Ameritas Investment Company, now branded as Ameritas Advisory Services, is a financial advisory firm with billions of dollars in assets under management (AUM) and hundreds of advisors. The firm has a massive client base that includes individuals, businesses, charities and retirement plans. Ameritas’ principal office is in Lincoln, Nebraska.
As a fee-based firm, some Ameritas advisors can earn commissions or other compensation from the sale of certain securities or insurance products. This differs from a fee-only firm, which would receive compensation solely from the fees that clients pay.
Ameritas Advisory Services Background
Ameritas was founded in 1984. However, it did not register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) until 1998. The firm’s parent company is Ameritas Mutual Holding Company, which also owns other insurance and investment companies.
Also previously known as Ameritas, the company changed its name and corporate structure in 2020.
Ameritas Advisory Services Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
Ameritas has a large client base that primarily consists of individuals below the high-net-worth threshold. The firm also manages assets for high-net-worth individuals, pensions and other retirement plans, charitable organizations and corporations.
Ameritas offers a number of different investment strategies, and these strategies have varying minimum account sizes associated with them. They are as follows:
- Galaxy: $50,000
- Galaxy Wrap: $250,000
- Galaxy II: $25,000
- Galaxy II Wrap: $25,000
- Ameritas Investment Strategies: $5,000
- Ameritas Investment Strategies Wrap: $5,000
- Advisor Managed Retirement: $5,000
- Advisor Managed Solutions: $5,000
- Constellation: $25,000
- Managed Account Solutions: Varies by strategy
- Retirement Plan Advisory Services: No minimum
- Advantage Advisory Program: No minimum
Services Offered by Ameritas Advisory Services
Ameritas provides investment management to a wide range of clients. These services can come in the form of several different programs, including:
- Investment management
- Galaxy Program
- Galaxy Wrap Program
- Galaxy II Program
- Galaxy II Wrap Program
- Constellation Wrap Program
- Managed Account Solutions Wrap Program
- Direct Advisory Third-Party Programs
- Solicitor Programs
- Financial Planning
- Estate planning
- Investment planning
- Tax planning
- Insurance planning
- Retirement planning
- Cash flow and net worth analysis
- Education fund planning
- Retirement Plan Advisory Services
Ameritas Advisory Services Investment Philosophy
Ameritas Advisory Services allows its advisor representatives plenty of independence to act upon their own investment philosophies and preferred methods of analysis. As such, the firm doesn’t have a strict investing philosophy that guides its decisions.
Most advisors tend to follow a general investment process, though. These processes rely on investment strategies like asset allocation, fundamental analysis, technical analysis and cyclical analysis. Asset allocation involves determining a combination of asset classes (equities, fixed-income, real estate, etc.) that will comprise a diversified portfolio capable of achieving a client’s goals, while also minimizing risk and volatility. The investment analyses above each work differently, but they all intend to ascertain a security’s intrinsic value in the end.
Fees Under Ameritas Advisory Services
For its investment advisory services, Ameritas charges fees as a percentage of each client’s AUM. If you take part in the Galaxy Program, the Galaxy II Program, the Galaxy Wrap Program, the Galaxy II Wrap Program, the Constellation Wrap Program, Managed Account Solutions Program, Portfolio Advisor or Third-Party Advisory Programs, your fees will generally adhere to these rates:
|Investment Management Fees|
|Assets Under Management||Fee Percentage|
|Up to $250,000||2.00%|
|$250,001 - $500,000||1.75%|
|$500,001 - $1,000,000||1.50%|
|$1,000,001 - $3,000,000||1.25%|
|$3,000,001 and above||1.00%|
Fees for other Ameritas programs vary. Meanwhile, financial planning and consulting fees are either charged as a flat fee or an hourly fee, depending on your needs and preferences. There is no standard fee arrangement, as it can vary by client.
What to Watch Out For
Ameritas Advisory Services has several disclosures listed on its Form ADV. Many of these involve one of Ameritas’ advisory affiliates, while the rest are in direct relation to the firm. At least two disclosures involve both the firm and affiliates.
These violations include allegedly failing to adequately disclose the receipt of 12b-1 fees from mutual funds held in advisory accounts and the initiation of an address change and fund disbursement without the authorization of the client. These and the rest of the disclosures resulted in various fines and censures from authorities.
Ameritas may also receive performance-based fees on a limited basis. The firm’s Form ADV explains the pitfalls of this compensation structure: “Performance-based fees create certain inherent conflicts of interest. Specifically, performance-based fees create an incentive for the IAR to take risks in managing assets that they may not otherwise take in the absence of such arrangements.”
This firm is also a fee-based operation. As a result, some of its advisory representatives can receive commissions from the sale of specific insurance products or securities. This, too, represents a conflict of interest, as representatives are incentivized to sell you such products.
Despite each of the potential conflicts of interest listed above, Ameritas abides by fiduciary duty. Therefore it is legally bound to act in your best interest at all times.
Opening an Account With Ameritas Advisory Services
To get in touch with Ameritas Advisory Services, you can call the firm toll-free at (800) 335-9858. You can also reach out to the firm online by filling out the contact form on its website. For the latter, you must provide your name, contact information and a message.
Tips for Retirement Planning
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- Don’t forget to take Social Security payments into account when you formulate what kind of income you’ll need in retirement. If you don’t know what you’re in line to receive, check out SmartAsset’s Social Security calculator.