Baird Private Wealth Management is a fee-based financial advisor firm with billions in assets under management (AUM). It has a massive team of advisors on staff to work with its clients, who are primarily individual investors with and without a high net worth. The firm also serves a wide range of institutional clients. The firm is headquartered in Milwaukee, although it has branches throughout the U.S.
Baird Private Wealth Management Background
Baird Private Wealth Management is the financial planning and wealth management arm of Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, a financial services company. Robert Wilson Baird established the brand in 1919, and by 1948, it had joined the New York Stock Exchange. Today, the company is led by chairman, president and CEO Steven Booth.
Baird is partially employee-owned, which is unique for a firm with well over $100 billion in AUM. However, most of Baird’s shares ultimately belong to Baird Financial Group, Inc., the firm’s parent company.
Baird Private Wealth Management Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
Baird Private Wealth Management works with almost 140,000 individual clients with and without a high net worth. However, its client base extends beyond individual investors. The firm also serves businesses, estates, trusts, charitable organizations, colleges, hospitals, government entities, registered investment companies, banks, pension plans, profit-sharing plans, insurance companies and pooled investment vehicles.
Baird Private Wealth Management has extremely varied minimum investment requirements for its extensive service offerings. The firm’s financial planning services require no minimum investment. Other account minimums are as low as $5,000 and may range up to $1 million.
Services Offered by Baird Private Wealth Management
Considering the size of Baird Private Wealth Management, it should come as no surprise that its service offerings are extensive. The firm offers the following:
- Investment and portfolio management
- Portfolios based on mutual funds, ETFs, equities and more
- Alternative investment review
- Strategy recommendations
- Asset management
- General financial planning
- Retirement planning
- Retirement income analysis
- Long-term investment planning
- Estate planning
- Direct wealth and asset transfer
- Charity and family foundation creation
- Family limited partnerships
- Revocable living, charitable remainder, life insurance, charitable lead, family, gift, annuity and qualified personal residence trusts
- Tax planning
- Tax advisors
- Tax-efficient trust and estate planning
- Deferred compensation programs
- Executive stock options
- Aid with selling off a business
- Education cost planning
- 529 plan review
- Education savings bonds
- Coverdell ESAs
- Education IRAs
- UTMA accounts
- Retirement planning
- Cash management and lending
- Banking services
- Check writing, ATM and debit card access
- Online bill pay
- Direct deposit
- Banking services
- Insurance analysis
- Long-term care insurance
- Annuities and other retirement income strategies
- Business insurance protection
- Corporate and executive services
- Qualified and non-qualified retirement plan consulting
- Rule 10b5-1 trading plans
- Rule 144 stock sales
- Stock options
- Resources for women who invest
- Formal financial planning for parents and other elderly family members
- Educational opportunities for children regarding financial decision making
- Re-entrance into the workforce following a long absence or a career change
Baird Private Wealth Management Investment Philosophy
In an effort to cater to each of its clients, Baird Private Wealth Management utilizes a questionnaire-based method to create its investment plans. The firm uses the questionnaire to determine each client’s risk tolerance, liquidity needs, required services and financial goals.
These variables are then paired with one of Baird’s five investment strategies: the equity securities asset category, the fixed income securities asset category, the alternative investment products category, the non-traditional assets category or cash. Each of these strategies focuses in on certain investment types, listed below:
- Equity securities asset category - domestic and foreign large, mid- and small-cap equities and real estate investment trusts (REITs)
- Fixed-income securities asset category - short-term, intermediate-term and long-term bonds, high-yield fixed-income securities, broad fixed-income securities and foreign fixed income securities
- Alternative investment products category - hedge funds, private equity funds and managed futures
- Non-traditional assets category - commodities and commodity-linked instruments; currencies and currency-linked instruments
Fees Under Baird Private Wealth Management
Baird Wealth Management has a unique fee schedule for each of its programs, portfolio models and other services. The firm has more specific fee schedules for some offerings than for others. For the purposes of this review, SmartAsset's experts have chosen to highlight the costs associated with the most common individual-centric services at Baird Wealth Management.
For its asset management services, Baird charges fees based on a percentage of assets under management. New asset management clients will adhere to Baird's "Unified Advice Fee Arrangement" for either its base asset management or consulting services. Some clients will pay a portfolio fee as well. The corresponding rates for each portfolio vary by strategy and are provided as an annual fee range.
|Tiered Advice Fee Schedule|
|Value of Assets||Annual Fee|
|$10,000,000 and Above||1.00%|
|Breakpoint Advice Fee Schedule|
|Value of Assets||Annual Fee|
|$0 - $1,000,000||2.00%|
|$1,000,000 - $2,000,000||1.75%|
|$2,000,000 and Above||1.50%|
Clients who participate in certain programs and have a unified advice fee arrangement can typically choose whether the breakpoint schedule or the tiered schedule works best for them. Below is a sampling of how many of the firm's specific investment strategies are charged. A handful of strategies do not incur additional fees.
|Portfolio Fees for Baird Asset Management Client Selected Managers|
|Strategy||Annual Fee Range|
|Equity SMA Strategies||0.25% - 0.52%|
|Balanced SMA Strategies||0.25% - 0.52%|
|Fixed Income SMA Strategies||0.16% - 0.40%|
|Global/International SMA Strategies||0.25% - 0.60%|
|Alternative SMA Strategies||0.35% - 0.60%|
|Riverfront SMA Strategies||0.32% - 0.50%|
In most cases, Baird will charge clients on a quarterly basis. Note that the firm does not abide by this structure for some of its services, as it reserves the right to institute both hourly fees and fixed fees in certain situations. Fixed fees are paid either fully or in parts, and hourly fees may call for a retainer.
What to Watch Out For
Baird Private Wealth Management has 24 disclosures in its past. While it’s not out of the ordinary for a firm of this size to have some disciplinary and legal issues on its record, clients must still take these into account.
One of the most notable of the firm’s disclosures occurred in 2015. In that instance, Robert W. Baird & Co. was accused of solicitation and unfair competition, and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) later found these claims to be true. This resulted in a hefty $17.8 million fine that included $13 million for compensatory damages, $4.6 million in attorney and consulting fees and $50,000 plus interest in payments from five of Baird’s employees.
Baird Private Wealth Management is a fee-based firm, which means that it earns compensation from more than just the fees its clients pay. Baird and some of its advisors may earn additional compensation from the sale of particular securities and insurance policies. This could create a potential conflict of interest. However, the firm is a fiduciary, so it’s bound to act in clients’ best interests at all times. To further mitigate any potential conflicts of interest, Baird will also allow clients to make purchases through brokers that are not affiliated with the firm.
Opening an Account With Baird Private Wealth Management
On its website, Baird Private Wealth Management offers a financial advisor and branch office locator. Simply enter your name and address, and the firm will provide the contact information of advisors in your area. If you’d rather speak to a representative, you can call the firm over the phone.
All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.
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