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Arete Wealth Management Review

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Arete Wealth Management

Arete Wealth Advisors is an investment advisory and wealth management firm headquartered in Chicago. It has additional offices throughout the country, including locations in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. 

Arete has more than $1.1 billion in assets under management and 61 financial advisors on staff. The firm advises mostly high-net-worth clients, though it does have around 1,200 other individual clients. It also has a roster of institutional clients, including pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and other corporations. 

Arete Wealth Advisors Background

Arete Wealth Advisors was founded in 2007, and it has been registered with the SEC since 2009. It is wholly owned by its parent holding company, Old Growth Capital, LLC. The holding company owns another wholly owned subsidiary, Arete Wealth Management, LLC, which is a broker-dealer. Some of the advisors at Arete Wealth Management may also be registered representatives with Arete Wealth Management.

What Types of Clients Does Arete Wealth Advisors Accept?

Arete Wealth Advisors is capable of serving the following types of clients:

  • High-net-worth individuals
  • Ultra-high-net-worth individuals
  • Trusts  
  • Estates
  • Charitable organizations
  • Other corporate and business entities

Arete has a number of offices across the country. The Chicago-headquartered firm has branches in an additional 16 states, in some of which it has additional offices, giving it a fairly national reach.

Arete Wealth Advisors Minimum Account Sizes

Arete Wealth Advisors generally requires its clients to have an initial account balance of at least $50,000. However, the firm may waive this minimum depending on the clients' needs and how complex the account is.

Services Offered by Arete Wealth Advisors

These are the service that Arete Wealth Advisors offers to individual investors:

  • Investments
  • Asset allocation review and recommendations 
  • Cash management 
  • Insurance planning / risk management
  • Retirement planning 
  • Education planning
  • Estate planning
  • Family office services
  • Wealth transfer between generations and to charitable organizations
  • Private asset management

In addition, the firm offers investment banking and consulting services to companies and institutional clients.

There is also a fairly unique service offered by Arete called  “Lifestyle Services.” The company will help you acquire, curate and protect a collection of fine art and wine, treating it as an investment. 

Arete Wealth Advisors Investment Philosophy 

Arete Wealth Advisors works with clients to develop a plan to set themselves up for the future, with a focus on accumulating wealth for retirement and creating a strategy for how to use that income post-retirement.

The firm uses a variety of analytical tools to pick the best investments for their clients, including mutual fund analysis, charting, fundamental analysis, technical analysis and quantitative analysis. The firm recognizes that market volatility has been high for the past 15 years. It looks to avoid short-term loss as best it can while also staying focused on the long-view of investing.

Fees Under Arete Wealth Advisors

Arete Wealth Advisors charges an advisory fee based on a percentage of assets under management. This takes the form of a wrap fee, which covers investment advice, execution and clearing of transactions, custody of assets and record-keeping services. Around 90% of the fee goes to the person directly managing your account, the portfolio manager.

The annual fee can be up to 3.00% of assets under management. However, the firm’s fee rate generally decreases the greater the level of assets under management, as show in the fee table below.

Investment Management Fees
Assets Under Management Maximum Annual Fee
$0*-$249,000 3.00%
$250,000 - $749,999 2.50%
$750,000 - $1,499,999 2.00%
$1,500,000 - $4,999,999 1.75%
$5,000,000 and over 1.50%
*Arete generally requires a minimum initial account balance of $50,000.

Other fees clients may pay include mutual fund charges, structured product charges, transaction charges and wire transfer fees. Some qualified clients may be recommended to use a performance-based fee structure through Arete’s third-party asset manager, Dunham & Associates Investment Counsel. These clients will not be charge an ongoing management fee.

For financial planning services, the firm charges clients either an hourly fee or a fixed rate fee. Rates will be negotiated between each client and his or her advisor and will be noted in the client's advisory contracted.

For an idea of how Arete Wealth Management’s investment advisory fees compare to those at other firms, see the table below. Fee estimates are based on the maximum annual fee rate.

Estimated Fee Comparison*
Your Assets Arete Wealth Management National Median Advisory Fees**
$500K $13,720 $5,000
$1MM $24,970 $8,500 - $10,000
$5MM $96,220 $25,000 - $32,500
$10MM $171,220 $50,000
*Fee estimates only consider the maximum base fees for the services each firm provides. You may also pay manager fees and other fees, which can vary in amount. **All figures are based on median fee levels according to Bob Veres' 2017 Planning Profession Fee Survey. The above estimates solely take into account AUM-only fees. Total costs will likely be higher due to additional expenses.

What to Watch Out For

Potential and current clients should be aware that Arete Wealth Advisors is connected to a registered broker-dealer, Arete Wealth Management. Many of the firm’s advisors are also registered representatives of the broker-dealer, and they may receive additional compensation for these services. 

Additionally, advisors may also sell insurance through an insurance agency affiliated with the firm, Arete Insurance Agency, LLC. Advisors may also receive additional compensation for the sale of insurance products. Though the firm is bound by fiduciary duty, these streams of additional compensation from both the brokerage and insurance services may create potential conflicts of interest, which could impact the recommendations the advisors make. 


Arete Wealth Management does not have any relevant disclosures on record from the past 10 years.

Opening an Account With Arete Wealth Advisors

To have an advisor from Arete, you can fill out this form on the company’s website. You can also call your local office to set up an appointment with your potential advisor.

Where Is Arete Wealth Advisors Located?

The firm has its headquarters in Chicago and offices throughout the country. There are branch locations in California, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Louisiana, Tennessee, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Financial Planning Tips

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How Many Years $1 Million 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 To determine how long a $1 million nest egg would cover retirement costs in cities across America, we analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns.

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%. This reflects the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. 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