BancWest Investment Services Review
BancWest Investment Services (BWIS) is a financial advisor firm that manages just over $1.5 billion in client assets. Although the firm’s headquarters are in Omaha, Nebraska, the firm employs advisors that operate in 17 different states. The firm's client base is mostly comprised of individuals (both above and below the high-net-worth threshold), though it has some institutional clients as well.
BWIS is a fee-based firm. This means that client fees are not its sole source of revenue; its advisors may earn commissions for either selling insurance products or conducting certain securities transactions, in their separate capacities as registered representatives of broker-dealers and insurance agents. This is different from a fee-only firm, in which all earnings come from the advisory fees that clients pay.
BancWest Investment Services Background
BancWest Investment Services is the investment management division of Bank of the West. This bank operates in 19 states across the western U.S., and it's a wholly owned subsidiary of BancWest Holding Inc., which itself is a wholly owned subsidiary of BNP Paribas USA, Inc. BNP Paribas USA is the U.S. arm of BNP Paribas, a publicly owned French banking institution.
BancWest Investment Services Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes
BancWest Investment Services' client base is overwhelmingly comprised of non-high-net-worth individuals. It's rounded out by high-net-worth individuals, charitable organizations, trusts, estates and businesses.
Many of the firm's advisory services come paired with a minimum investment requirement. In the case of BWIS' wrap fee programs, these stipulations vary depending on the investment strategy that's used. Many of these strategies call for a minimum investment of $25,000.
When it comes to the firm's Separately Managed Accounts program, the minimums are $100,000 for equity strategies and $250,000 for fixed-income strategies. The Unified Managed Account program has a $200,000 minimum. Lastly, the retirement plan services at BWIS have a $650,000 minimum.
Services Offered by BancWest Investment Services
BWIS sponsors three different types of wrap fee programs, in which clients pay a bundled annual fee that covers advisory services, along with any brokerage or custodial fees. The three programs are Fund Strategist Portfolios (FSPs), Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs) and Unified Managed Accounts (UMAs). Here's a breakdown of each:
- Fund Strategist Portfolios (FSPs)
- Features a wide range of investment strategies that utilize mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), index funds and more
- Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs)
- Involves BWIS searching for an appropriate third-party investment manager that meets the client's needs
- Unified Managed Accounts (UMAs)
- Combines the features and benefits of FSPs and SMAs
- Invests in various types of funds, individual equities and more
BancWest Investment Services Investment Philosophy
BWIS doesn't typically offer clients direct asset allocation or investment management services; instead, it helps clients select model portfolio providers and separate account managers. To do this, the firm relies on proprietary research from Envestnet, which analyzes providers across a number of different factors. These factors include historical performance, exposure to risk, investment philosophy, the presence of any legal or ethical concerns and more.
Fees Under BancWest Investment Services
For BancWest Investment Services' wrap fee programs, fee rates depend on the size of your account and what specific program you're invested in. However, these rates generally adhere to the schedule below:
|BWIS Wrap Fee Program Fees|
|Up to $250K||1.42%|
|$250K - $500K||1.17%|
|$500K - $1MM||1.02%|
|$1MM - $2MM||0.92%|
BWIS also offers retirement plan services for plan sponsors. The annual fees charged to these clients also depend on how much is invested in the plan:
|BWIS Retirement Plan Services Fees|
|Up to $650K||1.00%|
|$650K - $1MM||0.75%|
|$1MM - $3MM||0.50%|
|$3MM - $5MM||0.35%|
|$5MM - $10MM||0.25%|
|$10MM - $20MM||0.15%|
|$20MM - $50MM||0.10%|
|$50MM - $150MM||0.05%|
What to Watch Out For
BWIS is a fee-based firm, meaning that it can earn income streams outside of client fees. Specifically, certain BWIS advisors are also licensed insurance agents or registered representatives of broker-dealers, and some of these advisors may have the opportunity to earn commissions for selling insurance products or specific securities. Despite the potential conflict of interest this creates, the firm abides by fiduciary duty at all times, legally binding it to act in your best interest.
BWIS has multiple disclosures listed on its Form ADV. A few of these refer to a 2014 case where the firm's parent company pleaded guilty (in the Supreme Court of the City of New York) to falsifying business information, as well as knowingly moving almost $9 billion dollars through the U.S. financial system on behalf of sanctioned entities in Sudan, Iran and Cuba. A number of the other disclosures are in relation to violations by some of the firm's advisory affiliates.
Opening an Account With BancWest Investment Services
If you’re interested in working with an advisor at BWIS, you can visit the firm’s website to find your closest advisor, or you can call the firm at (800) 338-3919. If you prefer, you can fill out the firm’s contact form with your name, contact information and a brief message.
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