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AllianceBernstein Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

Fee-based AllianceBernstein is a financial advisor firm headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, with hundreds of branch offices around the country. AllianceBernstein's services are centered around various forms of investment management.

AllianceBernstein Background

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., Inc. and Alliance Capital Management Corporation, AllianceBernstein’s two predecessor firms, were founded in 1967 and 1971, respectively. In 2000, Alliance Capital Management purchased Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., but the company didn’t change its name to what it currently is until 2006.

AllianceBernstein employs thousands of advisors, some of whom have earned certifications such as certified financial planner (CFP) or chartered financial analyst (CFA).

AllianceBernstein Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

The majority of AllianceBernstein’s clients are high-net-worth individuals. However, the firm works with many other types of clients, including investment companies, business development companies, pooled investment vehicles, pension plans, charitable organizations, government entities, other investment advisors, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds and corporations.

Private Wealth clients are generally required to have at least $1 million in investable assets, though the initial minimum for its Alternative Investment Strategies is only $500,000. If you’re participating in a wrap fee program, the minimum is even lower at $100,000. Some other programs at this firm may adhere to other minimum requirements.

Services Offered by AllianceBernstein

There are a wide range of investment-centric services available through AllianceBernstein, including:

  • Investment advisory services
  • Fixed-income
  • Passive management
  • Value equities
  • Growth equities
  • Multi-asset
  • Asset allocation services
  • Alternative investments
  • Select U.S. equities
  • Concentrated growth equities
  • GlobalCore equities
  • Real estate services
  • Middle market lending
  • Broadly syndicated loan management
  • Bernstein Private Wealth Services
  • Wealth growth and preservation
  • Portfolio customization based on:
    • Investment goals
    • Income needs, tax situation
    • Risk tolerance
  • Retail-managed account programs
  • Separately managed account (SMA) programs
  • Wrap fee programs

AllianceBernstein Investment Philosophy

AllianceBernstein prides itself on its proprietary investment research, which is generated by its in-house team of research analysts. This research fuels the firm’s many different investment strategies. These strategies vary in terms of their risk profile, targeted asset classes and objectives. For example, a client on the verge of retirement may be interested in the Fixed-Income strategy, whereas an aggressive investor may be more drawn to the Growth Equities strategy.

AllianceBernstein offers investment strategies that use both passive and active management. There are strategies like Fixed Income, Growth Equities or Real Estate Services that focus on just one asset class, and there are also strategies like Muti Asset or Asset Allocation Services that diversify across multiple asset classes. With limited exceptions, the firm focuses on long-term investment strategies, although it will also use short-term purchases, short sales, margin transactions, option strategies and other more short-term tactics.

Fees Under AllianceBernstein

Investment management fees at AllianceBernstein can vary depending on the market value of your assets, what you invest in and if you participate in a wrap fee program through the firm. Fees may also be negotiated. The fee schedule for return-seeking and diversifying assets is below:

Fees: Return-Seeking and Diversifying Assets
Account Value Fee Percentage
Up to $1MM 1.25%
Next $1MM 1.20%
Next $3MM 1.10%
Next $5MM 1.05%
Next $15MM 0.90%
Next $25MM 0.75%
$50,000,001 and above 0.65%

In dollars, these fees would break down as:

*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.
Estimated Investment Management Fees at AllianceBernstein*
Your Assets AllianceBernstein Fee Amounts
$500K $6,250
$1MM $12,500
$5MM $57,500
$10MM $110,000

For investments in risk-mitigating assets, the firm charges a 0.55% fee, with one exception. If you invest in the Intermediate-Duration Institutional Portfolio, your fee will instead be 0.45%. 

Many investment management clients invest in both kinds of assets. To determine the proper fee, AllianceBernstein will multiply the fee for each type by the proportion of the client’s portfolio that’s allocated to that security.

For most of the wrap fee or SMA programs available at the firm, the client will pay between 0.25% and 0.90% of their AUM. A portion of these fees go to AllianceBernstein, with the rest heading to the appropriate program sponsor. This range of investment advisory fees is below the industry average of 0.95%, according to a 2018 study of 1,500 firms by RIA in a Box. Learn more about advisors' typical costs here.

What to Watch Out For

On its most recent Form ADV, AllianceBernstein reported several disclosures of regulatory actions. Seven of them involved affiliated firms and five involved AllianceBernstein itself. Fees for the firm's violations ran from $12,000 to $120,000. 

In 2014, an affiliated firm, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, allegedly violated New York insurance law "by filing plans of operation with respect to certain of its separate accounts with the New York State Insurance Department and New York State Department of Financial services without adequately informing and explaining (to the latter) the significance of the implementation of the AXA Tactical Manager Strategy. As a result, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company was fined $20 million by New York state. 

Also worth noting: investment advisors working for AllianceBernstein may also be registered representatives of a securities broker-dealer and/or licensed insurance agents, making AllianceBernstein a fee-based firm. In these non-advisor roles, they earn transaction-based fees or commissions, which can potentially pose conflicts of interest. Similarly, the firm is affiliated with many financial services firms, which can also potentially pose conflicts of interest. That said, AllianceBernstein is a fiduciary, which means it’s required to always act in your best interests, no matter what.

Opening an Account With AllianceBernstein

You can get in touch with AllianceBernstein by filling out the contact form provided on its website. The form requests your first and last name, a subject, your email address and a brief message or question. If you’d prefer to call the firm, you can call headquarters at (212) 969-1000. Each of the branch locations has phone numbers listed on the firm's website as well.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

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How Long $1mm Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.

Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research