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BCU Wealth Advisors Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

BCU Wealth Advisors, LLC

BCU Wealth Advisors is a financial advisor firm with its principal office and place of business located in Vernon Hills, Illinois. The firm offers services such as financial planning and portfolio managment.

As a fee-based firm, certain advisors at BCU can sell financial products on a commissions basis, in addition to earning client-paid fees. A fee-only firm would instead eliminate their commissions, instead focusing entirely on client-paid fees.

BCU Wealth Advisors Background

BCU Wealth Advisors is a limited liability company (LLC) formed in 2012. The firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of Baxter Credit Union. Advisory firm management and associated personnel operate independently of credit union operations. The advisory firm does not own or control another financial services entity. The firm's present registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began in 2015.

BCU Wealth Advisors Client Types and Minimum Account Sizes

BCU Wealth Advisors' client base currently tends to be non-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals. However, the firm is also available to work with charitable organizations and foundations, various types of businesses as well as their pension and profit-sharing plans.

The firm requires no set minimum income levels, minimum level of assets or other conditions for its financial planning and investment consultation services. Clients witha at least $50,000 to invest can enroll in the firm's wrap-fee program.

Services Offered by BCU Wealth Advisors

BCU Wealth Advisors provides its clients with a variety of investment advisory solutions. 

Financial planning and investment consultation services cover planning areas such as cash flow and budgeting, education funding, retirement planning, equity compensation planning, charitable giving strategies, risk managment and estate planning as well as periodic investment advice.  

The firm also offers a wrap fee investment program to eligible clients who prefer incorporating financial planning and investment management into a bundled asset-based fee.  

Additionally, BCU Wealth Advisors provides complimentary educational workshops on an "as announced" basis for groups who want general advice on investments and personal finance. The topics these workshops cover are related to financial planning, educational and estate planning, retirement strategies and other economic or investment topics. These workshops do not involve the sale of investment or insurance products or any individualized investment advice. 

BCU Wealth Advisors Investing Philosophy

When it comes to providing investment advice, advisors at the firm will first gather and consider several factors. These include the client's current financial situation, current and long-term needs, investment goals and objectives, level of investment knowledge, risk tolerance and any restrictions on the managment of the portfolio.

To formulate a plan, BCU Wealth Advisors generally uses fundamental analysis, an attempt to measure the intrinsic value of a security by looking at economic and financial factors. In addition to its own research, the firm may rely on investment strategists from other sources; these strategists will be people who the firm best believes can serve its clients and their accounts. 

Investment strategies at BCU Wealth Advisors may vary depending on the client's situation, but the firm uses the following strategies to implement its advice:

  • Core + Satellite Strategy: blends passive based (or index) and active investing, where passive investments are used as the "core" of a portfolio and actively managed investments serve as "satellite" positions.
  • Passive Investment Management: is a strategy by which investment managers generally construct porfolios based on the principles of modern porfolio theory (maximizing returns for a given amount of risk) and believe that proper diversification and risk management will provide a client with a more stable and consistent return over time. 
  • Active Asset Management: is a strategy by which portfolio managers aim to "beat the market" and outperform passively managed index funds. In the case of BCU Wealth Advisors, portfolio managers aim to create a profit from identifying or leveraging mispriced securities and producing returns greater than a stated benchmark (such as a well known index).

Fees Under BCU Wealth Advisors

BCU Wealth Advisors provides its financial planning and investment consultation services on a fixed-fee basis. The fee takes various factors into consideration, such as the estimated amount of time dedicated to providing the services, the complexity of a client's plan and financial profile and any special requests the client may need. The financial plan is usually completed within six months. The firm reserves the right to charge a lower fee to BCU employees and immediate family members of BCU Wealth Advisors, LLC. With regards to timing, BCU Wealth Advisors may require an initial deposit of up to one half of the client's engagement fee for financial planning and investment consultation services, which the firm will define in the client agreement. 

Fees for BCU Wealth Advisors wrap fee advisory program are based on AUM and typically start at 1.50%. The firm itself may receive up to 1.41% of the fee charged on the account. The following fee table applies to this wrap fee program.

BCU Wealth Advisors - Wrap Fee Program

Wrap Fee Program Account Size Maximum Account Fee
First $250,000  1.50%
Next $250,000  1.35%
Next $250,000  1.25%
Next $250,000  1.15%
Next $2,000,000  1.00%
Next $7,000,000  0.75%
Next $15,000,000  Negotiable

For these services, accounts smaller than $2 million are charged more than the industry average, which is 0.95%, according to a 2018 study of 1,500 firms by RIA in a Box. Here is the estimated dollar amount you'd pay in advisory fees for BCU Wealth Advisors Wrap Fee Program based on the size of your account:

*Estimated investment management fees do not include brokerage, custodial, third-party manager or other fees, which can vary in amount.
Estimated Wrap Fee Program Fees at BCU Wealth Advisors*
Your Assets Annual Fee Amount Charged on All AUM
$250K $3,750
$500K $7,125
$1MM $13,125
$10MM $85,625

Clients will be responsible for the following types of fees: any custodial or transactional fees (i.e. brokerage fees) charged by select service providers, individual retirement account fees or qualified retirement plan account termination fees. Fees that clients pay to BCU Wealth Advisors for advisory services are separate from any fee they may pay for internal operating charges for mutual funds, as well as transaction fees of ETFs, ETNs (exchange-traded notes) or other similar investments.

What to Watch Out For

BCU Wealth Advisors has no legal or regulatory disclsoures on its Form ADV.

It is important to note that advisors at BCU Wealth Advisors may also be broker-dealers. Employees acting in these non-advisor roles generally receive transaction-based fees, which can be a potential conflict of interest. That said, as an SEC-registered investment advisor, the firm is legally obligated to uphold its fiduciary duty and work in clients’ best interests at all times.

Opening an Account With BCU Wealth Advisors

To open an account with BCU Wealth Advisors, you can visit the firm's website or call over the phone to speak with an advisor directly.

All information is accurate as of the writing of this article.

Tips for Finding a Financial Advisor 

  • SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Ask candidates whether they adhere to the fiduciary standard of putting clients’ interests first. Yes is the ideal answer, of course. But they may follow a lower standard of providing only suitable recommendations.

How Long $1mm 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 We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

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%. 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