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.
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 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
- Passive management
- Value equities
- Growth equities
- 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. 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%|
|$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|
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 12 disclosures of regulatory actions. Seven of them involved affilliated 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 have 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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