. The firm also works with business entities, trusts, estates and charitable organizations.
The firm generally has no minimum requirement, though certain programs may. For example, the Schwab Institutional Intelligent Portfolios (IIP) program, which has certain eligibility rules, requires a minimum $5,000 investment.
Services Offered by Private Advisor Group
The Private Advisor Group provides discretionary and non-discretionary investment management services on a wrap-fee or non-wrap-free basis. It also offers retirement plan consulting, insurance consulting and financial planning and related consulting services.
To investment clients, the firm offers access to a number of third-party asset management programs sponsored by the qualifying custodians it uses: LPL Financial, Fidelity, Schwab Institutional Intelligent Portfolios and TD Ameritrade.
Private Advisor Group Investing Philosophy
When reviewing investments, the firm may apply charting, fundamental, technical and cyclical methods of analysis. Its investing strategies may include long-term purchases, short-term purchases and trading. Other investing strategies vary, depending on the advisor and investing program.
Private Advisor Group Fees
Like most, if not all, firms, Private Advisor Group collects management fees based on a percentage of the client’s assets under management (AUM). Fees for services on a non-wrap basis generally follow this schedule:
|$0 - $500,000||2.00%|
|$500,001 - $1,000,000||1.85%|
|$1,000,001 - $5,000,000||1.70%|
|More than $5,000,000||Negotiable|
These investment management fees are higher than the industry average, which is 0.95%, according to a 2018 study of 1,500 firms by RIA in a Box. Here is the estimated dollar amount you'd pay in advisory fees based on the size of your account:
|*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.|
|Estimated Investment Management Fees (Non-Wrap Fee Basis) at Private Advisor Group*|
|Your Assets||Annual Fee Amount|
Fees for wrap fee programs through Private Advisor Group range up to 2.25%, depending on various factors. Fees for third-party asset management programs vary, depending on the sponsor and program. It may be worth noting that though the third-party sponsor will deduct advisory fees from the client’s account, it will pass along part of the fees to the Private Advisor Group, who, in turn, gives 90% to 100% of its share to the advisor who made the referral.
Learn more about advisors' typical costs here.
Private Advisor Group Awards and Recognition
The Financial Times named Private Advisor Group one of its Top 300 Registered Investment Advisors in 2020 and one of its Top 300 Financial Advisors in 2019.
The firm was named one of Barron’s Top 50 RIA Firms in 2019 and one of Barron’s Top 100 RIA Firms in 2020.
Additionally, WealthManagement.com named Private Advisor Group a 2019 Thrive Award winner and a finalist in its 2018 Industry Awards.
What to Watch Out For
The Private Advisor Group reported some disclosures in its most recent SEC filings. Two of them involved not the firm itself, but one of its advisory affiliates. The final one, about the firm itself, stated that the firm had employed one investment advisor representative (IAR) in a state when the IAR was not registered with the state. An administrative assessment of $20,000 was paid in May 2017.
Also worth noting: as mentioned earlier, most advisors are also insurance agents and broker representatives and collect transaction-based fees from third parties. This poses a conflict of interest. That said, the firm must put clients' interests first, and clients are always free to buy advisors’ recommendations through other, non-affiliated brokers or insurance agents.
Opening an Account With Private Advisor Group
To contact Private Advisor Group, call the main office at (973) 538-7010. Alternately, you can send a message through the contact page at the firm's website.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
Tips for Finding a Financial Advisor
- Interview advisor candidates in person or over the phone. It’s the best way to get a sense of how comfortable the advisor makes you feel. After all, few things are more personal than your finances and you don’t want to feel self-conscious talking about your goals and dreams to the person who is supposed to help you realize them.
- Use SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool. Simply answer a few questions about your financial situation, and the program will connect you with up to three advisors in your area.