The Allegheny Financial Group was recognized as a "Top Rated Financial Advisor" by AdvisoryHQ in 2019. This registered investment advisor (RIA) and broker-dealer based in Pittsburgh oversees more than $2.36 billion in assets. All of its board members and many of its advisors are certified financial planners (CFPs). To obtain this designation, an advisor must undergo training and take extensive tests. What's more, CFPs are held to a fiduciary standard, which means they are legally obligated to provide financial planning advice solely in the best interest of their clients.
The firm provides individuals and other types of clients with asset management and financial planning services.
Allegheny Financial Group Background
Allegheny Financial Group can trace its roots back to 1976, when James D. Hohman and James J. Browne founded the firm to provide financial planning services to clients in the greater Pittsburgh area. The following year, the firm expanded to offer brokerage services. Today, it’s one of the largest independent broker-dealers in the area. It’s a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB).
The firm is principally owned by its employee advisors. Hohman and Brown continue to provide financial planning and investment advisory services to their clients. Hohman is a former president of the Pittsburgh chapter for the International Association of Financial Planning. Browne is a repeat recipient of the "Five Star Wealth Manager Award" by Five Star Professional, a research organization that recognizes leaders in the financial space.
Allegheny Financial Group Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
Allegheny Financial Group works with individuals, high-net-worth individuals, trusts, estates, businesses, charities, pension plans, individual retirement account (IRA) plans and profit-sharing plans.
The firm does not impose a minimum balance to open or maintain an account.
Services Offered by Allegheny Financial Group
Clients working with Allegheny Financial Group can choose from an asset management or advised account program. Through the asset management program, Allegheny Financial Group advisors create, manage and monitor investment portfolios on behalf of clients. This program may be right for the investor who wants to leave investment decisions to the professionals.
Those who want to be more hands-on may benefit from the advised account program. In this program, clients would receive investment management recommendations. The Allegheny Financial Group advisor would then review the client’s assets periodically and recommend any revisions based on changes to the client’s financial or tax situation, market climate or other factors.
In addition, the Allegheny Financial Group can provide individual financial planning advice on various topics including those not related to securities. Depending on your needs, your financial plan may cover:
- Business purchase or disposition
- Business continuation planning
- Succession planning and legacy planning
- Business valuations
- Business financing
- Retirement planning
Some Allegheny Financial Group members may serve as general partners or advisors to private funds, which are generally only available to high-net-worth individuals such as accredited investors who pass certain criteria.
Allegheny Financial Group Investment Philosophy
Allegheny Financial Group makes investment decisions based on a thorough analysis of the client’s financial situation and goals. Its advisors would examine factors like the client’s risk tolerance, tax situation and time horizon. It draws from this information to construct an asset allocation for portfolios.
The firm primarily utilizes mutual funds.
Fees Under Allegheny Financial Group
For financial planning services, Allegheny Financial Group charges flat fees or on an hourly basis (up to $500 per hour). The fee depends on the complexity of your financial situation and the services requested, among other factors. Clients may negotiate financial planning fees prior to the rendering of services. In most cases, half of a flat fee is due before execution of the contract and the remainder is due upon completion of the work. Clients may negotiate other arrangements.
For asset management services, Allegheny Financial Group charges a fee based on the client’s assets under management (AUM) according to the following fee schedule:
|1.00%||On the first $2,500,000|
|0.65%||On the amount from $2,500,000 to $5,000,000|
|0.50%||On the amount from $5,000,000 to $10,000,000|
|0.45%||On the amount from $10,000,000 to $25,000,000|
|0.40%||On the amount from $25,000,000 to $50,000,000|
|0.35%||On the amount of assets more than $50,000,000|
The firm generally bills asset management fees at least semi-annually in advance or arrears, depending on your investment management agreement. Clients can instruct their custodian, the firm holding the clients' assets, to deduct the advisor’s fees directly from their accounts.
Keep in mind, however, these conditions apply to fees charged by Allegheny Financial Group. Your account may face other charges such as fees charged by custodians, brokers and companies that manage the underlying funds you’re invested in. Some funds have additional fees tied to the products. For more information about a particular fund or investment, look up the publicly available fund prospectus.
Allegheny Financial Group Awards and Recognition
As mentioned earlier, Advisory HQ ranked Allegheny Financial Group Financial Group among the "Top 11 Best Financial Advisors in Pittsburgh" in 2019. That marked the fourth consecutive year the firm received this accolade.
Advisory HQ noted various highlights for the firm including its client-centered financial planning approach, first-rate market research and robust range of services.
What to Watch Out For
As noted before, Allegheny Financial Group is also a licensed broker-dealer. As a result, some Allegheny Financial Group advisors may earn additional compensation for investing client assets in specific securities. These may come in the form of commissions, 12b-1 fees and other charges related to the transaction. These are separate from the advisory fees charged by the Allegheny Financial Group. This arrangement could create a conflict of interest as some advisors may be incentivized to recommend a specific investment product based on the potential for additional compensation. However, Allegheny Financial Group advisors must disclose such conflicts of interest to its clients.
Allegheny Financial Group and its advisors also have a fiduciary duty, and thus, are legally obligated to provide advice solely in the best interest of the client.
Allegheny Financial Group states that its broker-dealer wing has been involved in regulatory and civil settlements. However, the firm notes that none of these events involved advisory clients, or Allegheny Financial Group’s activities as an investment advisor.
According to Allegheny Financial Group’s Form ADV, an advisory affiliate was involved in a violation of investment-related regulations or statutes. The two civil judicial actions it reported involved fines of $75,000 and $260,000.
Tips for Finding the Right Financial Advisor
- Looking for a fee-only financial advisor? Use our interactive advisor matching tool. It recommends up to three local advisors based on your preferences. We vetted each individual advisor on our platform.
- Know the five questions to ask a financial advisor before signing on with one. Not all advisors are held to the same standard. Some are certified financial planners (CFPs) or chartered financial analysts (CFAs), while others have no special training.
All information was accurate as of the writing of this article.