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Atlas Private Wealth Management Review

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Atlas Private Wealth Management

Atlas Private Wealth Management is a large financial advisor firm, with nearly $1 billion in assets under management (AUM). The fee-only firm has 28 advisors on staff, and it oversees more than 1,500 client accounts. Atlas’ primary office is in Albany, New York, but it also has a branch in North Adams, Massachusetts. The firm primarily works with individual investors who don’t have a high net worth, thought it also serves high-net-worth individuals and various types of institutional clients.

Atlas Private Wealth Management Background

Atlas Private Wealth Management can trace its roots back to 1995, when it was called Dion Money Management. It is now under the ownership of Focus Financial Partners, Inc., a financial services holding company that’s publicly traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Focus Financial owns over 60 other firms around the country, and it has maintained control of Atlas since 2007.

Atlas’ team holds a number of professional certifications. This includes four certified financial planners (CFP), three chartered retirement planning counselors (CRPC), two certified public accountants (CPA), one chartered financial consultant (ChFC), one chartered life underwriter (CLU), one chartered advisor for senior living (CASL) and one certified investment management analyst (CIMA).

What Types of Clients Does Atlas Private Wealth Management Accept?

Approximately 80% of Atlas Private Wealth Management’s client base is individuals without a high net worth. However, high-net-worth individuals account for the largest percentage of the firm’s total assets under management. Atlas also works with trusts, corporate pension and profit-sharing plans, charitable organizations and foundations.

Atlas Private Wealth Management Minimum Account Size

Atlas Private Wealth Management requires investment advisory clients to have at least $100,000 in investable assets to work with the firm. A $25,000 minimum is reserved for anyone who uses the firm’s Investment RE-Allocation Service (REAL), a comprehensive re-asset allocation service that Atlas offers. 

As long as you have anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 to invest, the firm will design a tax-efficient plan using index funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and no-load mutual funds. The firm re-allocates clients’ assets every quarter.

Services Offered by Atlas Private Wealth Management

Most of Atlas Private Wealth Management’s services are centered around financial planning. It primarily offers financial planning services relevant to individual investors, but it also has financial planning services for businesses. The firm offers everything from retirement planning to insurance policy analysis and debt management. Below is a full list of what it has to offer:

  • Financial planning
    • Individual-centric planning
    • Business-centric planning
    • Retirement planning
    • Estate planning
    • Investment analysis
    • Tax planning
    • Charitable gift planning
    • Cash flow management
    • Education fund planning
    • Insurance review
    • Debt management
    • Social Security optimization
    • Roth IRA conversion
    • Elder care issues
  • Investment management
    • Re-allocation services
    • Stock option review
    • Investment advisory services
  • Employee benefit plan fiduciary services
    • Investment manager review, evaluation and selection
    • Plan sponsor and participant education

Atlas Private Wealth Management Investment Philosophy

Atlas Private Wealth Management conducts its own proprietary analysis of all investments that it uses in client portfolios. The firm principally invests client assets in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, bonds, options and securities. For mutual funds and ETFs, the firm reviews each fund’s performance history, fee structure, level of market exposure and management team.

Atlas takes a long-term approach to investing. In any case possible, it seeks to hold investments for a year or longer. The firm states, though, that shifts in the market could necessitate selling sooner than anticipated.

Fees Under Atlas Private Wealth Management

For investment management services, Atlas Private Wealth Management charges a maximum annual fee of 1.75%. The rate you’ll pay will depend on the amount of assets you’re investing. The firm has a graduated fee schedule, meaning that clients with more assets under management will pay lower rates. Although Atlas’ REAL service is related to its investment management services, the firm charges a separate 0.60% annual fee for it. You will be billed at the beginning of each quarter based on the value of your assets under management at the conclusion of the previous quarter.

The firm has a separate fee structure for its financial planning services. It charges based on both the type of plan you have and the types of employees who work on it. Once your account is opened, you’ll need to pay an initial deposit, which could be as high as $1,200. These are the rates the firm charges for its financial planning services:

Financial Planning Program Fees
Full financial plan $2,000 - $3,000
Retirement income projection $1,500
Modular financial planning $350/module

 

Financial Planning Service Providers Fees
Firm officers $240/hour
Professional staff $100/hour
Financial paraplanners $60-$80/hour
Support staff $36/hour

Although the employee benefit plan fiduciary service is part of Atlas’ group of advisory services, it’s not the only company involved in managing it. One of the firm’s affiliates, BAM Advisor Services, LLC, also has discretionary authority. Because of this, the two firms combine their annual fees into one lump sum that it charges clients, as illustrated in the table below:

Fees for Employee Benefit Plan Fiduciary Services
Portfolio Value Atlas Annual Fee BAM Annual Fee Total Annual Fee
First $1MM 0.70% 0.20% 0.90%
Next $4MM 0.45% 0.15% 0.60%
Next $5MM 0.25% 0.08% 0.33%
Over $10MM 0.15% 0.05% 0.20%

What to Watch Out For

Atlas Private Wealth Management uses two custodians for its client accounts: Fidelity and Schwab. These companies openly offer Atlas extra benefits based on the amount of assets its clients invest with them. This could pose a conflict of interest, as this arrangement clearly benefits the firm “without necessarily benefitting individual client accounts, either directly or indirectly,” Atlas discloses in its Form ADV.

The firm also has a number of disclosures, which you can find more information about below.

Disclosures

Atlas Private Wealth Management’s Form ADV indicates that it has six violations in its past. The most notable legal issue relates to the firm’s failure to fully disclose the details of its financial relationships with various third parties. The firm was earning additional compensation based on the amount of client assets that it was investing in particular mutual funds, which is technically legal, but it wasn’t openly communicating the maximum payment that it could receive. This ultimately resulted in a cease and desist order and a $50,000 fine from the SEC.

Opening an Account With Atlas Private Wealth Management

To find out more about working with the firm, you can all Atlas Private Wealth Management at its toll free phone number, (800) 432-7447. You can also reach out via email at inquiries@atlaspwm.com.

Where Is Atlas Private Wealth Management Located?

Atlas Private Wealth Management has two branches in the northeastern U.S. Its headquarters is in Albany, New York, at 3 Atrium Drive, Suite 265. Its secondary office is in North Adams, Massachusetts.

Tips for Ensuring You Retire on Time

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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 cost of living in retirement there.

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

Methodology SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities. Using that calculation, we determined how many years $1 million would last in retirement in each major city.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors throughout the country. 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.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%, reflecting the typical return on a conservative investment portfolio. Finally, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would last in each of the cities in our study.

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